Monday, April 18, 2011

Trip to Rameswaram

       Its been more than a year or so, I am in Chennai but if you ask about the geography of Chennai, I am a big zero as I am a pure workaholic and office-home-Office is my yearly routine apart from weekend visit with my personal guide-cum-wife. From the day one when I have relocated to Chennai she has been a great guide & knowledge bank. From Searching a home in a particular location to book call taxi’s she handles everything like “Makkhaan”. It may not be a big deal for others but for me when she does all this with her Tamil skills quite easily.
Everything was all fine but when the news came that my in-laws are going to visit me I was bit worried and I looked to my guide to help me in handling them as far as site seeing is concerned. And as always she nodded her head. Ultimately we planned to visit one of the Char-dhams in Hinduism, Rameswaram which is near to Chennai as compared to other three and it was the right choice for spending time. But neither my personal guide nor me knew how to go there and where to start, hence we banged on internet to gather information. As it was March and the hot humid Chennai climate did not allow me to go via bus or in any mode in day time. Hence I choose train in the evening to reach Rameswaram & got the train number – 16713 , Egmore – Rameswaram Exp departure at 5.25 from Tambram railway station. The coincidence was that we booked the tickets on 30th march 2011, the day when INDIA was playing Pakistan in Mohali for a place in the ICC cricket World cup final to meet Srilanka. I did not want to miss the match but nothing could be done. It was a working day & hence i had to leave office early to catch the train.

Our Train was late by half an hour & we boarded it around 6 pm. As the big match was scheduled on the same day the train was not much crowded and we had comfort relaxing in the train too. The evening wind by the sea was tempting me to take a nap & I enjoyed it before I had to have tomato rice in dinner. As climate in southern India is too hot & humid for people traveling from northern part of India I would suggest to take rest in Chennai and then start the journey by this train. It takes the overnight journey & will land you in Rameswaram early morning at 5 am.). Please take a note that the train does not have a pantry car in it hence its better to carry your dinner if you don’t want to have Tomato rice/lemon Rice in the night. Early morning at 3 the train reached Ramanathapuram (the end point in the mainland India & at two hour’s distance from the island town of Rameswaram). 60 % o the passengers got off there and I was afraid if it’s the same place where I need to get down as all others were in deep sleep. This made me to witness the famous Pamban Bridge built in 1912 by the then British Govt ruling in India which is of 2.3 kilometers and is the second longest sea bridge after Bandra-Worli sea link. the train was running very slow on the bridge giving me a close look of the water and the smell of dried fish just got me woke up.

Finally we reached Rameswaram at around 5.30 am in the morning and as planned hired an auto to “GOSWAMI MADAM” the well accessible and cost effective & comfortable accommodation. The Autowala charged us Rs 50/- for 4 of us to the hotel and in 10 minute we reached our destination. “Goswami Madam” being a charitable trust run by a matt headed by adiguru Shankaracharya is well maintained and well run by the mission which runs several Schools, hospitals and many such amenities in & outside the stat of Tamilnadu.
After reaching Rameswaram station you can ask the autowala to take you to Goswamy madam and a comfortable stay in Goswami Madam can be booked @ Goswamy Madam, Pease contact the hotel directly.( 04573-221108, 222419) & a early booking from Chennai one day before the stay is advisable.

Goswami Madam ( 04573-221108, 222419)

After we are done with the daily first jobs (Number 1 & 2) & bath we got ready for Darshan of lard Rameswaram ( Ramasya Ishwaram = Rameswaram). You should not directly go to temple. Following the procedure one needs take a dip in the sea and in the wet cloths one needs to get inside the temple where there are 22 sacred “Kunda” where one has to take bath( No one is allowed to go inside, there are people appointed to pour water on the devotees by pulling water from the sacred Kunda in a tub tied to a rope.) . the sacred Kunda are known for their medicinal purpose and the epics in Purana’s. The kunda’s are numbers from 1 to 22 and one has to go from 1 to 22 in a row as directed by arrows in the wall. I suggest to go directly to the seashore to get a dip and there are temple representatives present there who will be offering their service to dip water on you from the 22 kunda’s and they will guide you and describe you the sacred places with their importance as well. For the first timers for a thorough darshan and understanding I will recommend to go for this. The guy will charge 5 Rs per kunda per head and 25 Rs per head will go the temple trust for entry into the temple. These people are honest people, will describe the importance in Hindi or Tamil as you want and will guide you through the temple & will show you the linga’s in detail inside the temple.

