| || |
We rented our own mini-bus cum taxi to take the early morning three hour drive from Madurai to Rameshwaram.
The city of Rameshwaram is located on a little island that is connected to the mainland vis the Pamban bridge and is about 50 km away from Sri Lanka. On our drive to the city we eventually met up with the coast line of the Bay of Bengal. The views f the ocean were magnificent and the sea breeze was quite refreshing.
Located in Rameshwaram is another ancient temple of India. Reconstructed in the 12th century the Ramanathswamy temple is one of the major religious sites visited in India. Dedicated to Lord Shiv, history tells this was the location Lord Ram first landed when he returned from Sri Lanka after rescuing goddess Sita and killing the Brahmin Ravan, her abductor. Lord Ram prayed to Lord Shiv here to have the sin of killing a Brahmin absolved.
Since then, devotees have been travelling to this destination as a religious pilgrimage.
The temple is a very large complex and is marked by very tall towers (known as Gopurams) and very long corridors. The longest corridor in an Indian temple is here at this temple. It is 400 feet in the east and west direction and 640 feet from north to south.
As a part of the rituals, devotees bathe in water of the 22 wells situated around the temple. There is various significance of each of the wells people bathe at. Since this was the tradition and we had travelled all this way, Maneesh and I also participated in bathing at the holy wells mainly for the sake of the experience. However before we entered the temple we first took a dip in the Bay of Bengal, which is also a aching ritual as per the customs and visit of the temple.
Unfortunately we were not allowed to take pictures inside the temple and while we were going from well to well bathing it didn't make sense to be caring expensive camera equipment.
We spent half the day at the temple and the rest of the day exploring the rest of the island. There were a couple other spots where lord Ram had been believed to visited and were tourist destinations on the island. We finally ended up in a little town known as Dhanuskhodi that sits right on the beach shores of the Bay of Bengal. This little town was washed away in the 1964 cyclone that his this region.
Dhanushkodi is also believed to be a historical place associated with Lord Ram, and is believed to be the location from where he built a floating bridge connecting India with Sri Lanka. There are a few huge stones on display in the town which are believed to have been the kind of stones that were used so many centuries ago. They were floating on the water. The bridge was eventually destroyed also by Lord Ram in the story of his battle in Lanka.
It was a beautiful little town where we enjoyed fresh coconut water!