TOP 5 PLACES TO VISIT IN RAMESHWARAM
Om Namah Shivaye! Om Namah Shivaye! The chant kept ringing in my ears, mind and soul as we headed for Rameshwaram. One of the Char Dham which I was longing for almost 25 years, visited recently. The Ramanathaswamy temple, one of the Char Dhams ( pilgrimages), is also one of the 12 Jyotirlingas in India. For any Lord Shiva deity, this is one of the must-do places in India. My interest was in its historic, mythological, archaeological and architectural stories which left me spellbound after visiting the temple. I was keen on the top 5 places to visit in Rameshwaram.
Several stories, beliefs and shreds of evidence of Ramayana, Lord Rama and his visit to Lanka to rescue his wife Sita from the clutches of Ravana is what I took back home. If one is a strong believer, 64 Teerthams ( holy places) are to be visited while in Rameshwaram. People believe in offering prayers at all the 64 teerthams along with offering prayers in the main temple. There are 22 holy water teerthams in Ramanathaswamy Temple itself. But there is a lot more in Rameshwaram to see and experience which was not on my to-do list but still managed to tick it off.
Lakshman Teertham is one of the 64 Teerthams in Rameshwaram. It is believed Lord Lakshmana, the younger brother of Lord Rama, had installed a lingam here and offered prayers to Lord Shiva. Located just a km away from the main Rameshawarm temple, this temple also has a holy pond. Lakshmana took a bath in this holy pond before offering prayers to Lord Shiva. A small yet powerful temple depicts the statues of deities and stories of Ramayana painted on the wall. This represents the immense devotion of Lord Lakshman towards Lord Rama and Sita. Lord Lakshman had installed a Shiva Linga here and prayed to Lord Shiva for the atonement of his sins.
Five-faced or Panchmukhi Hanuman Temple – home for floating stone
Just 2 km away from the main temple, lies the five-faced Lord Hanuman temple. The temple has lots of stories but is popularly known for the five-faced Hanuman statue and the floating stones. It is believed that Lord Hanuman uncovered his 5 faces here which makes the temple exceptionally sacred and one of the most popular places in Rameshwaram. There is an interesting story of floating stones. Lord Rama used these stones to build the bridge on the Indian Ocean with his army of monkeys to rescue Sita from Lanka. However, there is an argument running over decades between mythologists, spiritualists, archaeologists and scientists regarding the composition and beliefs of floating stones.
Dhanushkodi- the eerie town
Though it is risky to get deep into the water, a walk on this quiet and calm beach is therapeutic. The neat and clean sand on the beach will force you to spend time with good company or all by yourself.
According to Mythology, this is the place from where Lord Rama built a bridge of floating stones along with the Vanar Sena (army of monkeys) to reach Lanka to rescue Sita from Ravana.
The town is closed to outsiders after 6 pm because of some eerie stories by the locals. Look for seashells, conch, shell jewellery and local handmade handicrafts as souvenirs to take back home. A detailed article on Dhanushkodi can be read here.
Pamban Bridge & Beach
Kalam Memorial & Kalam House
A new landmark for the generation zee in Rameshwaram. Anything on Rameshwaram will be incomplete if we do not talk about Dr A P J Kalam. The birthplace of a legendary scientist, a visionary leader and former President of India, now welcomes tourists, scientists and students from all over the world to this temple town. Inaugurated in 2017, the Kalam Memorial showcases the accolades, lifestyle, simplicity, cultures, diversity of India and the replicas of rockets and missiles that Dr Kalam worked on.
The memorial is constructed by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), with which Dr Kalam was associated for a long time. To pay tribute to the missile man, the memorial is constructed on the gravesite where his remnants were put to rest on 27th July 2015.
Kalam House is the place where Dr Kalam was born and brought up. The house showcases his childhood memories, his achievements and his contribution to science and the country.
This holy pilgrimage town has surely much more to offer to visitors of all segments.