Package Name: Rameshwaram, a Theertham and places of interest ..
Rameshwaram is the place where Lord Rama strategically plans the war with Ravana to get back his beloved wife, Sita, from Ravana who kidnapped her. Rameshwaram also witnessed the victorious return of Lord Rama with Sita from Lanka and the events that followed thereafter. The Rameshwaram Temple, that most popular tourist destination in Rameshwaram, overlooks the vast Bay of Bengal and hosts the most ancient “shivalingas” installed and worshipped by Lord Rama. As the story goes, the Shiv Pooja was done to overcome the sin of killing a brahman – Ravana, on the counsel of Rishi Agasthya. Also, there are two “shivalingas” one at each level. The belief is each belongs to the tretayuga (the silver age when Ramayana unfolds) of two different yugas, each yuga comprising of 5 thousand years, which repeats itself endlessly, and so does Ramayana! Besides the “shivalingas”, there is also a shrine dedicated to Maharishi Patanjali who established the Yoga Sutra. Patanjali Muni walked the holy sands of Rameshwaram and lived here for some time. Swami Vivekananda visited here and so have many great sages over time. This place is a true “Thirtha” and as Swami Vivekananda instructed, such places, i.e. – theerthas – must be visited with purity in mind and thoughts. It is a highly charged place and a heartfelt worship and meditation with a pure heart and mind is what is called for. According to Swamiji’s instructions inscribed on the temple walls impurity of thoughts in such “theerthas” become heavier sins to wash away than if such thoughts arose in ordinary places.
Dhanushkodi, is about an hour’s journey from Ramaeswaram by car/bus and is famed for the Ram Sethu or Adam’s Bridge – the bridge made by Lord Rama’s Vaanar Sena in order to reach Lanka from the Indian mainland. The bridge still exists submerged in the sea and has been spotted by satellite image. The bridge is made of very light limestones which are found all over Dhanushkodi. The Dhanushkodi town unfortunately remains destroyed – roads, railways, homes, schools, temples, church- all completely wiped out by cyclone in 1964. However small vans do take tourists in groups inside the town all covered in sand and water to show the remnants of a once flourishing town. The vans are unable to reach the spot where Ram Sethu starts due to lack of roads. The central government is building a road that goes right up to Ram Sethu as this is a heritage site for India and the most sought after tourist spot in Rameshwaram.
Other spots that relate to the Ramayana are Jatayu Theertham and Rammar Temple among many other. Jatayu Theertham is the spot where the injured Jatayu (eagle) fell to the ground after fighting Ravana who was taking the helpless and crying Sita away in his celestial airplane. Lord Rama with his bow and arrow created a pond or “kunda” here to give water to drink to the dying bird and liberated his soul. The kunda still exists and there is a temple here with 2 shivalingas. This is a divinely charged spot away from the public eyes in a quiet forest and is mostly visited by sages for the purpose of meditation and “tapasya”. It is interesting to see how peacocks move around this quiet forest as though it is a scene from an ancient time we hear in stories.
Raamar Temple is a little temple on a hillock that overlooks the entire island of Rameshwaram and the surrounding sea. It is here where Rama stood and sent Hanuman to look for Sita. Hanuman victoriously returned to this spot with Sitaji’s jewel as proof to be shown to Rama he awaited news about his beloved Sita.
Rameshwaram is a holy land, charged with the divine presence of great saints who lived here. It is a blessing for all who thirst the divine and is definitely more than what meets the eyes. Jai Shree Ram!