After so many plans, trip to Rameshwaram and Madurai was finalized. If end of September was not a very good time to visit Madurai for a family trip, it was not very bad too. Late evening train from Whitefield station reaches Madurai very early in morning. We had booking in TTDC Hotel Tamilnadu, which was near to the station. In fifteen minutes of early morning walk we could reach to the hotel. Hotel is decent one and well maintained. After quick check-in, we had a short sleep before the dawn. In morning, I got up ready and came out to have a walk before we go for Meenakshi temple. Best thing about this hotel, is its location. It's very near to the station as well as to the temple. We took autoricksaws and in next ten minutes we reached to temple entrance. Even with the early morning breeze we were feeling the heat. It was good that we planned the temple visit in morning. Madurai Meenakshi temple is known for one of the biggest temples of Hinduism but it's one of the most beautiful temples too. Big gopurams, sacred temple tanks and surrounding portico are gigantic. The thousand pillars hall is magnificent with numeric beautiful sculptures. After spending a good time in the temple premises, we came out and had south Indian breakfast. We went to the Thirumalai Nayakar palace which was nearby too. The palace is not well maintained and there was not much to see. In fact this palace is now being used for cultural programs. It was peak of the heat when we reached back to the hotel.
In the mid of the day, we went back to station to board our train to Rameshwaram. Temperature was at its peak and we could feel recuperated only when train started. It was a passenger train which takes more than four hours to reach Rameshwaram. Train stopped at each and every station. Then came the historic Pamban Bridge. Passing through hundred years old and one of the longest sea bridge was one of the delight from this trip. Seeing unending sea on both sides was amazing. After crossing the bridge, train reached to Rameshwaram station. We hired autoricksaws to reach our hotel. Again we had booking in Hotel Tamilnadu which is run by TTDC. Location of the hotel is superb. Rooms were small but well maintained. Our room was on first floor and we had a perfect view of sea from there. We quickly got ready to go for a ship ride in sea. Ferry point was connected to the hotel only. It was the last trip for the ship for the day. When we were in the mid of sea and far from coast, sunset happened. We enjoyed that atmosphere at most. After we came back, we had a short walk outside the hotel. We went up to Agniteertham which was not very far. It was almost dark there. We sat there for an hour and enjoyed the cool sound coming from the sea breeze. Then we went back to hotel restaurant and had a great dinner there. Food was like homemade and very tasteful.
After a good sleep, I woke up early in morning and came outside of room to enjoy the calmness of sea. It was a soothing experience. We got ready by eight and had tasteful breakfast before we started for Dhanushkodi. As we could not get a car so we hired two autoricksaws. After an hour drive we reached to Dhanushkodi beach. This is the point where bay of Bengal meets Indian ocean. Road ends here and private vehicles are allowed up to this point only. Here one had to go in old jeep which moves in path covered in sand. There is sea on both side and nothing else. After an adventurous half an hour drive we reached to the Dhanushkodi old village. We enjoyed being in the no-man's land. While returning we came through old Dhanushkodi station which was completely flooded in the cyclone of sixty. It's a ghost town now. Except for remaining of Dhanushkodi railway station and some old buildings, nothing is there. Few tender coconut vendors are the only people, who might be living there. We reached back to the beach and enjoyed playing in sea tide. Nearby Shop had a well for fresh water for taking bath at very minimal charge. After a pleasing engrossment at Dhanushkodi, we started back for Rameshwaram. Autoricksaw driver who was our guide now, took us to Bivishna temple, where Bivishna met Bhagwan Ram as per Ramayana. Then we went to APJ Kalam house, which is basically a shop run by his brother than a museum. From there we reached to Hanuman temple, where they display the floating rocks which they claim was used by Nal and Neel to build the setu or bridge to Lanka. In end, we went to the Rameshwaram temple which is the pinnacle of architecture in itself. The long corridors in temple are magnificent. We could have the darshan before it got closed for the day. From temple we walked to the hotel. We had a great lunch again in the hotel restaurant. Our train was in evening and we still had some time which we spent in their well-maintained park. Kids enjoyed the swings. In evening we moved to the station to take train for Madurai. Late night we reached to Madurai station, where we boarded another train for Bangalore. Fortunately train stopped at Carmelaram station in Bangalore which is near to our home. We reached to our home with lots of memories from this great excursion.