Had been thinking of putting up this blog since long after our last visit to Rameswaram, but something or the other kept me occupied. So, here it is, Rameswaram Darshan Simplified for all you lovely readers.
Rameswaram temple or Ramanathaswamy temple is located on the Rameswaram Island, in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. The Island is connected to the mainland by the famous Pamban Bridge, which is another tourist attraction in itself. Rameswaram temple is the main temple of the island and is devoted to Lord Shiva. There are many other temples in the island which are unique and has rich history. Apart from temples, there are other unique tourist attractions which will keep you engaged and make you want to visit over and over again.
Table of Contents
Rameswaram Darshan simplified
Since in this blog I want to make the Rameswaram Darshan easy for my readers, let me take you straight to that topic. Rameswaram darshan can broadly be divided into three main phases. The three phases are:
Phase1 – Angni Theertham Snana – This is a beach at the east gate of the temple. To start with, one has to take a dip here first, before proceeding for the Bais Kunda snana.
Phase2 – Bais Kunda Snana – These are 22 wells, known as theerthams, which lord Rama formed by shooting arrows. These wells are inside the temple campus. You will be required to buy a ticket from the temple campus at North Gate to do Bais Kunda Snana.
Phase3 – Main Temple Darshan – After taking the bathe at Agni theertham and bais kund, one can visit the temple through East Gate for the main darshan.
Though, there are additional darshans that can be done at the temple but read through to plan well. Lets explore these three phases in detail.
Phase 1 – Agni Theertham Snana
Agni Theertham Snana, a beginning, is definitely a soul touching experience. This is the first activity in the list. Agni Theertham is a beach which is considered Holy in Hindu religion and has been mentioned in sacred Hindu texts like Skanda Purana, Narada Purana and Sethu Purana. Surprisingly the waves are quite gentle here. Doesn’t give you the feel of a beach but a riverbank. Reminded me of visiting Ghats during Chhath Puja in Bihar. It is said, taking a dip in the Agni Theertham is equivalent to penance. This place is famous among Pilgrims who come here to take a dip and wash away their sins.
Let me frame some questions, the answers for which if you know, will help in simplifying the whole Darshan experience.
What does Legends say about Agni Theertham?
Two important events from Epic Ramayana, that happened here, elaborates the significance of this place in the Hindu religion.
- After Lord Rama freed Goddess Sita from Ravana captivity, to prove her Purity, she requested Lakshamana to light a fire so that she could sit in it to prove her purity. Lord Agni, to wash off his sins of having touched Goddess Sita in this process, took a dip in the Theertham and prayed to Lord Shiva for forgiveness. The name Agni Theertham originated from this event.
- After returning from Lanka, Lord Rama prayed by taking bathe in the sea and prayed to Lord Shiva to indemnify the killing of the demon Ravana, who also happened to be half pandit.
How much time is required at Agni Theertham?
20 to 30 mins at Agni theertham should be minimally kept in hand for taking a dip in the sea and coming back to the temple for 22 Kunda Snana.
Do we need to buy ticket for Agni Theertham?
No, you are not required to buy tickets to take a dip at agni theertham. But, since one would be wet after taking bathe / dip in the sea, standing in the queue for buying ticket to experience the Bais Kunda snana can get difficult, though not impossible.
Which Gate / Gopuram is the nearest to Agni Theertham?
East gate is the nearest gate to Agni theertham.
Which Gate / Gopuram one should start from and why?
One should start from North Gate. This is because, you can buy the tickets for Bais Kunda Snana before going to Agni Theertham for a dip. After Agni Theertham you need to go to Bais Kunda for which you need this ticket.
Where to keep Slippers while going for Bais Kunda?
Since, the ticket counter for Bais Kunda is at the North Gate, you can open your slippers free of charge here at the North Gate entrance. There is a dedicated section for that and is safe.
Phase2 – Bais Kunda Snana
Bais Kunda Snana is supposed to be done after taking a dip in the sea at Agni Theertham. You can now enter through the east gate and follow the signs or the crowd to reach the entrance to the Bais Kunda snana area. However, if you have not bought your ticket for the Bais Kunda snana yet, you will be required to go to the ticket counter in the temple campus at the North gate.
