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Rameswaram, The Most Important Pilgrim Center of India

Updated on September 14, 2011

Ramanathaswamy Temple

Rameswaram, in Tamil Nadu, India is the most important pilgrim center for the Hindu people. It's a small island lying between Srilanka and India in Gulf of Mannar of Bay of Bengal and recently built road bridge has made it more popular. On those days the train was only the mode of transport to reach the island. This place is also called as 'Banares of South'. There is a belief among the Hindu people that pilgrimage to Banares will be complete only after a visit to Rameswaram. It's also the abode of 12 Jyothir Lingams. It has a great historical importance where Lord Rama, the Hero of Hindu epic Ramayan, prayed Lord Shiva while He was on the mission of subduing the demon Ravan and saving His consort Devi Seetha who was imprisoned at Srilanka by the demon. It is from here Lord Rama with the help of Lord Anajaneya and others said to have constructed mythological bridge to Srilanka.

As Lord Rama, the God of Vaishnavites, once worshipped here Lord Shiva, the God of Saivites, both groups of people consider this place as the most sacred one. In Hinduism, Rameswaram is said as 'place for pariharam' where one can absolve all his sins. Rameswaram is the large fishing harbour of India from where large amount of fish is exported to various countries. Fishes like Prawn, Sea Cucumber are processed here for the export. Dried fishes are aslo largely produced in and around Rameswaram. The waters around the sea is not only rich in variety of fish but also in coral reef.

Pamban Road Bridge

Pamban Cantilever Railway Bridge

Rameswaram is also famous for its two bridges that have been built to connect the island with mainland. The two bidges are lying parallel and between the two places Mandapam, in mainland and Pamban, at the entrance of the island. The previously built cantilever railway bridge(2.1 km long) is 90 years old and small ships can be passed across the bridge when the lever of bridge is kept opened. Pamaban road bridge was inaugurated in 1988. It looks like a bow over the sea and allows small ships to pass beneath it with a total number of 79 pillars and 64 of which have been built in the sea. It has a total length of 2.34 km and clearance of 24.4 m

Places of attraction in and around Rameswaram

Ramanathaswamy Temple, Agni Theertham, Shri Rama's Foot, Dhanushkodi and Kurusadai are some places of attraction in and around Rameswaram.

Ramanathaswamy Temple

The temple is situated at the eastern side of the island and just 100 m to reach the seashore from the temple. It's famous for the longest corridors, 197 m long east-west and 133 m long north-south with massive sculptured pillars lining it. The tower facing east is 38.4 m high. The temple dates back 12th century A.D which was built and improved by the different rulers of the age. The total length of the temple is 264 m and breadth is 200 m. The prime deity here is Lord Shiva and He is in the form of 'Shiva Lingam'. It's also famous for various sacred waters(Theerthams) which are found in and around temple. Devotees who come here used to take bathe in 36 different sacred waters to obtain merit for the souls of dear departed ones and wash away their own sins. We can find many people around the campus of the temple who help to take bathe in those sacred waters. They usually charge about Rs 100/- per head for getting bathed.


It's nothing but seashore lying infront of the temple. The sea is very calm and therefore ideal for taking bath. The water at his point is said to be sacred and called as Agni Theertham. Pilgrims usually take bath here and perform poojas in honour of their ancestors

Shri Rama's Foot

This is about 3 km away from Rameswaram where we can worship Shri Foot of Lord Rama. This is an unique point where the temple is situated in an optimum elevation. Besides God's grace we can also get the chance of enjoying beautiful scenaries of the island. From the temple we can see the sea which is around 2 km to reach and various trees and greens of the island that can be viewed from there add the beauty to the point.


It's the southern most end of the island and about 2 km away from the railway station which was badly hit by the severe cyclone in the year 1964 when thousands of people were killed by the invaded sea. The water found in this place is called as Sethu Theertham. In legend it is said that Vibheeshnan, the brother of the demon Ravan, surrendered before Lord Rama at this spot. We can also see a temple for 'Koothandavar' here. The idols of Lord Rama, Devi Seetha, Lord Laxman and Lord Anjaneya are also found here.

Kurusadai Island

The island lies between mainland and Rameswaram island on the eastern side of the Pamban bridge which is a paradise for biologists who research about marine living beings. Scholars from far and near come to this area throughout the year for the research and study. We need to travel about 20 km both in land and water to reach here. There are many number of other islands near Kurusadai. One can approach fisheries Department to get an idea of getting there.

Getting There

Rameswaram is well connected to all the major towns and cities of Tamil Nadu and other parts of the country by road. The nearest railway junction is Madurai and Ramanathapuram. The nearest airports are Madurai, Coimbatore and Trichy.


Submit a Comment

  • ratnaveera profile image

    ratnaveera 4 years ago from Cumbum

    Dear Sunil, Thanks for coming here and adding your valuable comments. You can visit this wonderful place to get blessing of Lord Siva and also enjoy beauty of nature. Rameswaram is such a beautiful island to enjoy many surrounding points. Best Wishes!

