Apr 28, 2010

One Day: In & Around Rameswaram


If you are planning a visit to Rameswaram, this blog post might help you. However, the History behind this place is evident and i am not going to write much of those. Lord Rama prayed Lord Shiva here to absolve any sins that he might have committed during his epic battle against Ravana. So it was believed that a visit to this temple frees you from all the sins you committed.

That ONE DAY !

I visited this holy destination recently and thought of sharing my experiences with you. Instead of giving you Instructions, i am just elaborating on what we did. Based on that, you are sure to get an idea of what can be done in One Day - In & Around Rameswaram.
We decided to go by Train. The last time we hired a Cab for 5 of us, the guy stashed us 15,000 rs. Would we believe it ? Train tickets in Sleeper Class came close to JUST 2500 Rs for FIVE. Sethu Express departs from CHENNAI (EGMORE)  to Rameswaram Twice every day - on 5:25 PM and 8:20 PM respectively. You can board this Train from other places in Tamil Nadu like my parents did. I boarded along with my brother & Sister at TAMBARAM whereas my parents joined us in VRIDHACHALAM. You can check out the Sethu Express chart for Other places and timings. One good night's sleep & you are there.
4:45 AM:
I saw Dawn & Dark posing together when i was spilled out of Sethu express. Local buses are operated from the Railway Station to the Temple. Autos and cabs were also there. After a 10 min journery we reached the temple.
We boarded a Non-AC Single room for 600/- in Hotel Guru, just 10 blocks away from the temple. However, A/C accommodations was also found to be available for same the amount - doubled.
5:15 AM:
We refreshed. Geared up. Locked up all the electronic goods in the room and started to the Sea. It's just a 5 min walk. As per the traditional (and Mom) suggestion, I dunked my dusty hair thrice in the sea. Then checked my swimming skills a bit. Realized that i am still - an average swimmer at best.
5:40 AM:
We were back to the shore. You are supposed to give thithi (திதி) to your expired elders nearby to the shores. My dad did it for Grandpa. My brother eagerly waitied for the sunrise but the clouds denied his wish.
6:10 AM:
We are done with the sea shore formalities, started walking towards the Temple for completing the Main objective. It's to take bath in the 23 wells filled with Holy water. Although you cannot take bath soap and buckets inside. All you have to do is get a token, go in Queue as the temple associates stationed near every  well will pour a mug of the Holy water on your head. That completes the traditional Take Bath operation.
Note: We were actually blocked by an 'agent' on our way to the temple who offered us a deal. Give me 375 for you all, i will take you to all the wells in a by-pass route. We accepted it and it did make a drastic difference. We are done in less than 30 Mins. It would have took us 2+ hours in the long queue if he had not come. Choice is yours though.  Here goes my brother's patented quote: "There is always a cost for Comfort".
6:45 AM:
Back to the Hotel room. We changed to dry clothes. We are supposed to go to the temple again for Prayer  and wet clothes are not allowed inside the temple. Also, We were told that after the shower in Holy water, we SHOULD NOT TAKE BATH anywhere else. So you should take a bath before you go to the sea like my Brother or just leave it as such like me ;-) Your skin will go itchy over the day, but you have to bear it.
7:45 AM:
We had enough rest. Started back to the temple. Had breakfast in a nearby restaurant. Unexpectedly, the prayer went for a long time. My Mom did some pooja and it took her too much time because of the  rush. Somehow, we came back at around 9. At an average, it took us 3 hours to complete the Rameswaram  formalities.
9:00 AM:
Mom said, we should also go to Devipatnam - a destination 60-70 Km from our present place. We booked return tickets in the same Sethu Express with the departure being 8:00 PM in Rameswaram. We estimated 2+ hours for Travel & 2 hours for Prayer. Now that we have ample time to go, we slept ;-)
My brother came up with a plan. Why not, go to Devipatnam in a Cab, then directly board the train  in  Ramanathapuram - a place 10-15 m away from there(and the first stop after the train departs from Rameswaram).This will save us a 70 Km journey back to Rameswaram again.
We feared that our seats will be gone if we board in some other station. To avoid confusion, we directly went to the Rameswaram station, informed the manager and got the approval in our tickets to board the train in Ramanathapuruam.
11:45 AM:
Enough rest taken. We came down to the reception to vacate the room., My brother inquired the receptionist for cabs. We got one - with an Interesting offer. The guy told us that he will take us to 7 different places  (Mostly Temples) around Ramanathapuram for 1900 Rs. Apart from Devipatnam & a final drop in the  Ramanathapuram railway station.
So this is what that might interest you. If you are looking for Places of Interest around Rameswaram, wake up, wipe your eyes, sit straight and read the following.
12:15 AM:
We took money from a nearby ATM in Rameswaram as there won't be any other in the areas we are going to. Just 2 miles from Rameswaram, he took us to the first spot.
#1: Rama's Feet(ராமர் பாதம்)
They said Rama's feet impression is inside. It just looked like a traditional, old village home. Nothing was there except for a Floating Stone. It didn't really look like a stone, but they say it is. We didn't spend more than 5 mins here.
#2: Sita Theertham (சீதா தீர்த்தம்)
Well, all you will find here is a small temple lake. They say, Sita took bath here. You will be given a spoon of Theertham for Re 1 - entrance fee !
Nothing much to see there. Will take 2-3 mins.....