It is believed, when Lord Rama returned from the war after defeating Ravana, there were 22 arrows left in his quiver and these wells were formed by those. If you speak to locals, you will come to know, there are about 102 theerthams in and around Rameswaram, but only 64 have been found so far. Lord Rama shot his arrows to form these theerthams to quench the thirst of his army.
Let me try and answer few queries which I had when I was planning a visit to Rameswaram:
Is it mandatory to do snana in Bais Kunda?
No, it is not mandatory to do bais kunda snana for darshan. It is up to the devotee, depending on the time they have, they can choose to follow the complete rituals or just do the main temple darshan.
Are non-Hindus allowed to go for Bais Kunda Snana?
No, only Hindus are allowed to go for Bais Kunda Snana. Infact, non-Hindus are not even allowed to go inside the temple for darshan.
How long it takes to do Bais Kunda snana?
Depending on the day and time of visit, it can take from an hour to three. Weekends can be crowded. Best would be to visit on a Weekday and morning time.
Do we need to book a guide for Bais Kunda snana?
No, you don’t need any guide for Bais Kunda snana. They claim to complete the snana process faster, but when we visited, we did not notice any special privilege given to people with guides. They were also in the same line with us waiting for their turn. The lines are usually fast moving and its a fun filled activity. This whole process of moving from one well to another to get the water sprayed over your head is actually very engaging and in this process you will soon find yourself disconnected from the outside world. So, forget about everything and enjoy the process and you can gift yourself this little me time.
What are the charges for Bais Kunda snana?
Rs. 20 per person.
Can I carry mobile for Bais Kunda snana?
Yes, you can carry your mobile for Bais Kunda Sanana. However, while going for main darshan, you will not be permitted to carry your mobile. After Bais Kunda snana, you can keep your mobile at the cloak room available at East Gate.
What are the names of the 22 wells or Bais Kunda?
The names of the Bais Kunda or 22 wells are:
Mahalakshmi Theertham, Savitri Theertham, Gayathri Theertham, Saraswati Theertham, Sethu Madhava Theertham, Gandhamadana Theertham, Kavatcha Theertham, Gavaya Theertham, Nala Theertham, Neela Theertham, Sangu Theertham, Chakra Theertham, Brahmhathi Vimochana Theertham, Surya and Chandra Theertham, Ganga, Yamuna and Gaya Theerthams, Siva Theertham, Satyamirtha Thertham, Sarva Theertham and finally Kodi Theertham. All these wells are numbered from 1 to 22, for easy identification by pilgrims.
After Bais Kunda snana where to change clothes?
There is changing area in the temple campus. Once you are done with the Bais Kunda snana and have exited the Bais Kunda area, just follow the crowd, you will soon be led to the changing area. It is inside the temple campus itself. If you feel lost, you can always ask any temple volunteers, they are always more than happy to help.
Are there changing rooms inside the Rameswaram temple?
No, there are no changing rooms, but there is a dedicated changing area, separate for men and women. For women devotees, the changing areas have got dividers in between for separation, but still not a covered premise. For men, there are no dividers. These two are kept apart maintaining the privacy though between men and women changing areas. So, if not comfortable, you can choose to go back to hotel, get changed and come back for main darshan.
Phase3 – Main Temple Darshan at Rameswaram
If you chose to change your wet clothes in the changing room, you can directly head for the Main darshan from within the campus. Just follow the sign boards or ask anyone for directions. But, if you are like us, who chose to go back to hotel and come back again, then you can enter through East Gate. Please note, you are not allowed to carry any electronics item inside the temple while going for main darshan. At the entrance, security personnel will ask you to go and keep your belongings in a cloak room nearby.
