Pamban Island

Pamban Island (Tamil: பாம்பன் தீவு Pāmpan Island), also known as Rameswaram Island, is an island located between peninsular India and Sri Lanka. The island is a part of India and forms the Rameswaram taluk of the Ramanathapuram district of the state of Tamil Nadu. It is the largest island in Tamil Nadu by area. The principal town in the island is the pilgrimage centre of Rameswaram.

Pamban Island
Map of Pamban island in 1955
Coordinates9°15′N 79°18′E / 9.25°N 79.3°ECoordinates: 9°15′N 79°18′E / 9.25°N 79.3°E
Area96 km2 (37 sq mi)
Length17.70 km (10.998 mi)
Width9.65 km (5.996 mi)
Coastline37 km (23 mi)
Highest elevation10 m (30 ft)
StateTamil Nadu
Population82,682 (2011)
Fishing schooners leaving for an evening haul with a narrow promontory on the western tip of Pamban Island in the background

Location and size

Panorama of Pamban island and ships sailing on Arabian sea from Pamban Bridge
Panorama of Pamban island and ships sailing on Arabian sea from Pamban Bridge

Pamban Island is situated between 9°11' N and 9°19' N latitude and 79°12' E to 79°23' E longitudes. The chain formed by Pamban Island, the shoals of Adam's Bridge, and Mannar Island of Sri Lanka separate Palk Bay and the Palk Strait in the northeast from the Gulf of Mannar in the southwest. Pamban Island extends for around 30 km in width from the township of Pamban in the west to the remains of Dhanushkodi towards the south-east. The length of the island varies from 2 km at the Dhanushkodi promontory to 7 km near Rameswaram. The area of the island is around 67 km2.


Pamban Island constitutes a separate taluk of Ramanathapuram district with four administrative divisions, Okarisalkulam, Mahindi, Pamban and Rameswaram.[1] There are two administrative villages, Pamban and Rameswaram. The two main towns on Pamban Island are Pamban and Rameswaram. There are also smaller settlements upon the island like Thangachimadam. The taluk headquarters is at Rameswaram. There are railway stations at Pamban and Rameswaram.

Rameswaram with a population of 38,035 (2001 census) is the largest and most populous town on the island. It is one of the most sacred Hindu religious sites and a pilgrimage destination for thousands of Hindus every year. The Ramanathaswamy Temple at Rameswaram has the longest corridor in Asia. Rameswaram is situated at the centre of the island, around 11 kilometres from the township of Pamban and 18 kilometres from Dhanushkodi.

Pamban, situated at the western edge of Pamban Island, is a fishing village and a harbour which is the main point of entry for the pilgrimage centre of Rameswaram. It has a population of around 9,000 inhabitants. Its importance has enhanced because it is located at the eastern end of Pamban Bridge through which supplies enter the island. Pamban is 11 kilometres from Rameswaram, 30 kilometres from the tip of Dhanushkodi and around 7 kilometres from Mandapam on the Indian mainland. It is separated from the Indian mainland by a narrow strip of sea.

Thangachi Madam situated between Pamban and Rameswaram is a minor settlement. It derives its name from a mutt(Madam) which is located in the town. There are a couple of temples and a few churches. The township is also served by a police station. Ekantharamar Temple constructed and maintained by the Kanchi mutt is the main attraction here.

At the eastern tip of the island lies the site of Dhanushkodi, a harbour and a pilgrimage centre, was washed away by the December 1964 cyclone. Prior to its destruction it was a flourishing township and a prominent place of pilgrimage. In its heyday, it rivalled Rameswaram in size and population. However, the December 1964 cyclone destroyed the town in its entirety claiming over 2,000 lives and crippling power supply and communications. Houses, temples, churches, dispensaries and dharmashalas were destroyed leaving nothing but a ghost town. Some of the dharmashalas and a prominent mutt based in Dhanushkodi have been moved to Rameswaram. But Dhanushkodi could never be rebuilt. Dhanushkodi was well connected by rail and road with Pamban and the mainland until the cyclone struck. The ruins of the station and the railway track have been left untouched thereby making the ghost-town a popular tourist destination.

Physical features and vegetation

Most of Pamban Island lies below sea-level. However, there are a few hillocks and elevated physical features in the vicinity of Rameswaram of which Mt.Gandamadana is the tallest. It is believed that this was the hillock from whose summit Lord Rama observed Lanka and conceived the idea of constructing a bridge between India and Lanka. A temple commemorates the exact site.