  1. Lakṣmī Tīrtham Inside Rāmanāthasvāmī Temple
  2. Chakra Tīrtham Inside Rāmanāthasvāmī Temple
  3. Śiva Tīrtham Inside Rāmanāthasvāmī Temple
  4. Śaṅkha Tīrtham Inside Rāmanāthasvāmī Temple
  5. Yamunā Tīrtham Inside Rāmanāthasvāmī Temple
  6. Gaṅgā Tīrtham Inside Rāmanāthasvāmī Temple
  7. Gayā Tīrtham Inside Rāmanāthasvāmī Temple
  8. Koṭi Tīrtham Inside Rāmanāthasvāmī Temple
  9. Sādhyāmṛta Tīrtham Inside Rāmanāthasvāmī Temple
  10. Sarva Tīrtham Inside Rāmanāthasvāmī Temple
  11. Candra Tīrtham Inside Rāmanāthasvāmī Temple
  12. Sūrya Tīrtham Inside Rāmanāthasvāmī Temple
  13. Brahmahatti Vimochana Tīrtham Inside Rāmanāthasvāmī Temple
  14. Mādhava Tīrtham Inside Rāmanāthasvāmī Temple
  15. Nala Tīrtham Inside Rāmanāthasvāmī Temple
  16. Nīla Tīrtham Inside Rāmanāthasvāmī Temple
  17. Gavaya Tīrtham Inside Rāmanāthasvāmī Temple
  18. Gavākṣa Tīrtham Inside Rāmanāthasvāmī Temple
  19. Gandhamādana Tīrtham Inside Rāmanāthasvāmī Temple
  20. Sāvitrī Tīrtham Inside Rāmanāthasvāmī Temple
  21. Sarasvatī Tīrtham Inside Rāmanāthasvāmī Temple
  22. Gayatri Tīrtham Inside Rāmanāthasvāmī Temple
Once the devotee is done with all the tirthas are done, he has to change cloths and get into the main temple to get darshan of the ancient shrines. 

The ancient epics says that Lord Rama ( Son of Raja Dasaratha) of Ayodhya when in search of his wife, Devi Sita came to know that the demon king Ravana has abducted her and kept her in his custody in Lanka ( Now Srilanka) he was upset and determined to bring her back he performed puja and prayed lord Shiva for victory. As it’s the sea which he had to cross he first requested the Sea god to give him way but he denied but instead gave an idea to build a bridge on the sea & the idea was NALA & NILA the apes who were so cursed that whatever they will throw in water will float. Then Lord Rama with the help of the ape army built the bridge to Lanka. in war the demon king Ravana was killed by lord Rama after which Rama along with Sita came back to Rameswaram. On reaching Rameswaram lord Rama got worried & thought a way to get rid of the sin of Brahma-hatya (Killing of a Brahmin – Ravana). Prompted by Narada he decided to worship lord Shiva and ordered Hanuman to bring lingam from Kailash hill. But Hanuman was too late & as the auspicious time Rama started worshiping the sand built lingam by Sita. On the other side being confused Hanuman brought two lingams available & on reaching he saw Rama worshiping the sand built lingam and was upset. Then Rama asked him to put the lingams besides the sand lingam & worshiped all of them. Satisfied with lord Rama’s puja lord Shiva appeared along with Parvati & made Rama free from the sin of Brahmahatya. On request lord shiva promised to be present always there as a jyortirlingam & whosoever worships the lingam will get rid of all sins. As the lingam was there because of the will of Rama its called Rameswaram ( Rama-sy-Ishwaram = Rameswaram). (Request correction for better understanding) 

       You are requested to ask your guide inside the temple to describe & show you the temple in details along with the 22 kundas & the lingams & other deities. After you are done with the darshan please don’t forget to take a glimpse of the world’s largest corridor having 1212 pillars in total in all directions. Photography is not allowed in the temple but the corridor you can take a picture ; in fact your guide can take a picture of you all for a witness. Inside the temple the guide will show you the single store huge Nandi facing the sand lingam, the other two lingams brought by Hanuman,devi Parvati temple, Panchamukhi Hanumana temple, Sakhi Gopal, sahasra lingan ( 1000 lingam on one lingam) & other parswa devatas. 

The temple premises are so calm 7 quite unlike other places that you will love to spend good time there offering pujas & chanting “Om Namha Shivay”. After the holy darshan, by 10.30 my moti felt so hungry that instead of planning site seeing entered into the nearest hotel for breakfast & as it was her birthday, anything for her was the rule on that day. After having breakfast we called the autowala for a site seeing & in the meantime the autowala could reach us we waited for him at the seashore & took some good pictures again. The autowala charged us mere Rs 300 for 10 sites including Ramarpadam (foot print of Lord Rama), Hanumana kundam,Lakshman kundam & 10 other places. The site seeing was comfortable & good and the place is very calm & quite. There is no constraint of language in the island place and people are honest & fair. People everywhere were found supportive and helping in nature. Climate in March was little humid but manageable with the sea wind giving great relief. People from every part of India were there in the temple and even the priests were explaining in different languages. One thing that won my heart is the simplicity of the place 7 hassle free darshan at the holy shrine as compared to all other pilgrimages. I loved the place & will visit after a special occasion. Rameswaram is a holy place with natural surroundings, friendly people and with a heavenly atmosphere. Its well maintained with no plastic bags and with ample amenities for people coming from outside. Being one of the 4 dhams ( Badrinath, Dwarka, Jagannath Puri, Rameswaram) it’s a shaiva peeth and lord shiva from the heavenly temple showers blessings on the entire humanity.

Om namha Shivay...


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Srirangam Perumal.

I have always been inclined towards the spiritual and cultural heritage of Tamilnadu and the great and magnificent temple architecture and I...