After the quaint and charming town of Madurai, it was time for us to leave for our next destination. We weren’t done with Madurai and we would be back on Christmas day but for now, we were on our way to Rameshwaram. Rameshwaram is an island in the Gulf of Mannar between the Indian coastline and the northern coastline of Sri Lanka. This is also the (supposed) site from where in the mythological character in the epic Hindu drama, Lord Rama along with his Vanara (monkey) army went across to Lanka to rescue his wife, Sita. The town, since it lies between India and Sri Lanka, is subject to many refugees from Sri Lanka, and also lies between the Indian Ocean and the Bay of Bengal.
The bridge, which connects mainland India to Rameshwaram, extends for a couple of kilometres and has the Indian Ocean and the Bay of Bengal on either side. The colour difference of the two water bodies with the Ocean being more blue and the Bay being more green in colour. While we were driving along the bridge, we stopped to try and see if we could spot dolphins, which were a possibility at the mouth of the bridge. But sadly while we weren’t able to see the dolphins, we were able to observe the beauty of the water bodies side by side. Once we reached our hotel, the Daiwik Hotel, which is specifically designed to give pilgrims an all round experience, those who require assistance in travelling to the specified pilgrimage places.
We reached the hotel at around lunchtime and were amazed by the grandeur of a pilgrim hotel. We then proceeded to the Vivekananda Memorial where Swami Vivekananda had visited Rameshwaram on his way from Sri Lanka. It was a simple one-room building, which housed the life and achievements of the great spiritual guru. When we climbed to the roof, we were astonished by the clear blue seas and were subsequently disappointed to see the beach barricaded by barbed wire. We then went to the famous Rameshwaram temple, also known as the 1000 pillar temple because of the 1212 pillars that were built inside the temple. This was the place where Lord Rama performed the sacred rituals before going off to fight the war against Ravana, the abductor of his wife, Sita. We then proceeded to the Ram Paduka temple, the place where the slippers (padukas) of Lord Rama are kept along with some stones from the Ram Sethu (the bridge built by the Vanaras to cross the sea to Lanka). We then went to the Lakshmana temple where Ram’s brother, Lakshmana after he killed Ravana’s brother, Kumbakarna, purified himself in the pond present over there. The pond now has many fish that the devotees feed to purify themselves.
Once we reached our hotel, we turned in for an early night as my mom and I finally watched ‘Django Unchained’ by Quentin Tarantino while having our dinner. We needed our rest because the next day was to be a very long journey.