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Dhanushkodi is the place where you can see the origin of the Ram Setu.

While on one side there’s a wide variety of landscapes, right from the seas to the mountains, on the other, there’s a plethora of languages, cultures and a rich history.

Dhanushkodi, located in the Rameshwaram district of Tamil Nadu, is the place where the wonders of nature and man become one. A place shrouded in mystery, this is a place that’s easy to miss by the regular tourist. Not only because it’s not really a part of the tourist map, but also because this place is hard to reach.

Nonetheless, Dhanushkodi is a place an exploring traveller would love to visit and know more about. For reaching this place one needs to cross over to the Pamban Island from the mainland. The best way to do this is by train, through the famous Pamban Bridge.

It’s here that the journey to Dhanushkodi begins through several fishing villages, accompanied by the mesmerising views of the Palk Strait on both sides. The Palk Strait is the one that stretches between India and Sri Lanka.

After a rather bumpy ride, which is only possible on 4×4 vehicles, thanks to some large sandy stretches on the way, the ‘ghost town’ of Dhanushkodi will welcome you. A long time ago, especially during the British Raj, Dhanushkodi was a small yet prosperous town. It had everything you expect a town full of residents to have–railway station, a church, a temple, a post office, and houses, among other things.

Bordered by the Bay of Bengal on one side and the Indian Ocean on the other, Dhanushkodi once used to serve as an important port for both traders and pilgrims. Ferry services were available between Dhanushkodi and Talaimannar, a town in Sri Lanka (then known as Ceylon). These ferries used to transport both goods and travellers across the sea, from one country to the other. The town of Dhanushkodi was home to all kinds of facilities a traveller would need–hotels, dharamshalas, and textile shops catering to pilgrims, travellers, and traders. And believe it or not, Sri Lanka is located at a distance of just 31 km from this town.

When everything came to an end

But all of these things is no more than history now, thanks to a cyclone that took place in the year 1964. It destroyed everything, and what remains now is a sandy shoreline with ruins dating back to those days.

Although with the stunning views of the two oceans and a beautiful shoreline, Dhanushkodi is a picturesque place to be, there’s an eeriness to the fact that what once used to be a town so significant, is nothing more than a ruin now. The only residents of this island now are the 500 fishermen folk who stay here for the sake of their livelihood in about 50 hutments that are spread across the place.

Ram Setu
Apart from the coastal charm and the mysteries attached to the place, there’s one more thing that makes Dhanushkodi a really unique place to visit. And it dates back to none other than our mythological history, Ramayana.

The town of Dhanushkodi is believed to be the place where Lord Rama had ordered Lord Hanumana to build a bridge which could carry his army across to Sri Lanka, where Demon King Ravana had kept Sita captive. As ordered, Lord Hanuman had obliged and it was here that the Ram Setu was built by the Vanara Sena.

If myths are to be believed, a particularly beautiful stretch of sandy shore you see from Dhanushkodi is the place from where the Ram Setu starts. This is also believed to be the end of the bridge which Lord Rama had broken using his bow and arrow.

Also known as the Adam’s Bridge globally, no one really knows if this is the Ram Setu, but satellite pictures taken over time, and a recent image released by NASA have confirmed that the a stretch of land formation visible between Dhanushkodi and the Sri Lankan mainland is certainly man-made.

We don’t know what the real truth is–research is being done over it for years now. But what we can say about this place with absolute certainty is the fact that as a traveller, Dhanushkodi will never cease to charm and surprise you with its unique mix of history, myth, mystery and unparalleled natural beauty. While sea lovers will love this place to the core, it will prove to be a paradise for birders for its population of migratory birds who fly to this place from places as far as Australia, and those having a hobby of collecting shells for this place is home to the rarest of them.

history, Travel

Murudeshwar.

Murudeshwar Temple

Murudeshwar Temple

Murudeshwar temple is one of such temples which look quite contemporary though it belongs to the ancient era. The temple is dedicated to worshipping Lord Murudeshwara considered to be one of the forms of Lord Shiva. The temple is situated in India in the state of Karnataka. The temple has one gripping thing is that it is surrounded by Arabian Sea from three sides and the temple premises begins with a twenty storied Gopuram. Besides that the thing that makes it way more bewitching is the location of a huge statue of Lord Shiva which is the second largest statue of Lord Shiva in India.

The twenty storied Gopuram at the entry of the temple complex is around 237.5 feet tall and is called as Raja Gopuram. The temple has been built on a small hillock called as Kanduka. A list has been built for the convenience of the devotees which carries them to the hill top and to the top of the Gopuram. The most exciting thing about the temple is the scenic view of the Lord Shiva statue along with the breathtaking view of the seashore. At the foot of the temple is located a temple devoted to Shri Rameshwara. Next to the idol of Lord Shiva is the also present a shrine devoted to Shaneeshwara while below the Lord Shiva’s idol is a small cave. At the entry gate of the temple are the statues of two elephants which are believed to act as the guard to the temple. Within the temple premises is present a depiction of Lord Shiva giving the teaching of Geeta to Arjuna and beside that the depiction of Ravana giving the Atma Linga to Lord Ganesha. Except the principle sanctum, which still holds the same old flavour, the whole temple has been transformed in the contemporary style. The contemporary temple had been built by R.N Shetty, a philanthropist and businessman.

