8 Things To Do In Rameswaram For An Awesome Holiday

If you look at India’s map, Rameswaram has an interesting location, sitting on a mass of land called Pamban Island, almost like a southeastern arm of India stretching towards Sri Lanka. The city of Rameswaram, because of its unique geographical location, offers a variety of environmental beauty and a view of the most scenic beaches.

A major reason why Rameswaram is well known is for its temples; it’s one of the holiest places because it’s a part of the Char Dham pilgrimage. If you’ve read the Ramayana, you’ll be intrigued by the story of Rameswaram. But there’s so much more to this southeastern Indian city than just the temples and mythological tales. The scenic ghost towns, bird sanctuaries, and beautiful beaches will make you wish your stay in Rameswaram was longer. Let’s hop in and know more about interesting things to do in Rameswaram.

8 Things To Do In Rameswaram

  1. Take In The Architectural Marvels At Ramanathaswamy Temple
  2. Walk On The Ram Setu/Adam's Bridge
  3. Click Photos At The Beautiful Ariyaman Beach
  4. Go On A Train Ride Over The Pamban Bridge
  5. Spot Migratory Birds At The Bird Sanctuaries
  6. Explore The Spooky Guest Town Of Dhanushkoli
  7. Learn About The Life Of Dr. A.P.J Abdul Kalam
  8. Shop For Local Handicrafts And Silks

1.Take In The Architectural Marvels At Ramanathaswamy Temple

Among the many temples in Rameswaram, Ramanathaswamy is the most visited and awed at. The fact that the temple had two Shiva Lingas makes Ramanathaswamy temple more unique. You must be wondering why a place like Rameswaram, which holds the significance of Lord Rama has an important Shiva temple. That’s because Lord Rama himself was an ardent devotee of Lord Shiva. Though the Ramanathaswany temple is flocked by Hindu pilgrims, tourists of all faiths are encouraged to visit and learn about its 12th-century architecture and fascinating mythology.

Ramanathaswamy Temple has the longest corridor out of all the temples in the entire world, lined with 1,212 intricately carved pillars. When you walk inside the temple, look in any direction and you’ll see beauty in every element; the ceiling boasts of an intricate Kamalam lotus art and the pillars are a blend of geometry and intricacy. You’d want to capture this grandeur in your camera, but photography is prohibited, leaving you to capture all that beauty in your eyes.

The temple is open between 5 am to 1 pm in the morning and between 3 pm to 9 pm in the evening. We would suggest going early between 5 am to 6 am, an auspicious time for Spatika (crystal) Lingam darshan.

Also read: Delhi Travel Guide.

2.Walk On The Ram Setu/Adam’s Bridge

While we’re talking about the Ramayana, you’ll be amazed to know that the Ram Setu might be more than mythology and fiction. What adds to the fascination is that you can actually visit it and walk over it for some distance. Though not a proper bridge, the structure, made up of a chain of limestone shoals, connects Pamban Island in Tamil Nadu to Mannar Island in Sri Lanka. You can walk over this structure as the sea around it is shallow ranging from 3 ft to 30 ft deep.If you study about the bridge, you’ll know that there’s geological evidence that suggests the bridge did connect India and Sri Lanka. But it’s not proven whether it was constructed during the time period of Ramanayna. Hire a jeep that takes you to Dhanuskodi Beach, 20 km away from the city of Rameswaram.

Once you reach the Dhanuskodi Beach, you can see the Ram Setu/Adam’s Bridge and walk for some distance towards it, but crossing it is illegal and dangerous. Standing at that point is a different feeling since it is the southeastern tip of India. The best time to visit Ram Setu is between 9 am and 2 pm.

Also read: Top 7 Things To Do In Tamil Nadu And Pondicherry.

Things To Do In Rameswaram

3.Click Photos At The Beautiful Ariyaman Beach

One of the most serene and well-known beaches of Rameswaram, Ariyaman Beach is a visual splendor. Ariyaman Beach sits by the Gulf of Mannar and offers brilliant views of the sunrise. There’s a watchtower on the beach, great lighting in the mornings, and evenings make it ideal if you want to try your hand at photography. A children’s park on the beach premises will keep the kids entertained as you enjoy the colors of the horizon. The beach, also known as Kushi Beach, has a serene 2 km long coastline.

We cannot say that there is a stipulated time you must visit the beach, the pleasant climate makes any time ideal to visit. You can spend a lazy afternoon sitting on the sand or visit in the evening, totally your call. The beach is located at a 27 km distance from Rameswaram, there are regular buses that run between Rameswaram and Ariyaman Beach. If you plan to take a government bus, remember that it will drop you at Mandapam town, after you get down in Mandapam, just take a rickshaw or taxi to Ariyaman Beach.

