When I pinned my next destination as Rameswaram, some of my friends commented that I’m too young for a pilgrimage. I feel it’s being partial to keep aside a place like Rameswaram by nicknaming it as a pilgrimage centre. One sees what one wants to see, not what has been told to see.
The traveller sees what he sees, the tourist sees what he has come to see.
1. How Pamban bridge inspired the travel bug in me?
Sunrise from train
I don’t think I have seen a better morning than this in my recent days. Sun started peeping out from another side of the ocean when train gave the wake-up siren. First raises of morning sun touched my sleepy eyes, rising up from the blue ocean. The train moves slowly like a snail through the middle of the sea and I could see the blue ocean running below my feet carrying out its daily routines as if what is new in this when I was totally wonderstruck by this incredible sight. Far away in the sea, I could see fishermen with their boats who already started their day with the sun.
2. What did I learn from the age-old Ramanathaswamy temple?
The sculptural beauty and colours are thrown on the long corridor with large pillars running around the shrine of the age-old temple amazed me. Paintings were showcased on the corridor which narrated the myth behind the temple. There were small shops near the main entrance who were selling beautiful shells. One of the shopkeepers took our attention by blowing the conch(shanku). Definitely, we got his side to listen that sound produced from the conch and he even taught us how to blow it.Lord Krishna blew it before the start of Mahabharata war to announce the victory of good over evil.
When we took a long walk through the corridor, devotees were rushing their way to see their idol after getting their dip in 22 tirthams(holy water bodies), a major aspect of pilgrimage where they believed that their sins are condoned. Later I got to know that this is the temple with the longest corridor in the world.
3. Why Annai Indira Gandhi road bridge took a space on my travel list?
After visiting the Ramanathaswamy temple, when we were standing confused about how to get to the Annai Indira Gandhi road bridge, a rickshaw man came right in front of us asking where we wanted to go. We finally fixed our destination for a reasonable price and started our ride, and then he told us that he is a guide as well. It’s always interesting to communicate with the residents of a particular place, where they could share us some stories which won’t be there in any travel guide. He was a man born and brought up in Rameswaram village. He told us some stories that his grandfather and Dr.A.P.J.Abdul Kalam were friends and he has personally met Dr.Kalam and talked to him. And I think what he told might be true since Rameswaram is a small village with less number of population and everyone knows each other.
By listening to his stories and talking with him in broken Tamil, we reached our destination at Annai Indira Gandhi road bridge which is running parallel to Pamban railway. On one side of the bridge we could see the Pamban railway waiting for its next train and on the other side was the vast blue ocean with many fishing boats, reminded me of a beautiful painting.
Sea was so blue that it looked as if the sky’s mirror image reflects on to the sea. Even standing on the road bridge along with other tourists and with vehicles moving in both directions, nothing could disturb my mind that this beautiful sea princess was so attractive.All were waiting to see the 11.45 am train passing through the Pamban bridge. After some time it came howling with its siren to make everyone aware of its arrival, that everyone shifted their side looking at the Pamban bridge to capture that striking sight one last time.
It was compelling that I find it difficult to leave this sight. When our rickshaw man turned the auto, with some hesitation we asked him whether he could take us to the railway bridge so that we could take some pictures and come back. He welcomed our request with a warm smile and took the rickshaw below to the Annai Indira Gandhi bridge, where we saw the life of a typical village. Fishermen making their boats ready to go to the sea and some women drying fishes in the sun and some sitting to shoo away the crows who came to take their share of food.The area smells of dried fish but still, we managed to get into the railway track and made sure that the train will not be coming soon since we didn’t want to sacrifice our life for one photograph.
4. Sun-kissed haunted Dhanushkodi beach
5. Man who never worked – Dr.A.P.J.Abdul Kalam
When I was in my school days one my dad got a new member to add on to my library- Wings Of Fire(autobiography of Dr.Kalam). Most of the things written about his professional life went above my head since astronomy and astrophysics were not my cup of tea. But his personal life details still occupies some space in my brain, from where I heard of the place called Rameswaram for the first time. A man who inspired my generation. So I can’t think of missing his home when I am already in his land, which I have first pictured through his words in my mind.
The road got narrow as we head towards the former President’s house, with so many one-storied buildings on both sides of the road. The small shops and buildings were all proud of holding their name as Kalam, even though the street was named as mosque street. After walking for 5 minutes from the main road, we reached the house of Dr.Kalam. The one-storied thatched house has been rebuilt into a three-storied building, where they have showcased all his rewards and honorary degrees along with his hundreds of books which were his only valuable possessions. A man who believed that work was his vacation and passion, and who never believed in working.
6. A walk through the village
This is not the glamorous part of travelling but something I believe which is necessary to understand the culture and traditions of a place.
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