Posted by: raju0704 | April 21, 2012

Visit to Rameswaram – Part 3 of 3

Visit to Rameswaram – Part 3 of 3
(Dhanushkodi and around Rameswaram)

This is the continuation of Part 1 and Part 2 of our Rameswaram visit

Dhanushkodi

It was a Sri Rama Navami the next day. Incidentally I was born on a Sri Rama Navami day on the Thiruvathirai star (Lord Shiva’s star, the previous star to Punarvasu, Rama’s star).  Rameswaram is the most sacred place in Tamilnadu for Sri Ramar and there could have been no better place to be there on that day. We were there on that day – quite unplanned!

We started the day in a jeep (costs about 1000 Rs per jeep) by about 6:30 AM for Dhanushkodi (we missed this during our earlier May 2011 trip) which is about 23 kms from Rameswaram.

Hindu scriptures say that at the request of Vibeeshana, brother of Ravana and ally of Rama, Rama broke the Sethu bridge after the Ramayana war with one end of his bow and hence the name Dhanushkodi, Dhanush meaning Bow and Kodi meaning end. It is also said that Rama marked this spot for Sethu with one end of his famous bow.

Dhanushkodi was a prospering town with a population of about 25,000, mostly fishermen and had its own post office, school, college, an ancient Lord Rama Temple and even a Railway Station. On that fateful night,

at 11:55 PM on 22nd Dec 1964,

the Indian Ocean swallowed the entire town with gigantic tidal waves followed by a great cyclone (incidentally the Asian tsunami was on 26 December 2004) killing around 2000 people. The ocean ensured that even a passenger train that was arriving into the Dhanushkodi railway station from Rameswaram with 115 passengers aboard was not spared.  While entering the Dhanushkodi railway station, the Pamban-Dhanushkodi Passenger, a daily regular service, was only a few yards before Dhanushkodi railway station when it was hit by the massive tidal wave. The whole train was washed away killing all 115 on board.

Dhanushkodi is about 23 kms from Rameswaram. There is a straight metal road for about 14 kms till the Naval check post. The Indian Ocean and Bay of Bengal come along either side all the way.
IMG_1229 IMG_0472
IMG_0473 IMG_0474 IMG_1228 IMG_0475

End of tar road:
End of tar road IMG_1183 End of tar road (2)

From the check post, the jeep takes on the remaining 9 kms on sea sand till to the tip of Dhanushkodi (only 30 kms ahead is Sri Lanka). The driver does some changes to the front wheel when the journey switches from metal road to the sea sand road and vice versa. If you travel through your own vehicle, you can travel upto this check post and then take the special jeeps that are available from there.

Start of journey on sea sand:
Start of journey through sea sand Start of journey through sea sand (2) IMG_0481 IMG_0485 IMG_0487 IMG_1184 IMG_1186 IMG_1191

The remaining journey on the sandy trail through the remains of the railway station, railway tracks, temples and buildings was emotional. There are still some families there with hope and we could see some ladies carrying drinking water in pots. It was a feeling of immense sadness to imagine that fateful night.

Remains of the railway track:
Ruined railway route IMG_0482

Remains of Dhanushkodi:
IMG_0496 Ruined Dhanushkodi railway station IMG_1190 IMG_0500

It is the confluence of Bay of Bengal and Indian Ocean. One sea is blue in colour and the other one is slightly greenish; one is with waves and the other is very calm; one is called the female sea and the other male sea.

One side of the sea (Indian Ocean):
IMG_0489 Indian Ocean side

The other side (Bay of Bengal):
IMG_0491 Bay of Bengal side

and the confluence:
IMG_0488 Confluence of Bay of Bengal and Indian Ocean Confuence of Bay of Bengal (left) and Indian Ocean(right)

It is surprising to know that Dhanushkodi is in the shape of a bow and arrow, Lord Ramar’s main weapon, and this can be clearly seen in the satellite picture. The head, jada (long hair), nose, pulling the arrow back to ready it for sending – all are perfectly present. An amazing divine presence to prove the sanctity of the place! The tip of the arrow is considered to be the most sacred place for worship.

Rama's arrow at Rameswaram and Dhanushkodi

The sea and place of pooja was very clean, calm and quite with just about 4-5 jeeps around and 2-3 tented shops. First, a bow and arrow was drawn on the sand as a symbol of Sri Ramar and a pooja was conducted. Then the sand with the symbol was taken out and immersed in sea. Then a Shivlingam was made out of sea sand and a pooja was conducted. After the completion of pooja, the Shivlingam was also immersed in sea. We took 32 dips in the sea and completed the pooja that lasted about 45 minutes.

