A Jyotirlinga shrine with the world’s longest temple corridor, a ghost town silently watching nature’s playful activities, wild sea waves that turn calm bowing down to divinity and footprints of Gods’ human avatars – places to visit in Rameshwaram truly adhere to visitors’ craving for respite and revival.
Places to visit in Rameshwaram
Located on the conch-shaped Pamban Island and connected to mainland pieces via mythological bridges and superior engineering marvels, Rameshwaram happens to be the ideal pilgrimage destination that rose to fame with the arrival of Ramayana’s characters thousands of years ago. Before beginning a spiritual expedition, check out the must-visit Rameshwaram tourist places that would create one of the most exclusive travel experiences of your life.
Following are the must visit places to visit in Rameshwaram :
1. Ramanathaswamy Temple
Undoubtedly the foremost among the places to visit in Rameshwaram, it house the Ramanathaswamy Lingam made by Sita using beach sand. Counted among the 12 Jyotirlingas of Lord Shiva and one of the 4 prime Hindu pilgrimage destinations, it was here that Lord Rama worshipped Shiva to get rid of killing Ravana, a Brahmin by birth. It’s mesmerizing Dravidian Architecture with rising temple towers, long corridors and intricate pillar and ceiling decorations matches its immense religious significance. Begin the Rameshwaram tourist places list with the blessings of Lord Shiva who promised to stay at this place till eternity.
Temple Timings : Temple timings are 05:00 a.m. to 01:00 p.m. and 03:00-09:00 p.m.
Entrance Fee : You may need to pay INR10/50 for darshan in general/special queue.
Special Travel Tip: Don’t miss ‘Mani Darshan’ between 05:00-06:00 a.m.This darshan of Sphatic lingam is availabile only for one hour in the morning.
2. Agni Theertham
The calm and holy beach near Ramanathaswamy Temple is among the 64 sacred theerthams (water bodies for taking a holy dip) and the best places to visit in Rameshwaram. Hundreds of pilgrims visit here to wash off their sins and sorrows every single day. Devout Hindus believe that God Agni (fire) bathed here to get rid of the sin of testing the chastity and piousness of Sita after she was freed from the imprisonment of demon Ravana. Pilgrims consider it auspicious to perform rituals for their dead family members and elderly. People believe that Childless couples who take bath here receive a blessing from Lord Shiva for parenthood.
Timings: Open 24 X 7 for visitors.However, people generally reach Agniteeratham in the early morning hours between 5:00 am to 06:00 am after Mani Darshanam.
Special Travel Tip : You may collect sacred sand from the beach (hire a priest; cost between INR 25-100) that must be immersed in River Ganga at Allahabad or Varanasi, the popular pilgrimage destinations in North India.
Among the top places to visit near Rameshwaram is the ghost town of Dhanushkodi that met its unfortunate fate during 1964 cyclones. As per Hindu mythology, Lord Rama pointed his Dhanush (bow) from this place to mark the direction in which the stone bridge was constructed by the monkey army to reach Lanka.
Although due to security reasons, you might not be allowed to visit the town’s ruins, you can feel the charm of the place where land ends and the Bay of Bengal meets the Indian Ocean. Marvelous sunrise and sunset views make it a favorite among the places to visit in Rameshwaram.
Timings : Between sunrise and sunset.
Entrance Fee : There is no entrance fee for going to Dhanushkodi.
How to reach Dhanushkodi? Regular vehicles (including cars, autos, and two-wheelers) fail to access the place. You must hire jeeps or 4WDs (INR 1,200-1,300 per vehicle) or ride a mini truck (INR 150 per person) to reach the place.
4. Mount Gandhamadhana
Also called Gandhamadana Parvatham, it is the highest point of the island from which Lord Hanuman is believed to have begun his aerial journey to Lanka in search of Sita. The highlight of the place is Ramjharokha Temple which houses a chakra with footprints of Lord Rama imprinted on it. No wonder it is among the top-rated places to visit in Rameshwaram. You would also get fabulous views of landscapes and tourist places in Rameshwaram from the hilltop.