  • sunilkunnoth2012 profile image

    Sunil Kumar Kunnoth 4 years ago from Calicut (Kozhikode, South India)

    A great pilgrimage center in India and attracts thousands of people. Rameswaram is undoubtedly one of the most sacred place of Hindus. Though I have covered many parts of Tamil Nadu, I am yet to visit here. Your article intensify my desire to reach the land ASAP. Thank you for sharing your knowledge here. Shared on FB to help people to plan a trip to this beautiful land.

  • profile image

    Alex Jorge  7 years ago

    Is the any police post in the Pamban Road Bridge?

  • profile image

    soumyasrajan 7 years ago from Mumbai India and often in USA

    Oh! Ratnaveera

    Thanks for response. The point I was making is opposite of what you interpret. I do not find any thing religious about Sethu Bridge. So I do not see need for you to apologize. Any way By and large we in India are not so sensitive about such issues that one has to apologize.

    But what I find surprising is people like Neet arguing to destroy a nature's amazing formation built up over 1000's of years for not much gain.

    I do not see arguments for preserving the bridge as a religious issue. Nor do I see those pleading for it, being unreasonable, if they bring in together with environment issues cultural issues like Rama's story etc. After all these stories have also existed for 1000's of years and have been inspiring people not just in India but in many other countries in Asia. No sane person will want to destroy a nature's beauty or cultural sentiments built up over 1000's of years, just like that.

    People who want to destroy this bridge mostly claim that they are from intellectual or secular brigade etc. But their style reflects that most of their inspiration and eagerness seems to be coming from the fact that they think of people who want to preserve it as religious and themselves as intellectuals? and because they have to oppose these religious bunch, they have to oppose preserving this ancient structure. I did not see many of them so eager when this was just development issue - quite funny indeed.

    Looking at this I expressed the above feeling that this bunch claims to intellectual or secular but looks much more communal.

  • ratnaveera profile image

    ratnaveera 7 years ago from Cumbum

    Dear Soumyasrajan, Thank you very much for coming here and your nice comments and more information. First of all I feel sad that my comments as well as Neet's might be affecting your great feeling and beliefs on Sethu Bridge. I will always like to respect the other people's religious feelings and beliefs. As you already said we everyone have right to protect the historical and natural things like Sethu bridge. Please apologize me if my comments have hurt your feelings. Thanks again!

  • profile image

    soumyasrajan 7 years ago from Mumbai India and often in USA

    Hi! Ratnveera

    I liked your article on Rameshwaram. Very nice pictures. A few months back I also wrote an article on an interesting letter by Lord Pentland, which was essentially about Rameshwaram.

    I liked your article but I must say I do not agree with your or Neet's comment about destroying that Bridge.

    Some natural creation which has taken lakhs of years to build up should not be destroyed just like that. People have every right to demand preservation of such formations. I do not see much religion in it. Culture it does show of both countries India as well as Sri Lanka. I think people like Lord Pentland were much more careful than today's politicians and administrators bent on such destruction.

    Actually I feel opposite of what you or Neet say. It is people who are trying to defend an unreasonable destruction (I am not so sure that destruction of bridge in necessary to improve economy or transport) are bringing religion unnecessarily in their arguments by trying to pose "oh! people who want to preserve this ancient formation/construction are motivated by religion."

    Some how in India and even in Sri Lanka, and other neighboring country, one sees that people who pose themselves as intellectual, secular etc. are the ones who adopt to most communal style in every thing to defend their unreasonable attitudes on most issues. One has to be very careful about such posing. Fortunately I feel silent majority in our countries, though quite powerless is indeed careful and very reasonable.

  • ratnaveera profile image

    ratnaveera 9 years ago from Cumbum

    Dear Neet, Thanks for coming here and your nice comments. Few years back all of our family members enjoyed these places. Though most of our people support for the Sethu Canal, our Indian Law can not be against the religious feelings of certain mass of people who have great bhakthi with Lord Rama. It seems very hard to get known them the benefits of the canal which could be one of the major reasons for the development of Indian economy. Let us wait and see what will finally happen in this great issue!

  • bhalla_neet profile image

    Ravneet 9 years ago from Delhi

    Dear Ratna, thank you for taking us through one of the most sacred places of Hindu pilgrimage. The temple corridor picture is beautiful.

    However, recently, the place has been in news for the uproar over the Rama Sethu Bridge. I wish to say that development is necessary for a country to progress and if we keep bringing religion in the way of progress, we will be the losers, no one else.

  • ratnaveera profile image

    ratnaveera 9 years ago from Cumbum

    Dear Hubber, Thanks for your question. Rameswaram is part of India! LTTE can not arrive there!

  • hubber-2009 profile image

    hubber-2009 9 years ago from India

    Is it the Safest place for LTTE?