September 14, 2016

The Great South Indian Roadtrip : Rameshwaram

Rameshwaram was the showstopper of our South Indian road trip. If given an option to cover just one place during this trip, then it definitely would be this place and this did meet our expectations. The good thing about this place is that the journey to this destination and the destination itself are top notch. We took the Kashmir- Kanyakumari Highway till Tirunellveli and from there took a diversion towards Rameshwaram. The roads are totally deserted in terms of vehicular traffic, a complete contrast to the highways through Kerala. Yet it was quite scenic with endless salt fields on both sides of the highway. Eventhough from google maps it looks like the route goes along the sea, one hardly gets a chance of driving with a sea view. Unless , ofcourse you reach the great Pamban bridge !!!!

Pamban Bridge
Pamban bridge is one of the most circulated images within India for the purpose of tourism and it does have those elements which makes it picture perfect. Legally speaking no one is supposed to stop on top of this bridge, with multiple boards advising the same, but we saw a huge line of vehicles parked and this temped us to do the same. We stopped only for 5 mins before a police patrol car came in and ordered the vehicles to be cleared. Fortunately by this time we had already experienced the view from the bridge. Shouldnt the Govt make provision for the tourists to view one of the best scenes in Rameshwaram, I hope they do some arrangement in the future.

Offroading through the Marshlands
The first thing we did was to go to the main Ramanathaswamy temple, which was huge, supposedly has the longest corridor in the world. It seemed like we walked atleast a km from the temple entrance to the main deity :P. The temple interiors were very good and interesting. There are a lot of holy theerthams in and around Rameshwaram wherein one is supposed to take a dip to get blessed. We saw a lot of pilgrims doing the same. After exploring the temple we proceeded to our hotel (Jiwan Residency), a recommended hotel to stay in Rameshwaram.

The following day it was time to explore Danushkodi. It is famous as the Rama Setu which according to mythology was build by Rama in order to reach Sri Lanka. The roads from Rameshwaram are very good till a check post wherein we had to abandon our private vehicles and had to get into rickety 4x4 vehicles. This vehicle takes a semi solid terrain route via marshlands which cannot be crossed by normal vehicles to reach the "Ghost" town of Dhanuskodi. But there were 2 surprises in store for us. First, was that there was a perfect all terrain road all the way to the town, but apart from the locals no one was allowed to use it. Looked like a collusion to force tourists to buy tickets to the 4x4 rides. And second being that Dhanuskodi is no longer a ghost town and is being inhabited. Dhanuskodi is infamous as the town which got washed away in the cyclone of 1964, which also included an entire train.

Danuskhodi Beach
The beaches of Dhanuskodi are gorgeous and we had a great time exploring the ruins of the village, including church, post office, railway station and so on. It was a fun ride through the marshlands. This excursion to Dhanushkodi took close to 4 hours of our time, but it was totally worth it. From Dhanushkodi we started to search for the infamous floating rocks of Rameshwaram. First we went to the Gandamadana Parvatham in search of it. But alas we couldnt find it here, but we got some good views of the entire Rameshwaram island. Next stop was the 5 faced Hanuman temple. It was here we stuck gold, with the floating stones. But the fact is the floating stones are nothing but porous pumice stones covered with corals, which gives it the ability to float. But the touts at this temple were making a quick buck selling poojas to the gullible .

Overall Rameshwaram is certainly a must visit for not just the religious, but also to the wanderlust junta trying to discover interesting parts of India.

Rameshwaram Temple Competing with the Rameshwaram Tower :)


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