clubnow

Nomads On Wheels

Destination: Rameswaram and Dhanushkodi


Date: February 7th & 8th, 2015 (4 and half day including travel from Mangalore)

Best Time to Visit:

Rameswaram – Round the year Dhanushkodi – January – May & September to December; summers are harsh

Connectivity:

Closest Airport:

Madurai – 163 kms

Railway Station:

Rameswaram

Road:

Madurai is the closest major town from Rameswaram and is well connected by regular bus service, total distance is 169 kms.

Mode of Transport Used:

Indian Railways – Mangalore to Chennai; Chennai to Rameswaram (23 hrs in train; total 29 hours including transit)

Clubnow NO-Mads:

Give me Red Prasanth Smiley Anoop

Accommodation:

There are plenty of hotels (budget & luxury) in and around Rameswaram. Some of these hotels are listed on internet in various sites however if you have the patience to roam around and check the hotels, you will definitely find one that’s suits your budget.

Clubnow will recommend a hotel which is in 1 kilometer radius from the temple, if you plan to visit the temple. We stayed at: Blue Coral Cottage, close to Agni theertham and 10 minutes away from the temple. Contact Person – Mr. Jayaram/ Stalin; Mobile – 95780 76352

Fact Check:

The town is small and most of the commuting is done by Auto rickshaws, regular bus service is also there between Rameswaram bus stand to Agni theertham. Lots of buses operate from Agni theertham to different places of tourist interest in Rameswaram (mostly temples). The roads are narrow with slow moving vehicles and one may get stuck in traffic jams and there are no parking space; please book a hotel with proper parking facility if you plan to drive to this place. The Temple: While in Rameswaram, visiting the temple is a must especially taking bath at 22 wells (theerthas) inside the temple. The temple opens at 5 am for spatika (crystal) lingam Darshan until 6 am after which the lingam is removed.

The Darshan process:

Please leave your wallet mobiles & cameras in the hotel room because these aren’t allowed inside the temple. There are lockers available which can be used for keeping these things. One can carry a small bag with fresh clothes for changing before darshan.

The temple opens at 5:00 am for Spatika Linga Darshan and devotees start queuing right from 3:00 am. Pilgrims aren’t required to take shower for Spatika Linga Darshan, just freshen up and stand in the queue. Ensure that you are wearing a comfortable pair of clothes for getting drenched. There are tickets available for special and regular darshan, one can go with special darshan in case of rush.

After the morning darshan which will take an hour, one will have to bath in Agnitheertham (bathing ghat at Bay of Bengal) and go to the temple in that wet clothes. Before the darshan one will have to take bath at the 22 wells inside the temple. According to mythology, these are the wells dug for lord Rama for penance after killing Ravana (the demon king of Lanka).

There are boards inside the temple showing direction for each well in sequence. While doing this don’t forget to enjoy the beauty of world’s largest corridor here. After taking bath with the water from 22 wells, one must change and go for the Jyothirlinga darshan. The second part of the darshan is a must do and an experience of lifetime!! We started at 4:00 am and were done with the entire process by 10:00 am.

Pamban Bridge:

Before arriving at Rameswaram one will have to take the Annai Indira Ghandhi bridge which is 2 kms long and while on this bridge do stop to admire the oldest railway bridge on sea, The Pamban Bridge. On the other side of the bridge you can enjoy the beauty of Turquoise Green Bay of Bengal and the ferries anchored there and the Gulf of Mannar. Immediately after the road bridge end while travelling towards Rameswaram, there is a flight of steps going down to Pamban Bridge. The experience of standing on the bridge 20 feet above sea is simply exhilarating; one can walk up to the cantilever bridge which used to open before the 1964 cyclone for the ferries to pass. Must Do: Check for the train timing and experience the rail journey over Pamban. Clubnow trekked the entire length of Road Bridge to Mandapam and took a train to Rameswaram, all the trains main a speed of 10 km/hr. due to the strong wind blowing over the sea.

DhanushKodi:


When in Rameswaram Dhanushkodi is a must do also known as Old Rameswaram. This is a condemned piece of land, which earlier was a flourishing town. Before 1964, ferry tickets to Colombo were available at Mandapam (the last station on mainland) railway station; travellers will alight at Dhanushkodi and take ferry service to Sri Lanka. According to locals here, Rameswaram was a small village with few houses and tourists used to stay at Dhanushkodi. Today tourist stays in Rameswaram and visit the tip during daytime. This place is open for visitors from 7 am to 6 pm, no one is allowed here after dark and cannot stay for overnight, why?? It’s the official ghost town of India!! Only 150 families stay here with no basic amenities (toilet, water or electricity), they have an identity card for staying there and there are frequent checks/ patrols done by police and Navy.

There are jeeps available from Rameswaram which can be hired privately for Rs. 1,500.00 or one can take the jeeps or mini bus from the last bus stop at the Naval check post for Rs. 250.00 per head. Only these vehicles or SUVs (4x4) can be driven upto Dhanushkodi because the complete drive is on sand and through backwaters! A pretty rough ride phew!!

There are places to stay here; it’s a ghost town with ruins of British colony which was used as railway quarters later, ruins of a church and temple. There are shacks selling snacks, aerated drinks, tender coconut and water. One will be fascinated with the beauty of the place on the shores of Arabian Sea and with a sense of despair on learning that around 1,800 people perished in the games that sea played during a cyclone in 1964. These vehicles will take tourist to the town which is 5 kms from the Naval check post.

The tip or Rama Sethu point is 4 kms from Dhanushkodi town and the drivers will refuse to take you there or will charge extra.

Clubnow trekked from the naval check post to the tip and returned to the town from where we took lift in a van until Rameswaram railway station. The trek to the tip was little arduous, walking on the sand however it there was a pleasant and strong breeze blowing from the bay and we didn’t realize the mid afternoon sun. The sight at the tip was breathtaking, Arabian sea in Turquoise blue and Bay of Bengal in Turquoise Green! From distance we could see the color mixing into each other. We couldn’t trek up to the meeting point because of high tide moreover there wasn’t even a single soul around to help in case of emergency. Trekking alongside the backwaters one will come upon some beautiful sights on this deserted stretch, one being, and intact Shiv Linga and Nandi deserted. The place is so condemned that even the gods have been deserted!!!!

In & Around:

Rameswaram: There are many temples on the island; Autorikshaws will charge around Rs. 500-700 to take you to all of these temples. Some of the temples have kept floating stones (Lime Shoals) and claim that those were the stones used by the ape army of Rama to build the bridge to Lanka.

Sea World Aquarium, Mandapam: (Sunday Closed) Most of the reviews on internet indicate that this museum is opposite to Rameswaram bus stand however when we checked with the locals, they informed that there is none. They informed that there is one in Mandapam, we missed visiting this place because it was a Sunday.

Ariyaman Beach: Popularly known as Khushi beach, located behind Vivekananda Mandapam is a secluded beach with a children park. Bus number 6 goes to Vivekananda Mandapam and halts for half an hour. One can check the bus timing at the bus station because this bus service is very erratic.

Average Cost per Head:Rs.4750/-

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