Also read: Varanasi Travel Guide.

4.Go On A Train Ride Over The Pamban Bridge

Going on Pamban Bridge is easily one of the best things to do in Rameswaram. This is one of the oldest sea bridges in India and spans over 2 km between the two mainlands of India and Pamban Island. If you’ve seen the Bollywood movie Chennai Express, you’ll remember the scenic shots of the Pamban Rail Bridge. Right parallel to the Pamban Bridge runs the Annai Indira Gandhi Road Bridge which connects the National Highway (NH 49) with Rameswaram. The Pamban Bridge is so low that its central part opens up to let boats cross, imagine the thrill of going on a train ride over a bridge so close to the sea!

If you’re not arriving in Rameswaram by train, you can bask in the sight of Pamban Bridge through the pedestrian access provided for it through Rameswaram. You can easily reach the Pamban Bridge through government buses that drop you at the Pamban Bus stop, walk along the bridge from this point on. The bridge is also reachable by auto-rickshaws, taxis, and private vehicles. This is arguably the best place for those who love the open seas because of the scenes that welcome you when you visit - flying eagles, sailing boats, fishermen at work, and wide blue skies.

Also read:  Jaipur Travel Guide.

5.Spot Migratory Birds At The Bird Sanctuaries

The presence of 500 water tanks in Rameswaram appeals to our feathered friends. Birds both native and migratory make Rameswaram their breeding and feeding grounds, some coming from as far as Europe. This makes Rameswaram a must-visit place for bird watchers and environmental enthusiasts. If you go between December to March, you’ll see the majestic flamingos at the Arichamunai Bird Sanctuary. These beautiful birds flow all the way from Australia, making Rameswaram their home for 4-5 months.

Carry binoculars and you’ll clearly spot them standing in the shallow water patiently to catch some food. The best time to visit Arichamunai Bird Sanctuary is in the early morning or the evening. The Arichamunai Bird Sanctuary is in Dhanushkodi and the closest bird sanctuary near Rameswaram. Other sanctuaries worth a visit are Chitrangudi and Kanjirankulam sanctuaries in Ramanathapuram.

At the Chitrangudi Bird Sanctuary, you can spot the Asian openbill stork, grey heron, purple heron, pond heron, and the little egret, you should definitely visit to spot the near-threatened species of spot-billed pelican. We know that the bird sanctuaries in the district of Ramanathapuram are a couple of hours’ drive towards the mainland from Rameswaram, but you mustn’t miss it if you are in this part of the country.

Also read: Jaisalmer Travel Guide.

Things To Do In Rameswaram

6.Explore The Spooky Ghost Town Of Dhanushkodi

Next up is the ghost town of Dhanushkodi, as mysterious as it sounds because of its stories. Before 1964, Dhanushkodi was a bustling port town flourishing with trade and activity, but the cyclone that hit the town in 1964 reduced it to ruins and enveloped it in the sand. The town was also a bed for tourism as ferries connected Dhanushkodi to Sri Lanka until the cyclone engulfed Dhanushkodi whole with its railway station, police station, medical center, and houses.

The town was submerged under meters of seawater after the storm. Once the water subsided, the place was unfit for human habitation. Nearly 2,000 residents of the once-bustling town were massacred in the deadly cyclone. Today, you can reach Dhanushkodi from Rameswaram in 30 minutes through a scenic road newly constructed in 2017. Since many tourists visit the Dhanushkodi Beach and the Kothandaramaswamy Temple, many buses frequent between Dhanushkodi and Rameswaram.

A fact about this Kothandaramaswamy Temple that never fails to amaze is that it was the only structure that survived the 1964 Rameswaram cyclone. Do check out this ghost town for its ancient ruins, you can see the remains of a church, a post office, and even find railway tracks under the sand.

Also read: Exploring The Ghost Town Of Kuldhara!

7.Learn About The Life Of Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam 

Rameswaram was the birthplace of Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, the 11th President of India, and you can visit both his childhood home and his memorial while in Rameswaram. Dr. Kalam’s childhood home, now known as the ‘House of Kalam’ is located on Mosque Street in Rameswaram. The house is converted into a museum and narrates the life of the widely-loved former president. You’ll find Kalam’s childhood memoirs, awards, and rare photographs; a section of this two-story house has been turned into a store that has some merchandise that might interest you.

A 10-minute drive from this spot takes you to the Kalam National Memorial, which is an architectural wonder in itself. The structure is a blend of Indian and Mughal architecture, with its main entrance bearing resemblance to the India Gate. Inside the memorial are replicas of the rockets and missiles which Kalam had worked on which had gained him the name ‘Missile Man of India’. The 500 portraits housed inside the memorial will take you through the journey of Kalam’s life.

