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Things To Do In Rameshwaram
Apart from being a pilgrimage centre, Rameshwaram has more significant touristy things that visitors can treat themselves to. When you have visited the temples and bathed in the holy Thirthas, its time for you to revel in the tiny surprises this little town has in store. Visit the beaches, indulge in water adventures or go exploring into the Ghost Town, at the tail of the Indian subcontinent. Go shopping for trinkets or collect sea shells. We will tell you about the things you can do in Rameshwaram, the finest things to buy, the food that is so special in that region and their festivals, of which there are aplenty.
Visit Rama Sethu
Rama Sethu or Adam’s Bridge is a manmade bridge of limestone shoals that winds its way from Dhanushkoti in Rameshwaram Island to the Mannar Island of Sri Lanka. Till the 15th century the bridge was above the sea and people could walk on it, till a cyclone of 1480 flooded the bridge. Take a trip to the Ghost town of Dhanushkoti and over a low tide see if you can spot a band of red, that’s the Rama Sethu near the shores. Take a walk along the newly laid road till the tail end of land called Arichal Munai, watching the flamingos. It’s an enchanting feel, with the sea and ocean on either side and water birds on all sides.
With the number of beaches that it has, Rameshwaram offers a variety of water sports like kite surfing, kayaking, parasailing, banana boat rides, snorkelling or wind surfing. Sail on a glass bottomed boat or scuba dive into the waters and watch the colourful fishes, turtles and coral reefs at close quarters. There are Kite Surfing schools on Pamban Island that offer package deals along with lessons on surfing and accommodations.
If you are passionate about birds, pick up your camera and take a tour to the bird sanctuaries near Rameshwaram. The Kanjirankulam and Chitirangudi Sanctuaries in Ramanathapuram and the Arichamunai Sanctuary in Dhanushkoti get busy by October-January with hundreds of birds flying in all the way from Australia and Europe. You could also visit the Sarkarakottai Tank Bird Sanctuary to spot endangered and rare species like Comb Ducks and Purple Herons.
Enjoy the Beaches
Some of Rameshwaram’s beaches are so very touristy, where you can spend a summer day wading in the shallow waters or spend a lazy winter evening watching the sun set. The Ariyamaan beach is not crowded, all the more reason why you should spend quality time by the waters. Go on a boat ride, collect seashells, you’ll find great ones here, or go in for a photo shoot.
Stroll down the Pamban Bridge
Take a walk over the Pamban Bridge, which is the connecting road between the mainland and Rameshwaram. With the sea on either side and down under, and the railway bridge running parallel a long way down, the setting is awesome. If you are passing by early in the day or in the evening, sun rise or sun set is ideally photographic.
The sparsely vegetated region of Rameshwaram has palm and coconut trees, so you find plenty of palm and coconut crafted souvenirs like coconut shell handicrafts, palm leaf baskets and fibre bags. There are sea shell and conch crafting, wooden, pearl and gold jewellery, Khadi textiles and silks you can shop for. You could even check out the fine jewellery crafted out of palm leaves and coconut shells.
Rameshwaram has a predominantly South Indian foodie style. The coastal town does not lag behind in its varieties of seafood of course. Apart from these, you can find restaurants that serve Marwari and Gujarati cuisine. There are a handful of restaurants serving Chinese and Continental dishes, as well. The streets around the beaches have food stalls that serve varieties in chaat, hot, spicy fritters and bondas.
Festivals in Rameshwaram have so much spirituality in them. The pilgrims’ town celebrates the ten-day Mahashivratri for Shiva (February-March), Navratri Dasara ( August-September) and the celestial wedding or Thirukalyanam (July-August) of Ramanathaswamy and Goddess Parvathavardhini. Ramalinga Pradista, the day Sita created the Linga of mud and anointed the Linga for prayers is heralded with great austerities and processions. The town turns up bright with lamps , the fragrance of flowers all over and the chants of manthras ringing in the air.
There are a good number of places to stay in, right from luxury accommodations to budget based hotels. Most of the hotels are quite close to the railway station or the temple, so with minimum luggage you can walk to the hotel or hail an auto rickshaw. The state operated TTDC is near the Ramanathaswamy Temple. You can choose from hotels that have dormitories to simple rooms and suites with air conditioners.
Rameshwaram has quiet sun downs, for the pilgrimage town does not have an active night life. You can take a stroll down the lanes near the temples or converse with the locals who will be only too glad to enlighten you about the legends and history of Rameshwaram. It’s serene, going to bed listening to the sounds of the ocean and wake up listening to the prayers from the temples.