SIGNIFICANCE OF THE TEMPLE

  • It is believed that, Lord Shiva had given the Atma Linga to Ravan as a gift for his penance, which sits originally in the heart of Shiva. The temple features the cloth which covered the Atma Linga. It is also said that all the Gods, according to the Hindu scriptures attained invincibility and mortality after worshipping Lord Shiva.
  • Karnataka is believed to contain Lord Shiva’s Pancha Kshetra and Murudeshwar temple is one of the Pancha Kshetra of the state, and the four other being Dharmasthala, Nanjanagud, Gokarna and Dhareshwara.
  • The most noticing highlight of the temple is the mammoth statue of the Lord Shiva which has been built such that that the rays of the Sun first falls on the Shiva’s statue. This Shiva statue here at the temple Murudeshwar is the second largest statue of Lord Shiva, the largest being the Kailash Nath Mahadeva statue in Nepal.
  • Inside the main shrine of the temple is a Deep which is believed to be burning the way it burnt when the temple was built. In order to get blessing of the God for prosperity and good luck, people pour oil into the burning Deep and see their image into the oil.
  • The gigantic Gopuram at the entrance is believed to be the second tallest of all the Gopurams in the world and has a height of 237.5 feet while the tallest Gopuram is located at Srirangam temple in Tamilnadu.

HISTORY AND THE LEGEND ASSOCIATED

The temple itself has been named as per its significance, Murudeshwara refers to Shiva. The interesting story of the temple has been linked to the ear of Ramayana. As a result of the penance dedicated to the Atma Linga, Lord Shiva gave the power of invincibility and immortality to Hindu Gods. Consequently Ravana, the king of Lanka also tried wooing Lord Shiva by worshipping him so as to attain invincibility and immortality. When Lord Shiva appears before Ravana after looking at his devotion, and he asks Ravana to tell him, whatever he wants. Ravana then asks for Goddess parvathi and Lord thus gives Parvathi to Ravana.

On the way to Lanka, Narada muni deceits him into believing that the one who was with him was not Parvathi and the real Parvathi is in Pathala. Consequently Ravana went to Pathala and married a king’s daughter who believed was real Parvathi. After knowing that he has been fooled by Naryana, he again sits to meditate As a result of which Lord Shiva Appears. This time he asked Lord Shiva to bless him with the sacred Atma Linga and Shiva accepting his demand, gave him the Lingam but puts a condition before Ravana that if ever this Lingam will be kept on the ground all its powers will come back to Lord Shiva.

This made narada to realise that with Atma Linga in his hands, Ravana will create havoc on the earth by obtaining immortality and so he thought of approaching Lord Ganesha for help. While Ravana was on the way to Lanka, Lord Vishnu planned to remove the effect of the Sun’s light so as to make it appear as dusk which will compel Ravana to perform his evening rituals and he will have to put the Linga on the ground. While he was thinking of the curse of Atma Ling, a Brahmin boy approached him who was actually Lord Ganesha. Lord Ganesha had taken up the form so that he would put the Atma Linga on the ground while he goes for the evening rituals. Lord Ganesha’s plan worked and when Ravana returned he found the Linga on the ground. This made him furious and he understood about the plan and out of anger he tried destroying the Lingam. In the process he threw the case which was covering the Lingam to Sajjeshwara at a distance of 23 miles while the lid of the case he threw to Guneshwara and Dhareshwara situated at a distance of about 10-12 km. And the piece of cloth covering the Atma Lingam he threw to Mrideshwara which was later named as Murudeshwara.

Also, at Murudeshwara, saint Bhagirath awaits for Ganga to come on the earth from the hair lock of Lord Shiva.

BEST MONTH TO VISIT.

November to February

HOW TO REACH.

Nearest Road – 165km from Mangalore and 455km from Bangalore

Nearest Railway Station – Murudeshwara station is only 2 km away from the temple.

By Air – the nearest airport from the temple is Mangalore International airport which is situated at a distance of about 165km from the temple.

TEMPLE TIMING

Day Timing – Opens at 6am and closes at 8:30pm.

Lunch Timing – 1 pm to 3 pm

Morning Puja – 6:30am to 7:30 am

Afternoon Mahapuja – 12:15 PM to 1 PM

Night Puja – 7:15 PM to 8:15 PM

FESTIVALS CELEBRATED AT THE TEMPLE

Maha Shivaratri (February or March) and Karthik (November to December) Purnima is celebrated in the temple with full fervour and enthusiasm.

NEARBY TEMPLES

Nearby temples to Murudeshwara temple includes Sri Mahabaleshwar Temple, Gokarna Idagunji Maha Ganapathi Temple and Kollur Mookambika Temple.