#3: Laxman Theertham (லக்சுமன் தீர்த்தம்)
Again a Temple lake. Bigger than the previous one. Same story, but it's Laxman who is believed to have bathed here. Spare 3 more mins if you want. After this, there are more interesting spots.

12:45 PM
#4: Yegandha Rama Temple (ஏகாந்த ராமர் கோவில்)
 ஏகாந்தம் (Yegandham) = Without Weapons or Calm i guess. It was believed that Rama,after his epic war, set aside all his weapons and came here as a 'calm' guy. The Temple is small but the ambience is amazing !

1:30 PM
#5: Pamban Rail Scissors Bridge : 
One of the non-spiritual spot you would witness here.  This Rail bridge and the adjacent road bridge. Connecting the island of Rameswaram to the mainland, this 2.06 km long rail bridge was built in 1913 with stones brought from a distance of 320 km and sand from 160 kms. The bridge was constructed on 145 stone pillars. A portion of the bridge opens up likes a pair of scissors to let the ship pass under it. On December 22,1964, a devastating cyclone destroyed part of this bridge. The Indian engineers rebuilt it in exactly 45 days and made it operational once again.
#6: Pamban Road Bridge
This is the only way you can cross this island on road. This engineering marvel took 14 years to complete and was inaugurated in 1988. It is designed like a bow over the sea to allow ships to pass beneath it. The bridge is 2.34 km. long, making it the second largest of the country (next to the new star  Bandra-Wohli Sea Link) with a clearance of 24.4 mts. and it is supported by 79 pillars, 64 of which are built in the sea. 101% of the visitors stop by here and enjoy the breeze. But i'm not  sure whether all of them tasted the delicious cucumber sold  here on the platform. You make sure you taste it.

2:45 PM:
#7: Devipatnam
After a 70 Km drive, we came where we wanted to. Devipattinam also known as Navabashanam (நவபாஷணம்), is a coastal Village having a temple dedicated to Devi who is said to have killed the demon Mahishasura at this spot. It is said that Rama calmed the sea at this coastal village to install nine stones representing the Navagrahas or the nine planets. The Hindus perform religious rites for the forefathers here. We started from here at around 3, drove towards Ramanathapuram and had our lunch there.Then we headed towards our next spot on chart.

4:45 PM:
#8: UthiraKosaMangai
No one would have expected such an ancient temple to exist in a small village like Uthirakosamangai. It's architecture is astonishing. It appeared "Under-construction" to me. If renovated, this temple is sure to attract many more than what its been now.
The 63 Nayanmargals are standing in a row to welcome you here. You will get to know all those  folks as their names are painted on the wall.
One more Lord is living in an adjacent apartment in the same temple. The name is Maragadha Natarajar. It appears like He was locked inside his room for a very long time. Temple associates said that once in a year he comes out and was taken all over the village .I guess it will be more exciting when you go as the renovation might just get complete.