IMG_1224

There are 2-3 tented shops and we bought Valampuri Chanku. A big one was about 250 Rs and the smaller one was about 150 Rs. Valampuri Chanku is considered to be the symbol of Mahalakshmi. Don’t buy a clean and nice looking chanku since it was acid cleaned, coloured and the edges were trimmed. Buy an uncleaned, natural looking one and clean it yourself at home.

IMG_0495

The complete set of Dhanushkodi photos are here

Note: The Dhanushkodi cyclone destroyed the Pamban Bridge also which is the only connecting point of Rameswaram to the mainland India.  And this meant Rameswaram was completely isolated. One, Dr Sreedharan was a Deputy Engineer in the Southern Railway at that time and he was given six months to restore the connectivity to Rameswaram which was asking a lot considering that the bridge was India’s longest sea bridge for 96 years till 2008; ……and Dr Sreedharan finished the job in just FORTY SIX DAYS (and for all this, Dr Sreedharan got a Railway award consisting of Rs 100 and an awful looking plaque!)

We returned back to Rameswaram and took the 22 theertha holy dips within the temple premises. There was absolutely no crowd and so had very peaceful and enjoyable holy baths around. It is said that each theertham tastes differently but we found most of them taste the same excepting 4-5. Especially we could feel the taste difference within about 15 feet distance.

We then took a local trip to different places. It took us a little more than 2 hours.

Kothanda Ramar temple

A popular belief is that, Dhanushkodi is where Vibishana, a brother of Ravana surrendered before Rama.

Kothanda Ramar temple is almost half way to Dhanushkodi. We made another exclusive trip here because after going to a temple we should not take a bath and we planned for the 22 theertha snanam in the morning. It is about half a km from the sea shore surrounded by Indian Ocean on all sides excepting the approach road. There had been several instances of cyclone in the area but the temple stayed intact even in most critical times like the complete wash out of Dhanushkodi. This is the place where Vibhishanan (Ravana’s Brother) surrendered before Rama and in turn was crowned as the King of Srilanka after the war by Lakshman. In the sanctum, apart from the normally seen Kothanda Ramar, Sita, Lakshman and Hanumar, as a special significance to this place, Vibhishana is also seen by the side. The temple has many wonderful (modern day) paintings all along the inner walls which flows with the flow of Ramayana. Vibheeshana Pattabhisha urchavam in the month of May-June is very special here and the next day to it, the Ramalinga Pradhishta urchavam takes place in the Ramanatha Swamy temple.

IMG_4814 IMG_4813 IMG_4811 IMG_4812 IMG_4810 IMG_4808

Links: Location

Jada theertham 

It is about 5 kms from Rameswarm en route Dhanushkodi. Sri Ramar is believed to have washed his long hair (Jada) here and so is called Jada theetham. It is considered that taking bath here people will not get affected with poverty and sins; It is considered to fetch good thoughts free from confusions and also get the equivalence of doing all the dhanams.

Nambumayahi amman temple

On the way back to Rameswaram, we visited 500 years old Nambumayahi amman temple. The temple is located in a serene location surrounded by beach sand dunes. A huge banyan tree, a significant portion of which is covered by sand dunes, located nearby is beautiful but frightening as well.  As the many tanks (holy springs) around this temple have medicinal effects curing all the diseases, these are revered as Sarvaroga Nivarana theerthams (springs curing all diseases).

Nambunayaki is the family deity of many Maratha Brahmins here who name their child after the Goddess. “I worshipped the Nayaki seeking a child, She gave me a son to spread Her grace” – are the lines mothers sing to make their child sleep peacefully.

Legend: It is believed that two sages, Dakshina Duruvan and Pachima Duruvan performed intense penance here, had the Darshan of Mother Parvadhavardini as Dakshina Kali as she graced them facing South. Since then, the sages continued to stay in the place and began treating those suffering from diseases. It is also believed that the rishis are still in the place in deep penance.

The story also goes that during the rule of Sinhalese in this region, a king Sulodharan by name became ill and reached the temple trusting in the grace of the Mother. His brothers mocked at him. The king was firm in his faith, built a hut nearby and continued his prayers bathing in the holy springs. As the Mother responded to the King’s prayers, he built a temple for the Goddess and also provided facilities for those coming to the temple for recovery from illness. Also, the brothers who mocked at the king became too ill then.

