Rameshwaram is a sacred island known as one of the holiest places in India. I decided to take a day trip from Madurai. It meant not having to pack up my stuff or worry about new accommodation.
The temples in both places were being repainted and renovated which was disappointing. The famous temple in Rameshwaram is Ramanathaswamy Temple. The corridors, as pictured here, are 205m in length with 1212 pillars on the north and south sides.
Outside the main gate, there is a narrow strip of beach where pilgrims bathe as the water is believed to be holy. Fully clothed, people run in and soak themselves. I neglected to go in because I didn't want to stay wet for the remainder of the day ... this becomes comical a bit later.
I started to make my way to the temple when a guy whisked me away along with five others from my bus. I had my camera with me expecting to wander and have a look around. I came out with very few photos and I am about to explain why.
Before entering the inner temple, one is expected to, apparently, race around the outer temple's 22 tirthas. Each tank offers special benefits such as wisdom, long life, love and so on.
At tank number one, a man fills a bucket full of water and dumps it over my head. Now, we aren't talking about a little cup here ... we are talking a good sized bucket. By tank number seven, I was soaked from head to toe. By number fifteen, I'd just about had enough. The man was yelling two words at me, 'hello' and 'come', repeatedly. I was very looking forward to number twenty two.
Pilgrims were running through, slipping and falling on the wet temple floors and laughing with delight. I'm not sure I really got it. Standing there dripping wet, another man comes and takes me to a different part of the temple.
The inner temple didn't allow me much time either. I was rushed through all the while my forehead was being painted with white stripes and orange and red dots. And then, like that, it was over ... this guy was requesting money as he took me out of the main entrance.
Outside, the family of five looked radiant, glowing with happiness. They asked me how I felt and the only thing I could think to say was wet. It was an odd experience. Looking back now, it brings a smile to my face.
I miss the life of a traveler already ... never sure what you'll be faced with from one day to the next. As I look out my window, I remember I am in Taiwan and this is close to living a life on the road. I've been here since 2003. Settled has long set in. Perhaps, just perhaps, it's coming on that time to shake things up a little.