Sights to See
Legend has it that Hanuman was sent by Lord Rama to bring a Lingam to worship at an appointed auspicious hour. As Hanuman's arrival was delayed, Sita moulded a Lingam out of sand for Rama to worship at the correct hour. This Lingam is the main deity worshipped as Ramanathaswamy. The disappointed Hanuman was later consoled by Rama; the Lingam brought by him was installed a little north of Ramanathaswamy Temple and it was decreed that Hanuman's Lingam should have precedence over the Lingam made out of sand by Sita in all honours and worship. Ramanathaswamy Temple, situated close to the sea on the eastern side of the Island, is known for its magnificent structure, long corridors and aesthetically carved pillars lining it. The corridor is the longest one in Asia at 197 m long on the East-West, 133 m in length on the South-North. The entrance of the temple adorned with a 38.4-m-high Gopuram (Tower). The temple was built by rulers from different dynasties from the 12th century onwards. The temple complex is constructed in an area of 264 m x 200 m. Swamy Vivekananda offered prayers at this temple in January 1897
The calm, shallow water of the sea, about 100 m away from the magnificent temple Gopuram, is held sacred. A dip in the Agnitheertham is supposed to remove the sins of the pilgrims. The other Theerthams (holy springs) in and around the temple are also important for pilgrims.
This hillock situated 3 km to the north of the temple is the highest point in the Island. There is a two-storied Mandapam, where Rama's feet (Padam) are found as an imprint on a Chakra. Pilgrims throng in thousands to worship Gandhamathana Parvatham. Sukreevar Temple and Theertham are situated on the way to Gandhamathana Parvatham.
Jadayu, the king of birds, who fought in vain with Ravana to save Sita, is said to have fallen down here when his wings were severed. Sand dunes surround the temple and the pond. The water of the pond is as sweet as tender coconut water.
Satchi Hanuman Temple
This is where Hanuman is said to have delivered the good news of Sita's well-being to Lord Rama with an evidence of Choodamani (jewel) of Sita. It is situated 3 km from the temple.
Five-Faced Hanuman Temple: Situated 2 km away from the main temple, here Hanuman is dressed with Senthooram (vermillion). Idols of Rama, Sita and Hanuman brought from Dhanushkodi during the 1964 cyclone are kept here. Stone said to be used during Sethu Bandanam (building a bridge between India and Sri Lanka) is kept in this temple.
Kothandaramaswamy temple is located 12 km away from Rameswaram. A popular belief is that Vibhishana, brother of Ravana, surrendered before Rama here.
The southern most tip of the island is called Dhanushkodi. It was completely washed away by a cyclone in 1964. It can be reached by road from Rameswaram. Dhanushkodi has a fine beach, where sea surfing is possible. Remnants of the railway station, temple, church and other settlements stand as mute witnesses to the devastating cyclone.
Fish and coral reef abound in the waters around Rameswaram.
Sea World Aquarium
The Sea World Aquarium is located opposite to Rameswaram Bus Stand.
The temple dedicated to Devi Durga is situated 1 km from the main temple on the way to Gandhamathana Parvatham.
Villoondi Theertham: This Theertham is situated at 7 Kms from the main temple on the way to Pamban.
Gulf of Mannar Marine Biosphere
The Gulf of Mannar Marine National Park has the core area of about 560 sq m from Rameswaram to Tutucorin lying within the Gulf of Mannar Biosphere Reserve covering an area of 10,500 sq m on the south-east coast of India. It covers the coast of Rameswaram, Tutucorin, Tirunelveli and Kanyakumari. It is one of the world’s richest regions from marine biodiversity perspective and the first marine Biosphere Reserve in Southeast Asia. The Biosphere Reserve comprises 21 islands with estuaries, mudflats, beaches, forests of the near shore environment, including marine components like algal communities, sea grasses, coral reefs, salt marshes and mangroves.