Rameshwaram- Activities of Vivekananda Kendra (NARDEP)


Rameshwaram is a sacred site for all Indians. This is where Rama built the Setu or bridge with the help of the Vanaras, to cross the sea and go to Lanka to rescue his wife Sita.

The pilgrimage at Rameswaram, which begins with a holy dip at the Agni Teertham followed by a bath at 22 other teerthams (wells) situated within the temple, concludes at Kodi teertham at Danushkodi. Out of the existing water bodies, 11 ponds, 4 wells and 1 sea bathing enclosure are in a very bad shape and are in dire need of renovation.

Ecological potential of the teertha

Recharging of ground water and rainwater harvesting are essential. The revival of nandavanam with appropriate and specific keystone species will improve the ecology of the teertha. 


Vivekananda Kendra is preserving epigraphical data, promoting knowledge of historical facts, raising awareness to conserve the significance of each teertha as well as protecting the cultural activities associated with them. Creating new livelihood possibilities for local communities is an important aspect. Better environment and additional pilgrim spots will attract more visitors. Apart from cultural and ecological benefits, direct economic benefits can also be reaped by functional groups of Rameswaram such as pilgrim guides, hoteliers, auto drivers and temple priests.

The activities include

  • A complete documentation of the teerthams: cultural, social andecological dimensions.
  • Awareness creation regarding each teertham for the local communities
  • Revival of the teerthams with community participation
  • Promotion of eco-pilgrimage of the teerthams
  • Sustainable management of teerthams by local communities
  • Cleaning the shrubs and thorny trees around the teerthams
  • Desilting
  • Maintenance of inlet and outlet of each teertham
  • Repairing the compound wall and steps
  • Laying of paving blocks as part of the beautification process
  • Electrification
  • Plantation of trees of medicinal value
  • Renovation of associated temples and installation of idols
  • Setting up information boards with name and significance of the tank including in vernacular languages
  • Bringing out an information brochure on the significance of  the teerthams

The major teerthams to be renovated are

  • Agni teertham
  • Nakula teertham
  • Sahadeva teertham
  • Draupadi teertham
  • Hanuman Kunda teertham
  • Naga teertham
  • Agastya teertham
  • Jataayu teertham
  • Lakshmana teertham
  • Rama teertham
  • Amritavapi teertham
  • Runa vimochana teertham
  • Mangala teertham
  • Sugreeva teertham
  • Angatha teertham
  • Jambavan teertham


C.P.R. Environmental Education Centre (CPREEC) has selected 7 acres of land adjoining Mangala tirtham at Rameshwaram for developing a sacred grove. The area has been cleaned of Prosopis juliflora, which has overgrown most of Rameshwaram. The 7 acres are planted with indigenous coastal varieties such as Alexandrian laurel, Portia tree, Neem, Palmyra palm, Indian beech, Tamarind, Babul, Indian siris, Banyan and Pipal.

Mangala tirtham is located north of Thangachi madam and is regarded as the kingdom of Manojava, son of Anila or the Wind.

There are 64 tirthas or holy water bodies in and around Rameshwaram, of which 24 are important. 14 are in the form of tanks and wells within the temple and the remaining 10 are situated around the island. Traditionally, the tirthas were located in the middle of a sacred forest and the pilgrimage to Rameshwaram involved visiting the 22 tirthas by foot and bathing in the waters. After a dip in the sacred tirthas, the pilgrims would rest in the forest and, if necessary, help themselves to the medicinal plants situated therein.








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