Most of Pamban Island is covered with white sand and hence is not suitable for cultivation. Coconut and palm trees are found in abundance apart from fig and eucalyptus plants. Scrubs and rushes are found in abundance all along the sea-shore.


  1. ^ Detailed map of Rameswaram taluka


1964 Rameswaram cyclone

The 1964 Rameswaram cyclone (also known as the Dhanushkodi cyclone) was regarded as one of the most powerful storms to ever strike India on record. The system was first identified as an area of low pressure over the Andaman Sea on December 15. Following interaction with a tropical wave, it began to develop and became a depression by December 18. Increasingly rapid intensification ensued over the following days with the cyclone attaining hurricane-force winds around 5°N the next day. Early on December 23, the storm struck Ceylon near Pamban Island with winds estimated at 240 km/h (150 mph), ranking it as a modern-day super cyclonic storm. Weakening somewhat, the storm soon struck Tamil Nadu. Rapid weakening followed once the cyclone was onshore and it degenerated into a depression on December 24 as it emerged over the Arabian Sea. The system later dissipated on December 26 over open water.

Adam's Bridge

Adam's Bridge (ātām pālam; Sinhala: adamgay palama), also known as Rama's Bridge or Rama Setu (Irāmar pālam, Sanskrit: rāmasetu), is a chain of limestone shoals, between Pamban Island, also known as Rameswaram Island, off the south-eastern coast of Tamil Nadu, India, and Mannar Island, off the north-western coast of Sri Lanka. Geological evidence suggests that this bridge is a former land connection between India and Sri Lanka.

The bridge is 48 km (30 mi) long and separates the Gulf of Mannar (south-west) from the Palk Strait (northeast). Some of the regions are dry and the sea in the area rarely exceeds 1 metre (3 ft) in depth, thus hindering navigational opportunities. It was reportedly passable on foot up to the 15th century until storms deepened the channel: temple records seem to say that Adam's Bridge was completely above sea level until it broke in a cyclone in 1480.


Dhanushkodi is an abandoned town at the south-eastern tip of Pamban Island of the state of Tamil Nadu in India. It is situated to the South-East of Pamban and is about 18 miles (29 km) west of Talaimannar in Sri Lanka. The town was destroyed during the 1964 Rameswaram cyclone and remains uninhabited in the aftermath.

Dhanushkodi railway station

Dhanushkodi railway station is an abandoned railway station in Tamil Nadu, India. It was abandoned during the 1964 Rameswaram cyclone.

Krusadai Island

Krusadai Island is an uninhabited island in the Gulf of Mannar situated south of Pamban Island. The island belongs to India and forms a part of the Gulf of Mannar Marine National Park.

List of islands in the Indian Ocean

This is a list of islands in the Indian Ocean.

List of islands of India

This is a partial list of islands of India. There are a total of 1,208 islands (including uninhabited ones) in India.

List of longest bridges above water in India

This is a list of India's bridges longer than 500 metres (1,640 ft) sorted by their full length above water.

Mannar Island

Mannar Island (Tamil: மன்னார் தீவு; Sinhala: මන්නාරම් දූපත) formerly spelt Manar Island, is part of Mannar District, Sri Lanka. It is linked to the main island of Sri Lanka by a causeway. It has an area of about 50 square kilometres, mainly covered with vegetation and sand. Adam's Bridge (Tamil: ஆதம் பாலம் āthām pālam), is a chain of limestone shoals, between Pamban Island, also known as Rameswaram Island, off the southeastern coast of Tamil Nadu, India, and Mannar Island, off the northwestern coast of Sri Lanka. Geological evidence suggests that this bridge is a former land connection between India and Sri Lanka.

Between 1914 and 1964, there was a train and ferry link from mainland India via Dhanushkodi and Talaimannar to Colombo, but this was not resumed after the disastrous damages caused by a cyclone in 1964. The Palk Strait bridge was proposed in June 2015, to link mainland India to Mannar.

The island is dry and barren; fishing is economically important.Its main settlements are Mannar and Erukkulampiddi on its eastern coast and Pesalai on its northern coast, all connected by the A14 road which leads across the bridge to mainland Sri Lanka

Mount Gandhamadana

Mt. Gandhamadana is the tallest peak on Pamban Island which lies in the Palk Strait between mainland India and Sri Lanka.


Pamban is a town in the Rameswaram taluk of Ramanathapuram district, Tamil Nadu. It is at the west edge of Pamban Island and is a popular fishing port. The town gives its name to the whole island. Pamban railway station is the first station on the island for pilgrims travelling to Rameswaram.

