Saturday, 4 May 2013

Unique temple where Ram and Ravan reside together

The temple, which has the longest corridor in the world, stretches as stories from Ramayana are painted on every wall. There are many legends here, but the one that is most often reinforced is how Rama prayed to Lord Shiva to absolve him of any sins committed during the war. Rama asked Hanuman to get him a lingam from the Himalayas but as the monkey god took time, Sita carved a small lingam, which is placed in the sanctum here.

It is not just the temples that tell stories. Every drop of water here has a story to narrate. I journey around the forests to locate some of the temples and wells. On my way to Dhanushkodi I stop in the middle of a dry forest scattered with thorny shrubs. The path cuts through the wilderness and we walk through the trees until we see a board for ‘Jada Theertham’. Surrounded by dense trees is a tank under a peepal tree with a temple close by. A priest tells us that this is where Rama washed his hair (Jada) after he killed Ravana and he had installed a lingam here. Another fascinating legend says that this is where Jatayu, the king of birds, fell after his fight against Ravana.

Legends follow me wherever I go. I am headed to Villondi Teertham, right in the middle of the  ocean. The sea looks pristine blue and the azure waters sparkle in the sunlight. A bridge appears in the middle of nowhere taking me right into the ocean. A small well here is filled with water. You are allowed a sip and the water is absolutely sweet. “This is where Rama pierced his arrow to ensure sweet water flowed to quench Sita’s thirst,” says the caretaker. I am also told that Rama’s bow and arrow are buried here. Hence the name Villondi Teertham.Rameshwaram is many things to many people, as devotees all over the world visit the Dakshin Kasi. To me however it is the stories from the Ramayana that pervade the landscape here. I sit by the oceans and as the waves lash, I can imagine the army of birds, squirrels, monkeys and bears getting ready to fight the war against Ravana. The sea has many moods and colours here. At some places it looks deceptively calm, luring you with its blue-green shades, but in other places, it purges your mind and body. And as it changes colours yet again, I am completely lost in the world of epics and legends where good prevails over evil.