) is a town and a second grade municipality in the Ramanathpuram district in the South Indian state of Tamil Nadu. It is located on Pamban Island separated from mainland India by the Pamban channel and is about 50 kilometres from Mannar Island, Sri Lanka. It is situated in the Gulf of Mannar, at the very tip of the Indian peninsula. Pamban Island, also known as Rameswaram Island, is connected to mainland India by the Pamban Bridge. Rameswaram is the terminus of the railway line from Chennai and Madurai. Together with Varanasi, it is considered to be one of the holiest places in India to Hindus, and part of the Char Dham pilgrimage. Rameshwaram is significant for the Hindus. The presiding deity is the Linga Of Sri Ranganatha, which happens to be one of the twelve Jyotirlingas of India. Rameshwaram is popularly referred as the 'Benaras of the south'. In order to attain Moksha it is believed that a visit to Rameshwaram is mandatory. In fact the entire area of Rameshwaram is associated with various incidents from the Ramayana. The city of Rameshwaram happens to be one of the most visited pilgrim sites in India.
Rameswaram has an average elevation of 10 metres (32 feet). The island is spread across an area of 61.8 square kilometres and is in the shape of a conch. 74% of the area has sandy soil due to the presence of sea and it has many islands surrounding it, the Palk Strait in the north west and Gulf of Mannar in the south East. The Ramanatha Swamy Temple occupies major area of Rameshwaram. The masterpiece of Dravidian architecture boasts of the largest temple corridor in India. Different rulers built the Ramanatha Swamy Temple over a period of time starting from the 12th century. The temple comprises of twenty-two wells where the taste of the water of each well is different from the other.
Mythological History of Rameshwaram
Rameswara means "Lord of Rama" in Sanskrit, an epithet of Shiva, the presiding deity of the Ramanathaswamy Temple. According to Hindu epic Ramayana, Rama, the seventh avatar of the god Vishnu, prayed to Shiva here to absolve any sins that he might have committed during his war against the demon-king Ravana in Sri Lanka. According to the Hindu mythology i.e. the story of Ramayana Lord Rama performed thanksgiving rituals to Lord Rama after the battle at Sri Lanka and his triumph over the demon king Ravana. Owing to this Rameshwaram attracts Vaishnavites (worshippers of Lord Vishnu)
and Saivites (worshippers of Lord Shiva) alike. Sri Lanka is at a distance of 24 kilometers from Rameshwaram. In fact the entire area of Rameshwaram is associated with various incidents from the Ramayana. Rameshwaram happens to one of the most visited pilgrim sites in India. Rameshwaram is an island situated on the tip of the Indian peninsula
. The city is also an important south India pilgrimage center of the Indians
. It is the place from where Lord Rama had built a bridge
across the sea to rescue his consort Sita.This is the place where Rama worshipped Lord Shiva to cleanse away the sin of Ravana. Both the Vaishnavites and Shaivites visit this pilgrimage city.
Places to see in Rameshwaram
Ramanathaswamy Temple :
Ramnathswamy temple was built in the 17th century. Situated close to the sea on the eastern side of the island, this temple is famous for its 1200 gigantic granite columns. The 54 metre tall gopuram (gate-tower), 1220 metres of magnificent corridors and the flamboyant columns embellish and render fame to the temple. The water in each of the 22 sacred wells in the temple tastes different.
Gandamadana Parvatham :
The imprint of Lord Rama's feet placed on a Chakra (wheel)
is found in this shrine which is at the highest point on the island at 2 km from Rameswaram.
Dhanushkodi named after Rama's bow, is at the eastern end of the island at a distance of 8 kms from Rameshwaram. The boulders around the sea between Srilanka and this place known as Adam's bridge, are believed to be used by Hanuman to reach across Srilanka. Dhhanushkodi was completely destroyed by the cyclones of 1964. Kothandaramaswamy temple is the only salvage of the cyclone. Idols of Rama, Sita, Lakshmana, Hanuman and Vibhishana (brother of Ravana), surrendered to Rama, here.