5:30 PM

#9: Thirupullani (திருப்புல்லாணி)

This place is also known as Dharbasayanam and the Vishnu Temple here is dedicated to Lord Adi Jaganathaperumal. Honestly, i did not go into this temple. I was too tired to step in. I was not really the spiritual, temple-adoring guy and my spiritual interests are of trivial importance to the objective of this post. Unlike  Me, Mom went in and got stunned by the statures of the stationed deities. She said,
"I just cried after i went in. This is the place i am actually supposed to come. We never planned to go anywhere other that Rameswaram, but I coming here is Destiny. This place is very special. You missed out Viki. You must have come in".
Well, that is not something i hear from Mom very often. I have no idea what will be in store for you. About the temple, here is a good post you can read and find out.

6:30 PM
#10: Sethu Karai (சேது கரை)
This is the last place we went to before the Ramanathapuram railway station. They call it a pilgrim centre. 4 Kms from the previous spot. It was believed that Rama built a bridge here and stretched it all the way to Sri Lanka ?!
Even if you wipe your eyes 20 times and see carefully, Sri Lanka is visible from here. The waves in the beach are too good and the breeze is fantastic. A nice place to relax and end your trip. We finally started to the railway station.

7:30 PM
We reached the Ramathapuram railway station. We had close to 2 hours to relax and board the same Sethu express at 9:05 PM.

At the end, all it took us is one full day to visit every possible temple worth even a little.  We however, missed out on certain spots. One place i really missed out is the Gulf Of Mannar Marine National Park. It was awesome to see it in satellite imaging here at Google Maps. If you ever plan a travel, ensure you visit this underwater world. I hope our experience helps you plan your travel.


  1. Hi Vignesh

    Nice post. Loads of info, only wish I had read it before my trip to India. I didn't know abt the cucumber or the underwater world. Keep up the good work. Will be good if you can add more info and pix abt places you stayed and food you ate.

    Drop by at my site http://wwwflowering. blogspot.com.

    Kuala Lumpur

  2. are foreigners allowed to take the snan at the 22 wells of rameswaram? I am a Singaporean Chinese.

    1. Yes absolutely. There is no discrimination there. Just that the entry fee may be higher for foreign nationals.

  3. What are the timings @ Uthirakosamangai temple ? Except the very popular temples, most lesser-known temples have a tendency to close around 11:00am till as long as 6pm. [May be because of the daytime heat; or not many people visiting]. Very often I've realized that I reach a remotely located temple, traveling all through the morning, only to find it 'just closed - and re-opens at 6pm' etc. At the other extreme, if one does reach in the evening, say 6pm and finish darisanam around 7pm, transport back is equally challenging at that time...!

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. A very helpful post. One question though- since you reached Rameswaram at 4:4am, did you check into your hotel that early? Most of the hotels have a checkin time of 12Noon usually. Did you find the hotel upon arrival, or did you book it earlier? I am trying to plan a week long trip to the south, and I am unsure on how to arrange for accomodation if we reach before checkin time, and what to do with the luggage after you checkout (usually also at noon!) if your train is in the evening? Do people lug their bags around while sight-seeing? Thanks for any tips.

    1. We got the room when we got there. :) Lucky us. And it was not a weekend and so we got room easily. And we checkout the luggage only in the evening before departure of the train, since the hotel is a 24 hour checkout.

  6. Very informative thank you so much , how much was the charge to perform poojas at rameshwaram?

  7. thanks vignesh i m plnning for two days stay at rameshwaram now

  8. Thanks a ton bro.... Am in Madurai and the info u have blogged is very useful. Is the Devipatnam temple a Vishnu Temple ? Best ravi goenka.

  9. a very useful and informative article.thank u .starting to leave for Rameswaram 2morrow and hope to come back to chennai probably like u.tks

  10. you must have had great time there. i have visited rameshwaram once and loved it. i explored best places to visit in rameshwaram which left me spellbound.


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