18 August 2008

Rameshwaram - a letter digitised

Yes.. I write letters, not e-mails but letters.

In one of the letters written to a friend, I had explained my journey to Rameshwaram and the feel of being there. I digitised the same to present here. Read it as follows.

Trip was fantastic :-).

We visited the very tip of India from where Srilanka was at just about 13miles distance. Here, at Dhanushkoti, the actual Ramasetu starts, and also it is here that the Indian Ocean grabs Bay of Bengal in its strife!

Another beach we visited, which doesn’t have waves at all. Obviously, this must be the safest beach in India which looked like a river with salty water. The Bay of Bengal is silent only at this place, which is gigantic elsewhere. The sand here is of unique black colour, that you won’t find anywhere else across the globe. This strange phenomenon is attributed to Rama’s anger against the King of Sea who did not help Rama initially, but later he succumbed when Rama threatened to dry him off. Thus the sea became silent and the sand got its colour as a representation of anger of Rama. Quiet mysterious and belief has no bounds.

Rameshwaram is a small island connected to Dhanushkoti by land. Initially they had a railway connection between these two villages and a shipyard situated at Dhanushkoti from where local ships used to ply between India and Srilanka! And in 1965, a great cyclone swept the whole village of Dhanushkoti. The rail bearings stand as a testimony to the ‘gata vaibhava’ of this place. At that juncture, people from Dhanushkoti moved to Rameshwaram, I mean whoever survived. Today, a gory town of Dhanushkoti with fallen churches, dharmashalas, railway stations and houses, stands affirm. Half the town is buried in the sand that swept it then. A few fishermen still make a living here, and they are not bothered about the visitors who come there. It is said that the Srilankan refugees and drug peddlers, smugglers from the island nation land in India here, stealthily and without anyone stopping them. Crime starts after it is dark. A jeep ride on the sands is a fantastic thing to experience here!

After 1965, people realized they can not rely on the ships to reach Rameshwaram and then they built a railway bridge across the Sea, to Rameshwaram. Eventually, a drivable road was constructed as well. So, the experience of driving on a bridge with water surrounding you is again a uniqueness of Rameshwaram, at least in the Indian context. The railway bridge is named Pamban Bridge, named after a neighbouring village. Specialty of this bridge is, it used to act like a gateway for the ships to cross this part of sea in that era. I mean, the bridge has a gate that used to be opened so as the ships passed thru and closed when the trains would pass! Anyways, now, no ship passes here, so, the bridge is an antique piece that is used only as a train bridge. One can experience this bridge today by taking this fantastic drive from Madurai.

The religious Importance of Rameshwaram is visible in every turn and corner of the place. This has a huge temple with the longest corridor in the world. That corridor makes an amazing 1.3KMs walk in total. The temple complex has 22 sacred wells; those get the water generated as much you remove it from. Each pilgrim goes around the temple and bathes in each of these 22 wells. An extraordinary phenomenon that is unique only to Rameshwaram. The water in each of these wells tastes different and most of the times sweet, though these are situated barely 100 meters away from the sea!

The main deity, Ramanatha Linga, is made of sand, but that has become rock solid. Each and every day hundreds of pilgrims get Ganges water from Kashi and does the abhisheka to this linga. Tough it is sand made it sustains the abhisheka and stays intact, even after ages of existence!


Arni. Vani said...

Very differently and well written "post"! Keep it up.

Vivek M said...

Srik, nice letter! I am glad people still do the letter-writing, emails are never quite the same.

ರಾಜೇಶ್ ನಾಯ್ಕ said...

can't believe it! letters?!!!!
you deserve a 'shabhash'. Good post.

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