Rameshwaram is of severe mythological importance, it may be scenically well endowed, but its true character is revealed in its collection of Lord Rama temples, each backed with a story from the epic Ramayana. Lord Rama camped here, worshipped here, solidified his plans of rescuing his wife Sita from demon king Ravana, sighed on having Sugreevās support whose monkey army built him a bridge of stepping stones (nullRam Setu) up to the Lankan coast, crossed-over to the other side, slain Ravana, returned with his wife, worshipped Lord Shiva to absolve from any sin he may have committed during this war, took a holy dip in the sea, and installed a sand Shivalingam which later became the greatly revered Ramanatha Swamy temple. Rameshwaram could be pilgrim-heavy, but there is still so much solitude, so much
greenery, and so many heart-wrenching stories of bravery from the Ramayana, and real life too. The drive on the Pamban Bridge over a flat blue sea will be a perfect prelude to your journey into the land of Lord Rama.>
You get a great variety of handcrafted souvenirs made of wood, seashells, beads and palm leaves. At the local market of Rameshwaram, you will come across such oddball artifacts and more. The shops lining opposite temple entrances are the best places to find exclusive wooden jewelry, seashell trinkets, silver idols and showpieces made of palm leaves and conch among other interesting finds. A popular shop from where you can pick up exclusive handcrafted souvenirs is Khadicraft; it also houses an array of Khadi kurtas, shirts and skirts. Donāt miss out to shop for a couple of Rameshwaram silk sarees; they come in beautiful shades with intricate patterns, some sport fabric design while the others threadwork. Walk the stretch from the beach of Agnitheertham to Ramanatha Swamy temple, it is
chock-a-block full with little kiosks hawking mirror souvenirs, seashell key chains, seashell earrings, neckpieces and fingerings to name a few.
Indian - Rameshwaram is not really the place for European or Oriental cuisine, sticking to regional delicacies here is a safer bet. The food here is flavored with a host of spices and condiments, though coconut and tamarind are added to almost all vegetarian recipes. Not to mention, most dishes are rustled up using coconut oil or coconut milk. Coconut chutney, sambar (nullseasoned lentil broth), rasam (nulla hot broth made of tamarind juice and pepper) and mixed spices are served with every meal to enhance the taste. A typical Tamilian meal comprises steamed rice, lentils, grains and vegetables. And if you are non-vegetarian, there is a great variety of Chettinad delicacies to choose from. Chettinad pepper chicken is an all-time favorite of the locals. You can even try out the Tamil
style of Mughlai cuisine, especially the biryanis and paya (nulla type of spiced broth generally eaten with paranthas or appam).
Typical South Indian breakfast is readily served and to perfection at most local restaurants. Popular breakfast options include idli (nullsteamed rice cakes), dosa (nulla pancake made from a batter of rice) and lentils crisp fried on a pan, vada (nulldeep fried doughnuts made from a batter of lentils), pongal (nulla mash of rice and lentils boiled together and seasoned with ghee, cashew nuts, pepper and cumin seed), yogurt and uppma (nullcooked semolina seasoned in oil with mustard, pepper, cumin seed and dry lentils). Any Tamil meal is incomplete without crisp papadam or appam!
The Ram Nivas restaurant serves Indian and Chinese cuisine; though the service is a tad slow, it is definitely worth the wait. It is close to the Ramanatha Swamy temple. The best part about eating out in Rameshwaram is the quick snacks fixed by the street vendors which could be anything from a wedge of juicy pineapple, tender pieces of coconut, fresh coconut nectar, to sliced cucumber sprinkled with salt, pepper and lime juice, or a platter of steaming idli with sambar and coconut chutney.
Take a stroll on the West Car Street, and make your pick from the array of restaurants the line it. Most of them serve an eclectic assortment of South Indian cuisine. The traditionally prepared thali is very popular here among foreign tourists. You can try out the TTDC Hotel Tamil Nadu which does a decent job of vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes particularly from the South. The hotel also has a well-stocked bar. Hotel Guru is a popular place on East Car Street to enjoy a hearty South Indian meal. Their thalis are most definitely worth a note.
Rameshwaram is a conch-shaped island town spread across 61.8 sq kilometers, with an average elevation of 32 foot (null meter). At the core of town is the iconic Ramanatha Swamy temple that takes up a major land area. The island is connected to mainland India at Mandapam by the Indira Gandhi or Pamban Bridge. Intriguing as it is, the sea at Rameshwaram is a flat blue with waves of a maximum height of 3 meters (null foot) making it look like a huge river from a distance. Hindu mythology has it that Lord Rama prayed to the sea god to let him pave a way to Sri Lanka where his wife, Sita was held captive by demon king, Ravana. Granting him his wish, the sea mellowed down so that he could build a bridge of stepping stones on it.
The climate of Rameshwaram is dry tropical with an average rainfall of 94cm, predominantly because of the Northeast monsoon between October and January. Temperature during the day is usually around 30 to 35 degree Celsius. The highest temperature recorded so far is 37 degree Celsius, and lowest 17 degree Celsius.
Straddling the Palk Strait, the Pamban or Indira Gandhi Bridge links the Rameshwaram island with mainland India. Covering about 2.3 kilometers, Pamban Bridge is touted as the second longest bridge in the country (nullafter the Bandra-Worli sea link), and an engineering marvel. Pamban Bridge actually refers to both the road and cantilever railway bridge. Opened for traffic in 1914, the railroad bridge doubles up as a double-leaf bascule bridge that can be raised to allow ships to pass from under. Originally, the bridge was for meter-gauge trains, but in 2007 Indian Railways upgraded the bridge to support broad-gauge trains on it.
Surface - You can drive into Rameshwaram or take the coach from Madurai. Or hire a taxi that charges you close to INR 5 per kilometer for a return trip from Madurai to Rameshwaram. The Andhra Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation (nullAPSRTC) also operates daily bus service on the Rameshwaram-Tirupati route.
Train - Rameshwaram is well-connected to major South Indian cities such as Chennai, Coimbatore, Karaikudi, Trichy, Thanjavur and Palaghat, via an extensive rail network.
Air - The airport closest to Rameshwaram is in Madurai, about 174 kilometers (null miles) away. Direct taxis are available from the airport to Rameshwaram.
Madurai has a domestic airport serviced by several domestic airlines including Jet Airways,
Indian Airlines, Kingfisher Red and Paramount Airways. The flights connect mainly to Chennai.
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