Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Rameshwaram – The pilgrimage Island:

Rameshwaram is known for its theerthas (wells) in and around the main temple. This place is equally sacred to both Vaishnavites and Saivites. Rameshwaram is also popularly referred to as the 'Benaras of the south'. In order to attain Moksha it is believed that the visit to Rameshwaram is mandatory.

The religious island is spread in an area of 61.8 square kilometers and happens to be in the shape of a conch. 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.

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 meters of magnificent corridors and the flamboyant columns embellish and render fame to the temple.

The Ramanathaswamy temple is renowned for its magnificent corridors and massive sculptured pillars. The third corridor of Ramanathaswamy temple is the longest one in the world. Besides pilgrimage, Rameswaram Island has several places which ideally suites for picnic programme. There are beautiful beaches at Olaikuda, Dhanushkodi and Pamban.

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.

Sethu samudram shipping canal project:( The Image above is Sethu)
5-km south of the temple is Sethu, where there is a celebrated temple of Sri Anjaneya, and where, tradition holds, Sri Rama built a bridge to Sri Lanka. In Devipatnam, or Navapashanam, also by the sea, there are nine stones visible at low tide. It is believed that they were set up by Sri Rama to represent the nine planets, the Navagrahas.

Olaikuda beach is about one Km from the main temple is engulfed by coral reefs which makes sea bathing safe and enjoyable. With diving glasses and respiration tubes, Scuba diving can be done safely. Australian Flamingos, Sea Gulls and variety of birds migrates to Rameswaram Island during winter. Rameswaram is one of the main fishing centres of Tamil Nadu. Variety of fishes including export quality fish like prawns, sea cucumber, lobster etc. are available, Rameswaram is also famous for its dry fish.

The Pamban Bridge also called Indira Gandhi Bridge lies on the Indian end of the Palk Strait that connects Pamban Island to mainland India. It actually refers to both the road bridge and the cantilever railway bridge, though primarily it means the latter. The bridge was constructed with sufficient elevation and beautiful scenery of the sea, adjoining Islands and parallel rail bridge below can be viewed from the bridge.

The railway bridge is 6,776 ft (2,065 m) and was opened for traffic in 1914. The railroad bridge is a still-functioning double-leaf bascule bridge section that can be raised to let ships pass under the bridge. The railway bridge historically carried meter-gauge trains on it, but Indian Railways upgraded the bridge to carry broad-gauge trains in a project that finished Aug. 12, 2007. Until recently, the two leaves of the bridge were opened manually using levers by workers. About 10 ships — cargo carriers, coast guard ships, fishing vessels and oil tankers — pass through the bridge every month.

The photographs were taken during my trip to Southern states of India:

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