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Rameshwaram : Places to see

THE TEMPLE
The legend goes that Hanuman, the chief of the monkey army was sent to Mount Kailas to bring a Lingam (Siva). Hanuman was delayed on the way. But Lord Siva had to be worshipped at a fixed hour. And so, Sita moulded a Lingam for Rama's worship, which came to be called Ramanatha. Hanuman on his return found that all his labours had been in vain and was disappointed. Seeing how disappointed his most devout disciple was, Rama consoled him by installing the Lingam brought by him a little north of the Ramanatha, and decreed that the Hanuman Lingam should have precedence over the Ramanatha in all honours. Ramanathaswamy Temple which is close to the sea on the eastern side of the island is renowned for magnificent corridors with massive sculptured pillars lining it. The corridor is the longest in India. It is 197 metres long East- West, 133 metres in length South- North. The temple has a tower (Gopuram) 38.4 metres high. The temple as it stands today was built by different rulers at different periods from the 12th century A.D. onwards. The temple is 264 metres in length and 200 metres in breadth.

AGNITHEERTHAM
The temple is facing the east. The sea just 100 metres away from the main entrance to the Temple, is very Calm. The water at this place is considered sacred and is known as 'agnitheertham'. Pilgrims bathe in this place before entering the Temple.

EXCURSION
The Gandhamathana Parvatham (hillock) is situated to the north of the temple on the highest point in the island. It is a two-storeyed Mandapam where Rama's feet (Padam) are placed on a chakra which attracts pilgrims. It is 5 kms. from the Main Temple.

DHANUSHKODI
The Southernmost tip of the island Dhanushkodi - was completely washed away by the 1964 cyclone. But the Kothandaramasamy Temple here remains intact. It can be reached by road from Rameswaram. It is believed that Vibishana, brother of Ravana of the Ramayanam, surrendered before Lord Rama at this spot. The idols of Sri Rama, Sita, Lakshmana, Hanuman and Vibishana are here. It is 2 kms. from the Railway Station.

CORAL REEF
The waters around the island abound not only in fish but also in coral reef. The veritable gardens of coral reefs and a few picturesque locales off the island allure those who seek sun, sand and sea holidays. It is, in short, an island paradise of golden sands and gently swaying coconut palms, of shady tamarind and odai trees. The entire island is ideal for picnickers and excursionists.

KURUSADAI ISLAND
The island lies to the west of the Pamban bridge between the mainland and the island. It is a Paradise of Biologists. Scholars from far and near come to this island throughout the year for research and study. There are a number of islands in the area around Kurusadai Island. It is about 20 kms. from Rameswaram via mandapam. One should approach Fisheries Department to go to this island.


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