One interesting incident would like to share from our visit. We were about to enter through the East Gopuram after keeping our mobile phones at the cloak room near by and we noticed someone blocking our path. Then when we looked up who it was we couldn’t believe our eyes. It was Indian film actor Aparshakti Khurana. Before we could say anything, he told us, either it is you guys following me or me following you guys. And we all burst into a big laughter. Actually, this was our second encounter in Rameswaram. We had met him a day before at another holy site in Rameswaram and had a good chat and few pictures.
Here is a pic from our earlier encounter:
Coming back to the main temple darshan, let me try and answer the queries we had when we visited Rameswaram:
For Rameswaram temple darshan, which gate we should enter from?
Though one can enter through any gate, but would be advisable to enter from East gate, as that’s the main entrance for darshan. If you enter from other gates, you will feel lost to reach the main darshan area.
What are the Rameswaram temple darshan timings?
All day 05:00 AM to 01:00 PM and 03:00 PM to 09:00 PM.
How much time it takes for darshan at Rameswaram?
Again, it depends on the day and time of visit. Usually weekends are extremely crowded. But weekdays are better. When we went for darshan it was decent. Took us about 2 hrs to finish the complete darshan.
What is the dress code for Rameswaram temple darshan?
There is no specific dress code as such. As long as you are decently dressed and covered, there should not be any problem. This is applicable to Men and Women both.
What are the different types of darshan done in Rameswaram?
There are two types of darshan that can be done in Rameswaram temple. One is Mani Darshan, which starts at 4 am in the morning. After this you are required to go for a dip in Agni theertham and Bais Kunda snana followed by Main deity Darshan.
What are the charges for Mani Darshan?
Rs. 50 per person for special line, else no charges.
Are there any charges for main deity darshan?
No there are no charges for main deity darshan. But one can always take special tickets for a faster darshan experience. Ranging from Rs. 100 /- to Rs. 500/- for special lines depending on the day of visit.
Here is a detailed video from our Rameswaram Darshan experience done by Nutan to give you a firsthand visual experience on what to expect there.
Credits: Nutan Singh (My Life and Travel Partner)
Recap of Steps to do deity Darshan in Rameswaram
- Once at the temple, one can go to North Gate and keep the slippers there at the entrance.
- Enter through the North Gate and you will see a long queue to a ticket counter. Get in the queue to buy your ticket for Bais Kunda Snana. Note: You can buy this ticket even after taking a dip in Agni Kunda. But step 2 will avoid one from standing in queue after getting wet during Agni Kunda snana.
- After buying the tickets, one can head towards the east gate from within the temple campus and head to the Agni Kunda.
- Take a dip at the Agni Kunda and come back to the east gate.
- Enter the temple through the East gate and head towards the Bais Kunda area. Just follow the crowd or ask the temple volunteers inside the campus for directions.
- Avoid going for guides for Bais Kunda, as it doesn’t make any difference in saving time.
- Complete the Bais Kunda snana and head to the Changing area.
- If coming directly for Darshan, enter through the East Gate and follow the instructions to do the darshan.
Hope you found this blog helpful. If it did, do drop a comment to appreciate the efforts put in to simplify the whole darshan process for you.
If you like contents like this, you can subscribe to my blog Newsletter, if not already done.
Like us, if you are travelling from Bangalore to Rameswaram by Road, you can check my blog for some insights on route from Bangalore to Rameswaram:
Where to stay in Rameswaram
There are plenty of stay options available in Rameswaram. We stayed at SreMethila Hotels. It was neat and clean and just under 2 KM walk from the temple. Very near to the Auto Stand.
Below is the list of recommended Hotels in Rameswaram:
- SreMethila Hotels – Semi Budget
- Hotel SS Grand – Semi Budget
- The Residency Towers, Rameswaram – On the Expensive side
- Hotel Star Palace – Semi Budget
- Hotel KNP Nest – Budget Hotel
Alternatively, you can expand your search here
Other Places to visit in Rameswaram
- Dhanushkodi – Here is another video from our Dhanushkodi experience by Nutan.
- Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam Memorial
House of Kalam
Panchamukhi Hanumana Temple
Will be covering these in details and few other must visit places in my next blog.