Saturday, April 23, 2016

Dhanushkodi Theertham, Rameshwaram

Dhanushkodi Theertham, Rameshwaram
Dhanushkodi Theertham is one of the Theerthams in the island of RameswaramTamilnaduIndia. This is located beside the ghost town of Dhanushkodi at the easternmost tip of Rameswaram Island. Rama used his bow's (Dhanush) end (Kodi) to break the bridge - Adam's Bridge (hence the name). This bridge was used for his army to cross over to Lanka for the victorious war against Ravana. It is located at a distance of 18 km from Rameswaram Temple. 

After Ravana was killed, Lord Ramachandra along with his army returned to Rameswaram. At that time Vibhishana approached Lord Ramachandra and requested him that “this beautiful Sethu (bridge) which we have built is so good, but it gives easy access to Lanka and in future some demoniac kings may attack Lanka or some Rakshasha may come over and cause disruption here. So please break this bridge”. So upon the request of Vibhishana, Lord Ramachandra took his bow and with one end of the bow he cut the bridge into three parts and the bridge were destroyed. The two oceans (Bay of Bengal and Indian Ocean) which were separated by the bridge, merged together.

Sri Ramachandra called for all the holy waters and tirthams of the entire universe to enter universe to enter into Dhanushkodi Thirtham. All the heavenly tirthams personified came there and filled up the sea where the bridge was broken. The place is so beautiful that Lord Ramachandra and Sita Devi bathed here. Lord Rama said, “Anyone who comes here will be liberated from material bondage and we will shower our mercy on them.”

Sri Chaitanya Caritamrta Madhya Lila Chapter 9 verse 199 mentions that Lord Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu came to Dhanushkodi Thirtham during his South India tour and took bathe here.

In 1964 this place was struck by a cyclone and was completely washed away by. Now days, Dhanushkodi is a strip of land about 1 km wide and 18 km long on the eastern end of Rameswaram island. On one side are the waters of the Indian Ocean and on the other the waters of the Bay of Bengal. The two seas otherwise known as Ratnakaran and Mahodadhi with their confluence is shaped like a bow while the strip of land resembles an arrow poised for release.

It is a place where the rough water of Indian Ocean and the calm sea of Bay of Bengal confluence together. Before 1964 this was a flourishing place with Railway station called Ramnad (last station on Southern Railway), hospital and port for many ferry services between Dhanushkodi and Talai Mannar in Sri Lanka. Currently mute evidences remain in this place.

Dhanushkodi is about 18 miles West of Talai Mannar in Jaffna, Ceylon. Before 1964 storm there was a train service up to Dhanushkodi called Boat Mail from Chennai Egmore station. The train linked a steamer to Ceylon. During the 1964 storm a huge wave of about 20 feet came crashing on the town from Palk Bay/Strait east of the town and destroyed the whole town, a train, the Pamban Rail Bridge etc.

Dhanushkodi has the only land border between India and Ceylon which is one of the smallest in the world just 50 yards in length on a sand dune in Palk Strait. Buses from the local bus stand on East Car Street stop about 4km before the beach.

Faith & Beliefs
The month of Maasi (Kumbha) (Feb-Mar) is the most auspicious bathing period. Other auspicious days include Arthodayam, Mahodayam, and days of solar & lunar eclipses. 

References in Literature
References to this Tirtha are made in Sethu Puranam.