From this incident came the saying “Nambunayakiyai Vananginal Vambillai – no problems (Vambu) to those trusting Nambu Nayaki (trust in Goddess).

Front side (2) 12 Front side Side view IMG_4821 IMG_4833 IMG_4834 IMG_4835 IMG_4836

Links: Location Photos

Lakshman Theertham

Lakshman theertham is in the town near the main temple and is very big and beautiful. Lord Shiva temple is present on the bank of the temple. It is believed that Balaraman got cleansed off his Brahmma harthi dhosham here.

1 IMG_4871 IMG_4872 IMG_4873

There are fishes of massive sizes and like the modern day kids, they fight very madly for the crunchy butter balls that are being sold there.

IMG_4866 IMG_4867

There is a Shiva temple at one end of the tank

IMG_4874 IMG_4875 IMG_4876

Links: Location

Seetha theertham

This is also in the town near the main temple. It is comparatively smaller than Lakshman theertham and under renovation. It is considered that Dharmarajan got cleansed from his lying.

Sita Theertham Sita Theertham (2)

Panchamuga (Five-faced) Hanuman Temple

This small temple is located just opposite the Seetha Theertham. Five faced Hanuman, adorned with Senthooram all over his body is present here. There are many floating stones on display which were supposedly used to create the bridge on the sea as per mythology.

Panchamuga Anjaneyar Temple

In the process of killing a demon Mayil Ravana, Hanuman was blessed with five faces – Lion’s face of Narashima, Garuda (to fly), Hayagreeva, Varaha and the fifth one being Hanumar himself – through blessings of MahaVishnu.
By worshipping Pancha Mukha Anjaneyar, one can get rid of enemies with the help of Narashima mukha; overcome all types of Dosha with the help of Garuda; get all types of wealth  with Varaha; and get Gnana with Hayagreeva.

Rama Theertham

Rama Theertham is also as big as Lakshman theertham but not as clean. It is considered that Dharmarajan got cleansed from his lying. Here also floating stones are on display.

Ramar Theertham Ramar Theertham (2) Floating stone

Links: Location

Villoondi theertham

Villoondi literally translated as ‘buried bow’ is a sacred place of Lord Rama and is a big surprise of mother earth. It is a single spot of small well where Lord Rama hit his bow to get water to quench the thirst of Seetha devi. It is right there in the sea at about 100 feet from the shore with a small walk way to it. The water is completely salt free and is very much drinkable.

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The sea is very clean and the water is crystal clear.

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Gandhamadhana Parvatham (Ramar patham)

It is the highest altitude of Rameshwaram and per legend, this is the point from where Sri Rama had a view of Srilanka before the Ramayana war and landed in pushpak viman after the war.

IMG_4837 1 IMG_4838 IMG_4841

The temple is two storeyed located on a tiny hillock with Lord Rama’s feet imprinted on the chakra in the sanctum mandapam in the first floor.

3 2 IMG_4842 IMG_4850

The second tier is just a view point and we can have a beautiful view of Rameswaram and Dhanushkodi from there.

IMG_4843 IMG_4848 IMG_4844 IMG_4847 IMG_4858

4

Sukreevar Temple and Theertham are situated on the way to Gandhamadana Parvatham.

Links: Location

Sakshi Anjaneyar Temple

This small temple is located on the way to Gandhamathana Parvatham where Hanuman is said to have delivered the good news of Sita’s well-being to Rama with an evidence of Sita’s choodamanai (Jewel).

Sakshi Ankaneyar Temple Sakshi Ankaneyar

Badrakali Amman Temple

This temple with Devi Durga as its chief deity is located on the way to Gandhamathana Parvatham. It is very popular among Devi Durga’s worshippers hailing mainly from West Bengal.

Note:

1) Since Rameswaram is a popular parihara sthalam, people cheat the visitors as much as possible and you have to take extreme precaution of not falling as a prey. There are plenty of bogus prohits to do the praiharams; sell pure glass ligams as spatika lingams etc., Our contact Sri Raghavan Sasthirigal (97879 07782) looks very reasonable and was very courteous.

