Rameshwaram map

Rameshwaram, a major pilgrim site about 160 km south-east of Madurai is held in high esteem by all.

The island is in the shape of a conch shell, 55 km by 12 km. It is one of the most prominent holiest pilgrimage places in India. Srimad-Bhagavatam (canto 10 chapter 79 verses 16-17) states that Lord Balarama visited “Setubandha (Rameshwaram)” in the course of His pilgrimage. Lord Caitanya also visited Rameshwaram during His South India tour as mentioned in Caitanya Caritamrta Madhya Lila Chapter 9 verses 199-209.

It is said that Lord Rama Himself installed the Siva-lingam at this place thus lending added importance to it and this holy place is thus held in high esteem by both Vaishnavites and Saivites.

In Sri Caitanya Caritamrta Madhya lila Chapter 9 verse 199, ISKCON Founder-Acarya A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada mentions in the purport: “The path from mandapam through the ocean to the island known as Pambam consists partly of sand and partly of water. The island of Pambam is about 17 miles long and 6 miles wide. On this island, four miles north of Pambam Harbour, is Setubandha, where the temple of Rameavara is located. This is a temple of Lord Siva, and the name Ramesvara indicates that he is a great personality whose worshipable Deity is Lord Rama. Thus Lord Siva found in the temple of Ramesvara is a great devotee of Lord Ramacandra.

In this area there are twenty-four different holy places, one of which is Dhanus-tirtha, located about 20 miles southeast of Rameshwaram. It is near the last station of the Southern Railway, a station called Ramnad. It is said that, on the request of Ravaṇa’s younger brother Vibhīṣaṇa, Lord Ramacandra destroyed the bridge to Lanka with His bow while returning to His capital. It is also said that one who visits Dhanus-tirtha is liberated from the cycle of birth and death, and that one who bathes there gets all the fruitive results of performing the yajna known as Agnistoma.”