The Pamban bridge, Rameshwaram

Rameshwaram Island – A Day Trip Guide

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When there were flood alerts during the peak monsoon seasons in the states of Kerala and Karnataka, our eyes moved to the state of Tamil Nadu. Rameshwaram Island or Pamban Island is the hometown of our former president Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam. Ever since we got to meet Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam during a college meeting, we have been curious about visiting his hometown someday. Also, we wanted to know more about the ghost town of Dhanushkodi. An impromptu trip to Rameshwaram, Dhanushkodi, and Kanyakumari turned out to be one of the best trips ever.

Rameshwaram is commonly known for the Ramanatha Swamy temple, but beyond the gloriously constructed temple, there are so many places to sate your traveler’s expectations. This blog will guide you to all the places you should visit and the exciting things to participate in to ensure your trip to Rameshwaram is one you will never forget.

Rameshwaram Travel Guide

Best Time To Visit

Water sports activities - boating and swimming

Although Rameshwaram can be visited all year round, the best time to visit the island would be in the winter months from September to February. The summer is scorching and makes it very undesirable to explore.

Languages Spoken

The regional language of Tamil is extensively spoken. Very few people can converse in English and Hindi.

Network Availability

Airtel, Jio, and BSNL have good and reliable internet connectivity. However, the network is quite spotty and absent when you visit Dhanushkodi.

ATM Availability

There are numerous ATMs littered at several spots in the city.

How To Reach?

By Air

Rameshwaram is not well connected to the airways. The nearest airport located is Madurai Airport (Airport Code: IXM, 197 Km). From Madurai, frequent buses and trains are available to reach Rameshwaram.

By Train

The most economical way of transportation to reach the city is by boarding a train. The Rameshwaram Railway Station (Station Code: RMM, 1 Km) the nearest railway station has good connectivity to various nearby cities. From here you can hire tuk-tuks or taxis on a per-day basis for sightseeing in several tourist spots.

By choosing trains, you also get the experience of crossing the iconic Pamban bridge.

By Road

Rameshwaram is well connected by roadways. Direct government and private buses are available from Madurai and different cities across India.

To Roam Around Rameshwaram

Using shared transport, tuk-tuk, taxi, or van will cost you somewhere between Rs. 500 and Rs. 2500. The fare is based on the demand of that day for sightseeing hotspots in Rameshwaram including Dhanushkodi. This would be a great place for you to put your bargaining skills to the test. 

Very few two-wheeler rental services are available in the city. Using your personal transport would save you money for exploring places in the city.

Note: Ola and Uber’s taxi services are not available.

Where To Stay?

Good hotels and accommodation are available that start as low as Rs.500. Both AC and non-AC lodges are available near the temple premises.

There aren’t many hotels listed online. However, the offline lodges are fully booked throughout the weekends and public holidays. It is better to call and confirm your booking before your arrival. Here are a few recommendations.

 

Where To Eat?

There are numerous good restaurants available in the city. Most of them in the region serve authentic Tamil Nadu-style South-Indian cuisine.

Note: Online food delivery services like Swiggy and Zomato are not available in Rameshwaram.

Places To Visit In Rameshwaram

Agni Theertham

The first stop you need to take after stepping into your hotel is to watch the sunrise at Agni Theertham, located off the beach East of the temple. Although it is optional to bathe, it is a holy ritual for the devotees to take a dip in the river before entering the Rameshwaram temple. Situated near the temple, a jetty service is also available every half an hour. Here you can opt for a quick boat ride in the waters.

  • Timings: 6 AM – 6 PM
  • Changing rooms: Not Available
  • Parking: Available
  • Restrooms: Not Available

Ramanatha Swamy Temple

Rameshwaram Temple

The very old and famous Ramanatha Swamy Temple or Rameshwaram Temple was constructed between the 12th and 19th centuries. Myth has it that the Hindu God Lord Rama worshiped Lord Shiva here to get rid of his sins. It is home to one of the 12 Jyotirlingas of Lord Shiva.

After bathing in the Agni Theertham, people bathe at each of the 22 wells which have significant value for each bath. After bathing, you are not allowed inside the temple. Your clothes should be dry or you have to change them before the darshan.

  • Timings: 5 AM – 1 PM, 3 PM – 9 PM.
  • Holy bath charges: Rs. 25 per person
  • Guide charges: A guide is not mandatory. But they usually charge Rs. 100 or 200 per person. If crowded, they also offer quick service.
  • Duration: A minimum of 1 Hour is required for bathing, darshan, and pooja. It might take more time during the weekends and public holidays.

Note: Mobile phones and cameras are not allowed inside the temple. It is better to keep it in your place of stay.

Although there are 22 ‘theerthas’ that can be found inside the temple premises. Other important ‘theertham’ like ‘Lakshmana theertham,’ ‘Jada theertham,’ ‘Villondi theertham,’ etc. can be found in different locations at Rameshwaram.

Panchamukhi Anchaneyar Temple

About 2 Km away from the Ramanatha Swamy temple, the 5-faced Hanuman temple can be found. Lord Hanuman’s five faces depict the faces of Lord Narasimha, Lord Adivaraha, Lord Garuda, and Lord Hayagriva on either side.