2) The organisation “Akhila Bharatiya Brahmana Karivena Nityannadana Satram” has its branch at Rameswaram at the  and serves free (close to) Home food at the following address:

Akhila Bharateeya Brahmana Karivena Nityannadana Satram,
(Kanchi Komakoti mutt premises)
37-A, Sannidhi street,
Rameswaram - 623526
Phone: 04573-222156

From the FAQ at their site (http://www.karivenabrahmin.org/):

Question: Is it meant for only Brahmin (Brahman) community?
Ans: No. The name is misleading a bit. The food served at our centers is commonly called as ‘Brahmana Bhojanam’ in Telugu. It is famous for its vegetarianism and Satvik taste. This food is suggested in India by Yoga gurus. Our motto is to serve the humankind in Brahmin way. In Sanskrit, it said that “Brahmano Bahujana Priyaha!” meaning that ‘A Brahmin is adored by all’.


Responses

  1. Dear Sir

    I chanced upon your blog today – Ram Navami 2014. So firstly, my well wishes on your birthday. I had been to Rameswaram last year for the final rites of my father (10-13 day) and your blog brought back lot of memories. I wish I had opportunity to visit it earlier. Thank you for your efforts and continue with the good work. Any chance you’ll be covering North Indian temples as well, eg Kasi. Thanks

    • Thank you Sindhani for your wishes. I first wish to complete the Tamilnadu temples which itself will take another one year and then plan for other states.

  2. your blog is an excellent travelogue. thanks for the incredible work done by you. please tell us more about tila homam / pariharam done in rameshwaram.

  3. Dear Mr Raju , Thank you for the excellent post and information. I will be visiting Rameswaram soon , would like to know if Mr. Raghavan Sasthirigal would assist me in completing my pooja and also bath in 22 well water also how much would be his fees or how much is the best amount to pay him

  4. Very useful directions.Very glad to you raju bhai. SRAVAN

  5. Sir,

    I would like to know the various homas that are done in Devipattinam and the purpose, has some had adviced me that its not necessary just pray to the navagrahas is enough the priest there will say need to do this and that but its all about money.

    Also if you can advise the same on Rameswaram ie the home/puja that needs to be done.

    I am little confused as what is right.

    Please advice

    Thank you

  6. I would be visiting Devipattinam in the next couple of days and would like to make puja arragements with Shri Jagannatha Iyengar. Please advice how to go about it, contact numbers, or any help in doing so. Thank you kindly

    • Sir, I don’t have his number. Just go to the Perumal temple very near the bathing ghat and ask for him.

      • Thank you Sir for the prompt response.
        Since this would be my first time, I would like to ask the type of homa that one would do at Devipattinam.
        And what would be the best times to do it.
        Also would like to know the cost of doing homa by Sri Jagannatha Iyenger.
        Thank you very much for sharing.
        Best Regards

  7. Wonderful and very useful information about Rameswaram and its surroundings.
    Planning to visit Rameswaram for Pitru karyams in December 2012.
    It looks like a cakewalk for unknown persons like me.
    A very big Thanks..

  8. Dear sir,
    all temples visit to very useful to us and also to our generations. this fantastic work is also to great service to our Hinduism and all human life.
    many thanks. wish you all the best.
    valgha valamudan
    T.V.S.KRISHNAN
    12/06/2012

  9. Hey Raju great post about the temple. I have never visited this temple. But sure I will visit if i get chance to go Chennai.

  10. awesome photos.!!

  11. Excellent information for pilgrimage. During my childhoods, I used to read Mr.Manian’s articles on pligrimage in the tamil magazine “idhaym pesugiradhu”. Your site provides great information including contacts.Thank you very much sir.

  12. kanten kantariyathana kanten you are realy great for his temple visit services. yam petra inpam peruga ivviaigam this is real god worship

  13. Sir
    It is very glorious work compiling the information and very useful tips given by u for the readers.

    Regards
    Venu

  14. Marvelous…..

  15. in response to my earlier comment, you can visit the trailing site to know more about Dr Sreedharan http://kaipullai.com/2012/02/24/dr-elattuvalapil-sreedharan-the-bharat-ratna-no-one-talks-about/

  16. I just happened to visit Part 3 of Rameshwaram – Dhanushkoti trip. Nice presentation, as usual! One feels visiting while reading ur post. The ‘one’ Dr Sreedharan, you mentioned, is none other than the famous Sreedharan of Delhi Metro, bestowed with Padma Award. Earlier, he had his say with Konkan Railway as its architect. Now, he is associated with Kochi Metro. If one happens to visit his site, one would know how with all great hardships and near-total-no-support, he made re-construction of Pamban Bridge within just 46 days. He has taken up with Tamil Nadu Govt, not to go ahead with the proposed Mono Rail system, which he says, is best suited for Urban and Semi-Urban centres and not with Metros, with reasoning. Would any one listen to him? He is such a simple person that I saw him last April, 2011 attending Anna Hazare’s protest at Jantar Mantar, Delhi (while still with Delhi Metro), sitting on the floor, bare foot with other people and did not occupy the dias.

