3 Historical Places You Must Visit in Rameshwaram
The island of Rameshwaram was mentioned as early as the 7th – 8th century in Tevaram, but the island was under the control of Cholas as far as the 1st century CE. It was considered a transit place for traders and pilgrims visiting Sri Lanka or India. Although the Ramanathaswamy Temple was built in the 12th century, it was mentioned by Adi Sankaracharya as far back as 700 CE. But the temple isn’t the only reason you must visit. Here are five historical places in Rameshwaram you mustn’t miss:
Dhanushkodi was a bustling and prosperous town with a temple, church, post office, and railway station. It was once considered one of the country’s richest fishing belts, providing livelihood to thousands of people. Legend has it that it was in Dhanushkodi that Lord Rama pointed with the tip of his bow as the place to build the bridge to reach Sri Lanka. Until 1964 when a cyclone ravaged the town, there were multiple ferry services between Dhanushkodi and Talaimannar, transporting goods and people. There was also a train service called Boat Mail from Madras to Dhanushkodi, where a steamer waited to transport passengers to Sri Lanka.
Dhanushkodi is one of the most famous historical places in Rameshwaram and a visual treat, offering a glimpse of the vast ocean. Today, the place is inhabited only by a few fisherfolks who also cater to the tourists visiting the deserted island. Besides relaxing by the beach, you can see this island’s deserted homes and churches.
2. Ram Setu
Ram Setu, or Adam’s Bridge, is a historically and mythologically significant place. It also has great geographical significance thanks to the limestone rocks and coral reefs around Ram Setu. Some geologists believe there could have been a land connection between India and Sri Lanka, and the bridge could be the remains of the land route. The Setu holds significance for Hindus and Muslims – with Hindus believing that Nala built the bridge to transport Rama and his army to Sri Lanka to rescue Sita. Muslims believe that Adam crossed the bridge from Adam’s Peak.
The bridge is a chain of natural limestone shoals that were walkable into the 15th century. There’s also an argument about the bridge’s age – while some believe the bridge is 7000 years old and the sandbar around the bridge is believed to be over 4000 years old. You can visit Ram Sethu by van from Dhanuskodi to witness the floating stones and walk on the bridge for a few km until the bridge disappears into the sea.
3. Dr. Kalam Memorial
The Abdul Kalam Memorial in Pei Karumbu is dedicated to the memory of India’s most loved President and technologist. Dr. Kalam, also called the Missle Man of India, was born in Rameshwaram to devout Muslim parents who inspired him to become an exemplary human being. The Defense Research and Development Organization, where Dr. Kalam spent a significant part of his service, built this memorial at the cost of Rs. 120 crores in just 9 months. The government initially wanted to build the memorial in New Delhi but later gave in to a request from his family members, who claimed it would be contrary to the wishes of Dr. Kalam.
The building is an apt representation of Dr. Kalam’s belief in interfaith harmony –a fine blend of Indian and Mughal architecture. While the entrance resembles India Gate and is built using a Chettinad door, the main dome is inspired by the Rashtrapati Bhavan building. The stones used to construct the memorial are obtained from West India, while other materials are obtained from all over the country.