Rameswaram

RameswaramRameswaram is a town in Ramanathapuram district in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. It is located on an island separated from mainland India by the Pamban channel and is less than 40 kilometers from the Jaffna Peninsula, Sri Lanka. Together with Kashi, it is considered to be one of the holiest places in India to Hindus. Hence, it is a bustling pilgrim centre.

It is situated in the Gulf of Mannar at the very tip of the Indian peninsula. According to legends, this is the place from where Lord Rama, built a bridge Ram Setu (also known as Adam's Bridge) across the sea to Lanka to rescue his consort Sita, from her abductor, Ravana.

This is also the place where Rama worshipped Shiva to be absolved of the sin of killing Ravana, hence the name of Shiva, which became the name of the town - Rameswara. Both the Vaishnavites and Shaivites visit this pilgrimage centre which is known as the Varanasi of the south.Rameshwaram is significant for the Hindus as a pilgrimage to Benaras is incomplete without a Pilgrimage to Rameshwaram. The presiding deity here is in the form of a Linga with the name Sri Ramanatha Swamy,it also happens to be one of the twelve Jyotirlingas. 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 forty wells where the taste of the water of each well is different from the other.

Places to see in Rameshwaram
Ranganathaswamy Temple- Ranganathaswamy Temple is the famous temple at Rameshwaram.
Kothandaramaswamy Temple- The Kothandaramaswamy Temple is another famous temple at Rameshwaram. This temple has idols of Rama, Sita, Lakshman, Hanuman and Vibhishan, the main characters of the epic Ramayana.

Kurusadai Island- The Kurusadai Island is located close to Rameshwaram. The Kurusadai Island is one of a cluster of 16 islands in the region. The waters surrounding the islands are a biological paradise with rich and rare marine life and coral reefs.Dhanushkodi- The Dhanushkodi is situated at the eastern end of the island at a distance of 8 kms from Rameshwaram. Dhnushkodi is named after the Rama's bow.

Gandhamathana Parvtham- This highest point on the island lies just 3kms. North of the shrine. A two storeyed mandapam her is believed to have an imprint of the Lord,Rama’s feet on a charka.
Agnitheertham- Agnitheertham is about 100 metres away from the temple of Ranganathaswamy. This is the place where Lord Rama worshipped Lord Shiva, to cleanse away the sins after killing the Ravana.

Ramanathapuram- The ancient town of Ramanathapuram is the district headquarters of Rameshwaram. The Ram Vilas Palace of the Sethupati Rajas is a worth visiting place in Ramanathapuram. The oil portraits of the Rajas of the past centuries and the articulately designed ceilings and walls embellished with eighteenth century murals can be seen in this place.

Oriyur: The Christian pilgrim centre, 60kms. From Ramnathpuram is the site of martyrdom of St. John De Britto, a Portuguese Jesuit better Known as ‘Arul Anandar’.
Uthirakosamngai (72 kms.)- An ancient Shiva temple here enshrines the image of the presiding deity carved in emerald. Arudhra festival celebrated there in February – March every year attracts a large number of devotees.
Devipattinam (70 kms.)- Lord Rama is said to have worshipped the ‘Navagrahas’ at this coastal village. Hindus perform religious rites for their ancestors over here
Kurusadai Island(20kms.)- It lies to the west of Pamban Bridge, about 4kms. from Mandapa. The Marine Biosphere here is a ‘paradise’ for the marine biologists and nature lovers.
Rameshwaram Setu- Rameshwaram Setu is located about 5 km south of the Ranganathaswamy temple. This is the place where the Lord Rama built the bridge across the sea to bring his consort, Sita back from Ravana, the king of Lanka.

How to reach Rameshwaram
By Air- The religious land of Rameshwaram is well connected with the other major cities of India. The nearest airport at Madurai is 163 kilometers away.
By Rail- The rail network connects Rameshwaram with Chennai, Madurai, Coimbatore, Trichy, Thanjavur and other important cities. The two kilometer long Indira Gandhi Bridge connects the island of Rameshwaram with the mainland of Mandapam.
By Road- The road network connects Rameshwaram with Chennai, Madurai, Coimbatore, Trichy, Thanjavur and other important cities. For local transportation taxis, auto-rickshaws, cycle-rickshaws and tongas are available. Also city bus service is available in the island.

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