  17. Dear Raju,
    About the rebuilding of the bridge. Sri Ganguli was then the GM of S.R. and the bridge got rebuilt under his stewardship who had been camping there. Dr Sreedharan could have also worked and may be a main man in the event. Sri Ganguli later was rose to the rank of Chairman of RB and unwanted event during his CRB was Sarairuhulla incident where his saloon was locked to the rail.
    gk kaushik

  18. Very informative, thanks a lot.

  19. I am sorry to differ with your views regarding Valampuri Sangus.
    You have mentioned that you purchased Valampuri Sangu at Rs.250/-
    which is unbelievable ! What you have purchased must have come to the
    shops through African coasts in the name of Valampuri Sangu. As original Valampuri Sangu is a precious and scarce commodity, it will normally not
    be available to anyone and if at all it is a true one, it will cost not less than Rs.1.50 lacs and more, depending on the size, shape and the sound effect you get when you keep the sangu near your ears! I heard from fishermen that very rarely during the early morning at the time of sunrise in Mannar Gulf area you can see sudden appearance of some lotus-like flowers ,
    flowering in the sea and in a few seconds it will disappear. You should be
    swift enough to catch as many sangus as possible and among them there could be one Valampuri Sangu if you have the blessings of God as the same will fetch a fortune!

    • Hello Mr.Gopal, Thanks for all the details. All I can say is that we bought 4 big Valampuri sangus and one small one We bought right at the tip of Dhanushkodi and they had 2 more small ones. By appearance it is definitely a pure Sangu, it is for sure a Valampuri one and we hear the sound of the sea as well, I am not sure how fake ones can come in this (may be there are different kinds in them?). Regards, Raju

  20. After Dhnushkodi was flodded, The idols of Rama with Sita, Lakshmanan & Hanuman were brought to Chennai & installed in a temple at Chromepet near MIT Campus. This temple is called Dhanushkodi Ramar Temple

  21. very nice mr.raju from ur visit to rameswaram. my thought whet to my earliar 1957] yearswhen iwas 10 yrs visited rameswaram and dhanus kodi i still remember danus kodi asmall town with schools houses,and a rail way station in which i travelled from pambanto dsanuskodi when i saw your pictures i9 feit happy and alo shed tears about present nlook of dhanuskodi
    thank you for ur photoa
    with regards to you your family
    pramilaramanan

  22. wish u could take me during ur next visit – so long as it is not a family visit
    regards
    nandakumar

  23. Dear Brother, A very informative one. Many kudos to you and your team
    Vijiseeni

  24. Sir,
    I had been to some of the places mentioned by you in May 2010 and it was nice to see the photographs again. I had been to the point from where the sand road starts but did not dare to go on the sand road. The sivalingapoojai described by you was done in the agnitheertham but looks like if we had opted for Dhanushkodi, it would have been much neat . I agree with you that our places of worship could be maintained better. Wish I could do something for that.
    Vidhyaa

  25. It is very good news and photos. Thanks for the Rju’s work. I have visited Rameswaram 5 times Dhanushkodi 1 time. Each my visit of the holly place a miracle feel by family members and we benefited and blessed by the God Ramanathan-Prvathavarthini. And I have performed Thila homa also in this holy place in 2010 for my 21 forefathers.

  26. wonderful mr raju
    iwas there both on last year april 1 and current year april 1 and saw many places u hv mentioned and now memory goes back allt he help for the visit was rendered by srigeri mutt and they were very cordial . i will begoing every year april 1 god willing and will visit the few imissed
    god giv you health and prosperity
    hare ram

  27. A very useful data to people like me, who wouldn’t have it
    at one go, particularly when one is interested to visit the
    above place and longing to see all the designated places.
    Thank you very much Sir. My great regards and best
    wishes to you and to your family members.

    Balasubramanian NR


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