This weekend I've been to Madurai and Rameshwaram, both are wonderful places. This was the itinerary.

Bangalore -> Salem -> Madurai
Madurai -> Rameswaram (600 kms)

Return from Rameswaram -> Pudukottai -> Tiruchirapally (Trichi) -> Salem -> Bangalore
The roads are excellent. But keep your purse ready as there are 5 tolls on this road.

Places to see in Madurai:- Meenakshi Temple
Places to see in Rameswaram :- Ramanathaswamy Temple, Pamban Bridge , Dhanuskodi

Places to stay in Rameswaram:- There are few good hotels, so it is advised to book before going.
We stayed at a hotel called "Hotel Sunrise View" for 1600 Rs for a double bed room. The hotel is located right at the front of the main temple.
There is another hotel , TTDC ( owned by Govt of Tamil Nadu) at the far end of the Rameswaram beach drive. This hotel location is serene and away from the busy market. Room rents range from Rs 675 onwards.
One needs AC during day time because its pretty hot in Rameswaram , but after evening its very cool and pleasant.
Very few people actually stay in Rameswaram, it is evident by the number of public toilets available.

Where to eat in Rameswaram :- There are few quality restaurants in Rameswaram. Also non-veg restaurants are practically non existent in this pilgrimage centre. There is a nice Gujarati Bhojanalaya with very good food.

How to go around in Rameswaram:- There are a few places to see around Rameswaram. The best way to travel is by Auto. Auto drivers take around Rs 250 for a auto ride around 8 different places to see. They also double up as guides. There are big autos which can easily accommodate 6 to 8 persons.
Dhanuskodi , known as the death City is 18 km from Rameswaram. One has to take a different vehicle like a jeep or mini truck ( with 4 wheel drive) to go to see the Dhanuskodi beach.
These vehicles charge Rs 80 per head if they can fill up the vehicle or Rs 900 (for jeep) or Rs 1600(for truck ) flat rate if you book the vehicle completely. These extremely primitive vehicles keep their engines running when they are in Dhanuskodi , maybe a superstition , maybe the engines are so rotten that they wouldn't start without a push.

Beware: Both Madurai and Rameswaram have changed a lot over the years. There is a lot of renovation done in these temples , but some of this is done very badly. Like they have painted the ceilings and some pillars in childish ways which take away the charm of the temple so sacred for hundreds of years.
Foreigners always had to pay 10 times extra for the entry fee and camera fees. Instead of trying to get rid of this hypocritical policy it seemed to have increased several times. There are new stuffs like "Special Darshans " at special prices.


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