While the whole epic of Ramayana celebrates the birth of Lord Rama on a supposedly inauspicious Navami day, his childhood valor, his marriage to Sita Devi and his 14 year’s in the forest followed by His search of Goddess Sita and finally the epic battle of Lanka, very less is often said of the antagonist Ravana.
Sriman Narayana incarnated in the Thretha Yuga as Sri Ramachandramurthy and was born to King Dasharatha with three brothers, among whom Lakshmana is considered to be the sarpa rupa (the celestial snake) who always accompanies the Lord in all His incarnations and is upon whom the Lord is resting at Vaikunta. Brothers Bharatha & Shatrugna also have their important places in the epic Ramayana.
Ravana, however was a very learned scholar. He is said to be a great devotee of Lord Shiva who, mighty impressed by Ravana’s various penances has granted several boons. Like most people endowed with special skills and powers, Ravana too became arrogant over time. What triggered him the most was when his sister Soorpanaka was insulted by Lakshmana and to take revenge, Ravana kidnapped Sita Devi from the forest where she resided with Rama.
Lord Rama set-out on foot in search of Sita Devi and with the assistance of Lord Hanuman and the entire Vanara Sena (Monkey Army), decided to proceed to Lanka which was ruled by Ravana where Sita was kept hidden in captivity. After a protracted battle, Lord Rama killed Ravana and gave him Moksha after which Ravana’s brother King Vibhishana was ordained as the King of Lanka.
Although Ravana took the wrong approach, he was a devout Brahman. He is said to have mastered all the Vedas, knew all the 64 Life Skills, was a benevolent ruler of his Kingdom and an affable person too. Among the worst of all sins is to abuse a Brahman, as per the Vedas. So, when Lord Rama had to kill Ravana in the ensuing war, he had no choice but to do the pariharas which, he is said to have performed at this temple after praying to Lord Shiva who is considered to be the most merciful of all Gods and grants any wish that His devotee seeks with fullest devotion. Lest, he would be cursed with Brahma-Hatti Dosha (killing a Brahmin).
So, why would the Lord, who is the creator of this Universe, the one who looks after everything ever created in this world need to do all this? Well, it is for us mortals to know how to deal with unsavory things in life which we end up doing. His acts are nothing but directions the celestial way. In our day today life, knowingly and sometime unknowlingly we commit various sins and these guidances are His way to show how to seek pardon for our mistakes. Hence the set of guidelines laid down by the Lord Himself.
One is expected to take a dip in the sea early morning (in empty stomach) followed by a dip in all the 20 wells within the Temple precincts one after the other in a particular sequence. Although the wells are deep within the ground and so close to the sea, the water is not salty which is a miracle unfounded till date. After completing the holy shower, one should dry themselves, change clothes and then seek the blessings of Lord Shiva who is said to absolve one’s lifetime sins. It is preferable to take the guidance of the temple priests who help perform the rituals of taking the holy dip. Food must be consumed preferably only after the rituals are fully completed.
6am to 12.30pm; 4.30pm – 8.30pm
How to reach:
Rameswaram Railway Station (3 kms)
Madurai Railway Station (140 kms)
Rameswaram Bus Terminus (1 km)
There are plenty of buses that ply from all over Tamil Nadu. The closest city with multi-modal connectivity is Madurai.
Madurai Airport (160 kms)
Rameswaram is actually an island off the mainland of India. While driving towards the town, one has to cross the Sea through the eponymous Pamban Bridge. There are parallel bridges for road users and trains. The road is narrow, be design. Once can view the train passing by the bridge from the road (bridge) although selfies can be life-threatening with vehicles of all shapes and sizes passing by at great speeds.
There are road from three main directions entering into Rameswaram – one from Trichy in the North, Madurai in the West and Tuticorin in the South. All these three roads join the road towards Rameswaram and then it is just one straight for about 20 kms all the way up to the temple precincts.
Dhanushkodi, the last village of India is located about 16 kms from Rameswaram. The once popular trading hub was washed away during the 1964 Tsunami which saw the city losing all it’s sheen and no one ever dared to live there, ever after. The road leading to Dhanushkodi is scenic with ocean on both sides and terminating at the tip where the ocean can be experiences in its full glory. Private vehicles can go all the way till the “Land’s End” and one can have a great time there.