The place is just about 3 km. from the main temple.
Timings : Between sunrise and sunset.
Entrance Fee : There is no entrance fee for going to Mount Gandhamadhana.
5. Adam’s Bridge
You must have been peculiar about Adam’s Bridge or Rama Setu after watching Rameshwaram tourist places photos online. It’s believed to be the same mythological bridge of floating stones that monkey army of Lord Rama built to reach Lanka where Ravana confined Sita in his palace. Starting from the tip of Dhanushkodi, it now exists as a chain of limestone shoals and coral reefs and is indeed a fascinating place to be at.
6. Lakshmana Theertham
The holy pond surrounding an aesthetically beautiful temple is the place where Lakshmana, Rama’s brother’ established a Shiva Lingam and prayed to Lord Shiva for absolution for sins during the war with Ravana. If you plan to explore places to visit in Rameshwaram in one day, start with this place as it’s considered auspicious to take the bath in the pond. During the month of December/January, the very entertaining Theppotsavam (Float Festival) is held here, hosting the incredible floating car procession.
7. Ariyaman Beach
Less-crowded with transparent waters and soothing calmness, this beautiful 2km.-long beach stretch is ideal for relishing the tranquil environment of Rameshwaram. Once you are done with the temples and religious places to visit in Rameshwaram, spend some great moments swimming at the beach dotted with casuarina trees. Boating (INR 60/person for about 15 min.) as well as sports like parasailing, surfing, and water scooter rides too can be enjoyed here. Museum, aquarium and children’s park are other attractions.
8. Panchmukhi Hanuman Temple
No list of places to see in Rameshwaram is complete without visiting this temple dedicated to Lord Hanuman. The black idol of Hanuman in his five-face form is indeed a sight to behold. According to the legend, Hanuman adopted this form to simultaneously extinguish five lamps burning in different directions as it was the only trick to kill Ravana’s demon brother Ahiravana. Another highlight of the temple is the floating stones that are believed to be a part of Adam’s Bridge formed by monkey warriors.
9. Pamban Bridge
Also called Annai Indira Gandhi Road Bridge, it was India’s first sea bridge when constructed in 1914 and is also the country’s second longest sea bridge. Exemplifying the great engineering excellence, it also offers stunning views of the parallel-running railway bridge especially when a train passes over. One may also click spectacular pictures of blue water glittering in the dark during evening from the bridge. Watching ships passing by and fishermen looking for decent catch are other wonderful sights to enjoy. Include it in the list of places to visit in Rameshwaram of you visit the island by train.
10. Water Bird Sanctuary
If you are visiting Rameshwaram in the months from October to January, Water Bird Sanctuary is just not worth missing among the tourist places near Rameshwaram. Birds like waders, ibis, storks, pelicans, egrets and herons throng the region from their native places in Australia and Europe and turn it into a birding paradise. Open between 07:00 a.m. and 06:00 p.m., the sanctuary offers a break from the religious landscape of the island.
11. Uthirakosa Mangai Temple
Among the lesser-known Rameshwaram nearby tourist places is this 3000-years old Shiva Temple featuring a 5.5 ft. high statue of Nataraja (dancing Shiva). Made of maragatha (emerald), this beautiful idol remains covered with sandal paste all the time. You may also visit the nearby temple of Sahastralingam, where 1,000 Lingams are believed to rest at.
Other Rameshwaram sightseeing places like the remaining theerthams and many other temples can be visited if time allows. It is a good idea to plan a guided tour with an expert tour operator like WaytoIndia is you wish to cover all top visiting places in Rameshwaram. Apart from the best places to visit in Rameshwaram, take out time to visit the local markets and buy religious souvenirs and other interesting items.
Read all about the most important places to visit in Rameshwaram and plan your Rameshwaram tour package.