Rameshwaram or Rameswaram, situated about 164 kilometers south-east of Madurai, Tamil Nadu is considered as one of the “Chardhams” (the four most scared pilgrimage centers) by the Hindus. Rameshwaram is the only one of the four Dhams where the resident Deity is Lord Shiva. The other three have either Vishnu in one form or one of His avatars in residence. The temple is built on an island in the Gulf of Mannar at the tip of the peninsular that projects out of the Indian Subcontinent towards Sri Lanka. It is built on the site where Lord Rama, Vishnu’s seventh avatar, worshipped Shiva prior to His attack on Lankapuri, the capital city of the Rakshasas to rescue His beloved wife Sita who had been abducted by Ravana, king of the Rakshasas.The temple has additional significance because it is, firstly, a Jyotirlinga, and secondly, it is said in the scriptures that a pilgrimage to Varanasi to pay homage to Lord Vishwanath is incomplete without also paying homage to Lord Ranganatha at Rameshwaram. The Dham is also singular in that it is an important pilgrimage place for both Vaishnavites as well as Shaivites. Rameshwaram is called the “Varanasi of the South“.Pilgrims familiar with the “Ramayana”, written almost 3,000 years ago, find significance in many landmarks about the place. One of the most significant of these is the Gandhamardhan Parvat (a hill) on top of which Rama’s footprint is still found embedded in a rock at the topmost portion of the mountain. There are also other places of interest to the devout pilgrim and this is a favorite spot to cleanse one’s soul if one is a Hindu.
How to Reach: Though Rameshwaram is an all-year round destination, it is preferable to visit it during the period from October to March.Rameshwaram has a hot and humid clime throughout the year with summer temperatures hovering between 37-30 degree Celsius and winter temperatures between 30-25 degree Celcius.
Airport: The nearest airport is at Madurai, at a distance of 154-km.
Railhead: Rameshwaram is well connected by trains from all the major cities of India.
Road: State transport buses are available from the railway station to the various places in and around Rameshwaram. For local transportation taxis, auto-rickshaws, cycle-rickshaws and tongas are available. Also city bus service is available in the island.