The star attractions in this memorial are the two life-sized statues of Abdul Kalam, one in a standing position and another of him playing the veena. The dome of this memorial, modeled on that of the Rashtrapati Bhavan makes the memorial a perfect resting place for the former president of India. You can visit the memorial between 9 am and 1 pm in the morning and between 2 pm to 5 pm in the evening.

Also read: Agra Travel Guide.

Things To Do In Rameswaram

8.Shop For Local Handicrafts And Silks

This land of temples has a lot of shopping options for those who want to indulge in shopping or just take a souvenir back home. At every tourist spot, you’ll see shops selling items varying from affordable shell artifacts to expensive silks. The street that takes you to the Agni Teertham from the Ramanathswamy temple is lined with shops selling you different shell products like shell curtains, mirrors, shell lamps, wall hangers, jewelry, etc. If you loved the shell products here, you should definitely check out the Gandhi Seashell mart at Market Street and Kalam Seashell mart at Mosque Street; these marts have some great varieties of home decor made out of shells.

If you’re a fan of handicrafts, Rameswaram offers many local handicrafts of Tamil Nadu like Thanjavur art plates, bronze artifacts, brass figurines, and brass lamps. Since Rameswaram is visited by many pilgrims, the shops all over the city sell paintings, idols, and framed photographs of Gods and Goddesses. While you are in Rameswaram, don’t miss the silk sarees in the textile stores at Varthakan Street and Middle Street. The silk sarees of Rameswaram are light as a feather and intricately patterned; you’ll also be spoilt for choice when you see the silk scarves and dress materials weaved in Rameswaram.

The prices of silk products are on the higher side, but we say they’re totally worth it given the skilled craftsmanship and attention to detail. You’ll loosen your purse strings a little more when we tell you that Rameswaram is a hub for Khadi cloth, you’ll find Khadi kurtas, stoles, jackets, dress materials, and shirts. A good place to shop for Khadi is at Khadi Gramadoyog located in Big Bazaar Street.

Tons of activities await you if you just explore well enough, there’s so many things to do in Rameswaram if you just stay back long enough. We could go on about the warm people, authentic Tamilian delicacies, and the water sports on the beaches of Rameswaram, but the list never ends. What ends is your holiday, but something about this temple city will surely pull you back towards it, so you can explore more things to do around Rameswaram!

Also read:  Pondicherry Travel Guide.


What Is The Best Time To Visit Rameswaram?

October to April is the right time to visit Rameswaram since the climate is pleasant during this time of year. If you go around May and June, the tropical climate makes it too hot to enjoy the beaches and sanctuaries of Rameswaram. Tourists prefer visiting in December, making it the busiest month to visit Rameswaram. Due to the rush, hotels are expensive in December, so travelers on a budget can try avoiding this month and visiting Rameswaram in January.

How To Reach Rameswaram?

If you’re planning to reach by air, Madurai Airport and Tuticorin Airport are at a distance of 177 km and 196 km respectively. Madurai Airport is well connected with New Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, and Hyderabad, once you reach this airport, just take a bus, rented cab, or a taxi to reach Rameswaram. Rameswaram railway station is connected to all major cities like Coimbatore, Trichy, Madurai, Thanjavur, and Chennai. You can reach Rameswaram by road too; if you’re coming from Chennai, Rameswaram is 559 km away by road.

Can Sri Lanka Be Seen From Rameswaram?

There is a distance of 24 km between the borders of Sri Lanka and India. You cannot see that far without being at a height of 150 ft. The closest you can be to Sri Lanka is by visiting Dhanushkodi, the southeastern tip of India. Many think that they can see Sri Lanka from this tip, but no, it’s not possible since there is a thick sea border that separates the two nations.

Is Dhanushkodi Safe For Tourists?

Though Dhanushkodi is a deserted abandoned ghost town, it is visited by tourists during the day for its mysterious beauty. But spending time here after dark is not recommended as the place gets very secluded. Try returning to Rameswaram by evening since the 15 km stretch of Dhanushkodi gets dangerous after dark.

Which God Is Famous In Rameshwaram?

Lord Shiva has to be the famous god in Rameshwaram, also there is a Hindu temple devoted to Lord Shiva.

How Many Wells Are There In Rameshwaram Temple?

The Rameshwaram Temple has 108 sacred wells, some are on the premises and some of them cover the other parts of the temple. There is a purpose and story behind every well.

How Many Temples Are There In Rameshwaram?

There are 6 temples in Rameshwaram. You will find many devotees coming and worshipping in the temple of Rameshwaram.

Is Ram Setu Visible?

The ones who have witnessed it mostly the locals in Rameshwaram say that Ram Setu was visible till the year 1964, and now has disappeared completely underwater.