Another major attraction to the site is the floating stones that are kept inside the temple premises. Myth has it that these floating stones were said to be used for building the ‘Ram Setu,’ a bridge that was constructed in the middle of the Ocean to bring back Sita from Sri Lanka after she was kidnapped by the demon king Ravana.

  • Timings: 5 AM – 1 PM, 3 PM – 9 PM.
  • Entry Fee: Free

Tip: You can also find the floating stones inside the Dhanushkodi temple.

Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam Memorial

Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam Memorial, Rameshwaram

Constructed as a tribute to Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam, the memorial was designed and constructed by the DRDO (Defense Research and Development Organization). Despite the numerous mentions from the school books to pop culture media, like the movie Rocketry (2022), no words can describe how much Dr. Kalam has contributed to the Indian Space Science program. He remains the most honorable yet humble human who always reflected simplicity and kindness. He was born and raised in Rameshwaram, and he rose to become an irreplaceable jewel of India. 

He has been justly honored with many titles. “Missile Man of India” and the “People’s President”, are just a few that are proof of his unblemished service to the country as the president of India between 2002 and 2007. After his unexpected demise due to cardiac arrest in the year 2015, his ‘samadhi’ (burial place) is preserved at this memorial among his belongings, achievements, old photographs, quotes, and much more.

A 45-foot-tall replica of the Agni missile with a theme of “unity in diversity” is also displayed at this memorial. This place is proof that despite numerous circumstances, and regardless of place of birth, with fortitude, hard work, and irreproachable character, anyone can reach great heights. While there will never be any monument that does justice to the greatness of Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam’s life and achievements, this place comes close to honoring the man he was by continuing to inspire young minds who visit this place every day. 

You can read more about him here or read his book, “Wings of Fire”.

  • Entry Fee: Free
  • Timings: 9 AM – 5 PM
  • Restrooms: Neat and sanitary restrooms are available
  • Parking: Available

Note: Mobile phones are not allowed. Footwear has to be removed and stored safely in the designated area before you enter this place.

Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam’s House

Dr. APJ Abul Kalam's House, Rameshwaram

Dr. Kalam’s house is a place where one can glean insights into his formative years. His childhood home is now converted into a museum and we highly encourage you to visit his house. Prestigious awards including the Bharat Ratna, India’s highest civilian award are showcased here. The first time we ever saw such honorable awards in person was at this place. There is also a souvenir shop on the second floor.

  • Entry Fee: Free
  • Timings: Everyday 8 AM – 7 PM
  • Restrooms: Not Available
  • Parking: Very limited space

Note: Footwear needs to be removed before entering the house.

Dhanushkodi

When you visit Rameshwaram, ensure you do not miss the deserted ghost town of Dhanushkodi. Get to know its history – what happened to a once prosperous place and why it has been reduced to its current decrepit state. Visiting Dhanushkodi takes you to the south-eastern tip of Tamil Nadu – the Arichal Munai. Here you can read about the best possible way to reach Danushkodi from Rameshwaram. 

Ramar Patham

Ramar Padam is another pilgrimage site where Lord Rama is believed to have set his footprints in the place. You can find Ram Kund on your way to the Ramar Padam.

A few Km away, you can also see the tallest free-standing Doordarshan TV tower which was built in 1995 for television broadcasting and is still in use.

  • Entry Fee: Free
  • Timings: Everyday 6 AM – 9 PM
  • Restrooms: Not Available
  • Parking: Available

The Pamban Bridge

View from the Pamban road bridge
View from the Pamban Bridge

You can pleasantly end your day by watching the sunset from the Pamban road bridge overlooking the railway bridge and the island. The Pamban bridge connects Rameshwaram with mainland India and it is India’s first sea bridge and the 2nd longest sea bridge after the Bandra-Worli sea link. 

Opened on 24 February 1914, this unconventional bridge resting on concrete pillars has a double-leaf bascule section midway which can be raised to let ships and barges pass through. It is a rare sight and worth marveling at the engineering genius that becomes apparent when you watch ships and trains slowly crossing the bridge.

Water Sports & Activities

Surrounded by water on all sides, it is no surprise that water sports are popular in the city. Located near the temple, Holy Island Water Sports conducts activities like scuba diving, snorkeling, kayaking, and jet skiing. If water sports are too exciting, you can always enjoy the quiet tranquility that the pristine blue waters of the island provide. 

You can also go boating and swim in the pristine blue waters of Rameshwaram.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Rameshwaram an island?

Yes, Rameshwaram is an island surrounded by water on all 4 sides. It is connected to mainland Tamil Nadu by the Pamban railway and road bridge.

Are jeans allowed in Rameshwaram temple?

Although there are no dress codes, it is best to wear modest clothes covering your shoulders and knees inside the temple premises. You can find out more about the dressing tips and common etiquette you should follow when you visit any holy place.

Is one day enough to visit Rameshwaram?

You can cover all the tourist places in Rameshwaram (including Danushkodi) in a day as the places are located nearby.

Which train passes through the Pamban bridge?

Any train that reaches Rameshwaram will have to cross the Pamban bridge. There are frequent direct trains from Madurai, Tiruchirapalli, and Chennai that cross the Pamban bridge.

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