Rameshwaram, also known as Rameswaram. The place from where Lord Rama and his army embarked on the march to Lanka, Rameswaram is one of the Char Dhams, a place of pilgrimage for the millions of Hindus of the world. Located in Tamil Nadu with the Gulf of Mannar separating it from Sri Lanka, Rameshwaram is also a very popular tourist destination. The Rama Bridge or Adam’s Bridge, which Lord Rama is supposed to have used to cross over the ocean, is a chain of shoals extending over 29 kilometers towards Sri Lanka. According to legend Lord Rama prayed to Lord Shiva after attaining victory over Ravana, the king of Lanka. Since Ravana was a Brahmin, Lord Rama asked for atonement and prayed that he be absolved of the sins committed during the battle. Lord Rama is said to have established a Shivalinga at this spot, where the Rameswaram Temple stands. The original temple has been expanded and renovated over the centuries and is now a huge complex. Visited by millions of devotees, the temple houses the Third Corridor, with its 1212 carved pillars. The quality and finesse of the artwork on these pillars and the detailing of the figurines draws thousands of visitors to see them. Rameshwaram is often hailed as the Varanasi of the South.
Apart from the temple, the area is of immense interest to botanists, ornithologists and photographers. There are a large number of uninhabited islands in the area which are a haven for birds. Covered with plants they also offer a live study centre to the botanists. The temple is the main attraction, though there are places like the Ariyaman Beach, the Ramalinga Vilasam Palace, the Dhaunshkodi and the Kurusadi islands amongst many others which are popular with tourists.