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Rameshwaram or Rameshvaram is a small town near in Ramanathapuram district in South Indian state of Tamil Nadu. Located on Pamban Island separated from mainland India and is just 50 kms from Mannar Island of Sri Lanka. Considered to be one of the holiest places in India is also a part of Char Dham pilgrimage.
This is the place from where the Hindu God Rama built a bridge across the sea to Lanka to rescue his consort Sita from her abductor Ravana. The Ramanathaswamy Temple dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva is located at the centre of the town and is closely associated with Rama. The temple along with the town is considered a holy pilgrimage site for both Shaivites and Vaishnavites. The temple is one of the 12 Jyotirlinga shrines, where Shiva is worshipped in the form of a Jyotirlinga meaning “pillar of light”. It is also one of the 275 Paadal Petra Sthalam temples and is glorified in hymns by the three of the most revered Nayanar saints (7th century Saivite saints), Appar, Sundarar and Tirugnana Sambandar. The temple in its current structure was built during the 12th century by Pandya Dynasty. The temple has the longest corridor among all Hindu temples in India. The breadth of these columned corridors varies from 17 to 21 feet with a height of 25 feet.
Rameswaram literally means “Lord of Rama” in Sanskrit is the presiding deity of the Ramanathaswamy Temple. According to Hindu epic Ramayana, Rama, the seventh avatar of the god Vishnu, prayed to Shiva here to absolve any sins that he might have committed during his war against the demon-king Ravana in Sri Lanka. According to the Puranas (Hindu scriptures), upon the advice of sages, Rama along with his wife Sita and his brother Lakshmana, installed and worshipped the lingam (an iconic symbol of Shiva) here to expiate the sin of Brahmahatya incurred while killing of the Brahmin Ravana. To worship Shiva, Rama wanted to have the largest lingam and directed his monkey lieutenant Hanuman to bring it from Himalayas. Since it took longer to bring the lingam, Sita built a small lingam, which is believed to be the one in the sanctum of the temple. This account is not supported by the original Ramayana authored by Valmiki nor in the Tamil version of the Ramayana authored by Tamil poet, Kambar (1180–1250 CE). Support for this account is found in some of the later versions of the Ramayana, such as the one penned by Tulasidas (15th century).
How to reach:
By Air: Madurai is the nearest airport to Rameshwaram, which is located at a distance of 163 km away from Rameshwaram. Madurai is connected to many cities by air including Coimbatore, Chennai and Bangalore. International travelers have to get connecting flights from Chennai International airport.
By Rail: Rameshwaram (Mandapan station just 2 km away) is well connected by rail with many south Indian cities including Chennai (Chennai Express), Coimbatore (Jan Shatabdi Exp), Thanjavur (Chennai Exp) and Trichy (Bhubaneshwar Exp).
By Road: Well linked by all weather road is well connected with major cities. TNRTC buses connects with Chennai, Bangalore, Madurai, Trichy, Kanyakumari.There are many state run semi deluxe and some of the super fast luxury coaches operated by private operator.
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