The sleepy town of Rameshwaram has many facets to it. That the old man Ram was there with his army and the supposed bridge that they built to Sri Lanka is perhaps its chief claim to fame. It being considered one of the holiest of cities quite obviously translates to hordes of pilgrims.
With the proximity to Sri Lanka and it attendant consequences, the arc lights never go off here. There is always a refugee boat that lands. Or an LTTE man that rose from the sea. Or the Sri Lankan navy shooting down a hapless fisherman ! Something or the other.
The splendour and architecture of the Ramanatha swamy temple is best masked by the simplicity of its gopuram. All in plain white. Standing straight and simple. Amongst the many facets that it conceals is the 1000 pillar corridor which screams a silent yet eloquent beauty with all interplay between light and darkness that blossoms into a collage of a splendid magnitude can arrest you. Forever.
The communist party showing the way to Lord Ram’s feet was an ultimate picture !
Some distance away is Ramar Patham. (Ram’s Feet). A smaller temple that plays host to an imprint of a feet. Purported to be those of lord Ram and rightly so. The story spices up the belief very well that there is a mile between you and the d in doubt. A pot bellied priest chants the virtues of worshipping those feet and also slips in a message to ‘help’ the priests themselves. Its but natural, you see ! Especially, when said in the same breath !
The other reason that Rameshwaram is frequented is to perform rituals for the dead. An assortment of rituals, which by itself can be an intricate lesson in permutation and combination and math of such order. The net result could be a huge subtraction in what was there in the wallet !
This is one money spinner that’s not going to fade away in a jiffy. For death is but natural and such beliefs stay on. The paraphernalia of all those articles that are supposedly required to please the dead person’s spirits, can well resemble an annual shopping list of a whole neighbourhood ! From the barber to the beguiled tourist : all contribute to the bee like buzz in the air !
Mention must be made of the Pamban bridge, now named after one of the Gandhis. This times it is Indira. (I think). Built on the sea, much before the Bandra-Worli sea link. Well used now, every single lamp post is still there. Of the lights that were supposed to be atop the lamp posts, well it’s a different story !
It’s a sleepy town. Down in the down south. But then, it keeps many awake. All through. Think about it. History. Mythology. Architecture. Strategic defense. Death. Life. Living. Gods. Tourism. The sea and the ocean. All in one place.
Very few places that can boast of that assortment !