Things you just must do in Rameshwarm.
1) Travel atop the Pamban Bridge. Its best to take the Rameshwarm Express that departs in the evening from Chennai and crosses the bridge in broad sunlight. Though this may cut down on your time on the Island this is the perfect time for witnessing the clear blue sea from this ancient bridge in broad daylight. Train timings continue to change. Check the IRCTC website for details
2)Visit the famous Hindu Ramanatghaswamy Temple dedicated to the God Shiva. The temple is located at the end of a narrow street just about 2km away from the railway station. It towers both in structure and stature. This Temple is the epitome of the Hindu Tirtha (holy pilgrimage). It is said that there are 64 tirthas (holy water bodies) in and around Rameshwarm out of which 24 are important and bathing with their waters is considered equivalent to penance. 22 of these are present in the Ramanatghaswamy Temple alone so all around you find people moving through the long corridors drenched head to toe till they complete all 22. The architecture is so simple yet so intricate and the floor wet with this holy water. Though I wish the temple was better maintained.
3) Stand at the Annai Indira Gandhi Road Bridge for a glimpse of the Pamban bridge and Pamban Island. Here you are free to stop for as long as you want (or for as long as your autowallah allows) giving you plenty of time for photographs and videos. The wind is particularly refreshing and constant. This place also offers you majestic views of the small fishing villages sprawled across the coast of Pamban Island.
4) Visit the Villundi Tirtham well which is a freshwater well dug out some distance into the sea. This again offers you a different perspective of the same blues and white shores this island is famous for. In addition this well is considered to be a Holy place rich in tales of old. According to Hindu Mythology, Lord Ram shot an arrow into the sea to provide a drink for his thirsty wife Sita. Though this can scientifically be addressed by the varying densities of freshwater and saltwater, the freshwater-saltwater interface and the Gyben Herzberg Principle, the story was quite convincing as well. Here I experienced what it feels like to be on the transient line where faith meets science. Well the place was so serene and the waters majestically blue and I really recommend this place even if you aren't into Mythology or Science.
5). Ride into the old town of Dhanushkodi, which was destroyed during the 1964 cyclone and is in ruins. The town is at the south eastern tip of the protruding thin sand bar part of Pamban Island and is only about 29km west of Talaimannar in Sri Lanka. One has to travel to the town in government travellers. The queue is long but the view is great. And who doesn't like photographs amongst ruins.
6)Laze around on Dhanushkodi beach. I recommend traveling a bit towards the city away from the crowds until you reach fewer stalls and tree covered patches of sand. This part of the beach is untouched and you can even sneak an afternoon nap under the clear blue skies.
7) Detour from the mainroad and visit the Kothandaramaswamy Temple which is surrounded by sea on all sides and is connected to the island only by a narrow roadway. After a quick visit to the temple you can walk into the shallow waters and at one point you will find yourself in between the countries of India and Sri Lanka. People also build shivlings out of sand on a tiny sand bar mounting their prayers and offerings which will stay strong until the next high tide.
8). Walk through the town. There is really no better way to know the place and its people than walking around aimlessly.
9)Climb up the steep steps of the ancestral home of Dr A P J Abdul Kalam. This humble home irrespective of the suffocating heat is inspirational in a way Kalamji was, subtle but to the point.