Oct 03, 2023
Oct 03, 2023
by Hema Ravi
The two-day trip to Rameswaram offered a plethora of invigorating thoughts and experiences.
One of the 12 jothirlingam shrines, the island of Rameswaram attracts crores of people not only for its historical significance but also for its religious importance, which includes performance of obsequies to departed kith and kin. Any spiritual aspirant who has had several dips in the Dhanushkodi remains in bliss for a long time.
Among the smallest towns, Dhanushkodi borders Indian and Sri Lanka, it is just about 30km away from the island. The Rama Setu bridge, which lies at the confluence of the Bay of Bengal (Mahodadhi) and the Indian Ocean (Ratnakara) connects Rameswaram to the Mannar island of Sri Lanka. Dhanushkodi, as historical records reveal is the spot marked by Sri Rama for the bridge (across the seas) with one end of his famous bow (Dhanush-bow, Kodi –end!). Ghastly evidence lie partially submerged (deadly floods of 1960s), the area continues to be eroded by the spell-binding waves that lash gently and fiercely. Nevertheless, one gathers insights of the glorious past at the various places adjoining Rameswaram; for instance, the Navabhashana Navagraham at Devipattinam, Ramanathapuram District.
Navabhashana Navagraham at Devipattinam.
Picture Courtesy: Bhuvaneshwari R
The temple of Ramanathaswamy is striking not merely because of its long corridors but also because of its punya theerthams, 22 of which lie inside the precincts of the large temple. Devotees throng to get a shower in the waters of each of these wells (Mahalakshmi Theertham, Sethu Madhava Theertham, Ganga Theerthan,. Siva Theertham, Kodi Theertham among others…), from which authorized people draw water from these holy wells using small steel buckets. Chants of Mahadev ji ki jai fill the air, and without second thoughts, one can add that these ‘holy baths’ with their medicinal properties refresh the mind, body and soul.
One of the Theerthams: Picture Courtesy: B.K. Raman
The sanctum sanctorum of Lord Ramanatha houses the lingam prepared by Sita and consecrated by Sri Rama. To the North of the Ramanathaswamy shrine is the shrine of Viswanatha brought by Hanuman from the Himalayas . On the right-hand side, is the shrine of Goddess Prvathavardhini, consort of Lord Ramanathaswamy. Darshan at the shrines of Visalakshmi, Mahalakshmi, Nataraja, Ganapathi, Subramanya, Anjaneya and others further stills the clouded psyche with a blissful calmness.
Around seven kilometers or so, on the way to Pamban is the Villondi Theertham (buried bow), the place where Sri Rama quenched Sita’s thirst. Several other theerthams such as Hanuman Theertham, Sugreeva Theertham, Lakshmana Theertham are not mere reminders of the iconic warriors who once walked around on this earth, they transport us back into time- at various spots, it seemed we were travelling with them all!
Picture Courtesy: Swaminathan B
The elegant Kothandaramar Temple where Vibishana’s pattabhishekam was preliminarily done, the serene Ekantha Ramar Temple where Sri Rama stayed with the vanaras while the limestone shoals were being placed is unbelievably appealing.
A trip to Rameswaram is incomplete without a visit to Uthirakosamangai temple and the Thirupullani temple, of the Ramanathapuram district. At Uthirakosamangai, Mangalanathar, Mangalambigai and the maragatha (emerald) Nataraja are the predominant attractions. It is at this abode where Shiva is believed to have shared the vedic secrets with Parvati (Uthiram means upadesam and kosham means secrets). Apart from the magnificent sahasralingam, exquisite stone carvings of various other deities adorn this temple.
Picture Courtesy: Swaminathan B
Sri Adi Jagannatha Perumal Temple aka Thirupullani temple is among the 108 divya desam temples dedicated to Lord Vishnu. The main deity is Lord Dharba Sayana Rama, with Goddess Padmasini, his consorts Shridevi and Bhudevi; Balagopal, dancing on a snake is bound to bring back fond memories of Krishna’s childhood antics.
Image courtesy: B.K. Raman
An important component of the trip was the glimpse of the spatika lingam in the early hours and the spoonful of milk as prasad. Owing to time constraints, we could not visit two important landmarks - Sri Abdul Kalam’s Memorial and the Vivekananda Memorial Centre at Kundhukal, where Swamiji landed after addressing the Parliament of Religions at Chicago.
However, our eyes did not miss the large stone slab at the Koda Gopuravasal of Sri Ramanathaswamy temple, with Swami Viveknanda’s address at the Rameswaram temple on real worship: “It is in love that religion exists, in the pure and sincre love in the heart and not in ceremony…”
More by : Hema Ravi
|Excellent write up on Rameshwaaram, Dhanushkodi etc. You did take us on a virtual tour there.|