Pamban (disambiguation)

Pamban is a town on Pamban Island in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu.

Pamban may also refer to:

Pamban Bridge, a bridge on the Palk Strait which connects Rameswaram on Pamban Island to mainland India

Pamban Island, an island located in the Palk Strait between mainland India and Sri Lanka

Pamban Lighthouse, on Pamban Island

Pamban Swamigal (1848–1929), Saivite saint and poet

Pamban Bridge

Pamban Bridge is a railway bridge which connects the town of Rameswaram on Pamban Island to mainland India. Opened on 24 February 1914, it was India's first sea bridge, and was the longest sea bridge in India until the opening of the Bandra-Worli Sea Link in 2010. The rail bridge is, for the most part, a conventional bridge resting on concrete piers, but has a double-leaf bascule section midway, which can be raised to let ships and barges pass through. Until 1988, the Pamban bridge was the only surface transport that connected Tamil Nadu's island of Rameswaram to the mainland. In 2018, the bascule of this bridge is damaged. This damage suspended the transportation on the bridge for 3 months. Rail movement was again restored on 10 March 2019.

In 1988, a road bridge was also constructed parallel to the rail bridge. This road bridge is also known as Indira Gandhi Road Bridge. The Pamban Road Bridge connects the National Highway (NH 49) with the Rameswaram island. It stands on the Palk Strait and between the shores of Mandapam (a place on the Indian mainland) and Pamban (one of the fishermen town in Rameswaram island). It was inaugurated by former Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi on 2 October 1988. This 2.345 km long Bridge took close to 14 years to be completed.

Pamban Lighthouse

The Pamban Lighthouse is one of the two lighthouses on the Rameswaram island in Tamil Nadu. It is also known as Pamban channel northwest point lighthouse.

Pullivasal Island

Pullivasal Island is an uninhabited island in the Gulf of Mannar situated south of Pamban Island. The island belongs to India and forms a part of the Gulf of Mannar Marine National Park. The area of sea grass beds along the coast is 5.89 square kilometres.

Ramanathapuram district

Ramanathapuram District is an administrative district of Tamil Nadu state in southern India. The town of Ramanathapuram is the district headquarters. Ramanthapuram District has an area of 4123 km2. It is bounded on the north by Sivaganga District, on the northeast by Pudukkottai District, on the east by the Palk Strait, on the south by the Gulf of Mannar, on the west by Thoothukudi District, and on the northwest by Virudhunagar District. The district contains the Pamban Bridge, an east-west chain of low islands and shallow reefs that extend between India and the island nation of Sri Lanka, and separate the Palk Strait from the Gulf of Mannar. The Palk Strait is navigable only by shallow-draft vessels. It also contains Theriruveli, a small village. As of 2011, Ramanathapuram district had a population of 1,353,445 with a sex-ratio of 983 females for every 1,000 males.

Ramanathapuram railway station

Ramanathapuram railway station is a railway station serving the town of Ramanathapuram in Tamil Nadu, India.

The station is a part of the Madurai railway division of the Southern Railway Zone and connects the city to various parts of the state as well as the rest of the country.


Rameswaram, (also spelt as Ramesvaram, Rameshwaram) is a town and a second grade municipality in the Ramanathapuram district in the South Indian state of Tamil Nadu. It is on Pamban Island separated from mainland India by the Pamban channel and is about 40 kilometres from Mannar Island, Sri Lanka. It is in the Gulf of Mannar, at the tip of the Indian peninsula. Pamban Island, also known as Rameswaram Island, is connected to mainland India by the Pamban Bridge. Rameswaram is the terminus of the railway line from Chennai and Madurai. Together with Varanasi, it is considered to be one of the holiest places in India to Hindus, and part of the Char Dham pilgrimage.

It is said the Hindu god Rama built a bridge from here across the sea to Lanka to rescue his wife Sita from her abductor Ravana. The Ramanathaswamy Temple, dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva, is at the centre of the town and is closely associated with Rama. The temple and the town are considered a holy pilgrimage site for Shaivas and Vaishnavas.Rameswaram is the closest point from which to reach Sri Lanka from India, and geological evidence suggests that the Rama Sethu was a former land connection between India and Sri Lanka. The town has been in the news over the Sethusamudram Shipping Canal Project, Kachchatheevu, Sri Lankan Tamil refugees and capturing local fishermen for alleged cross-border activities by Sri Lankan Forces. Rameswaram is administered by a municipality established in 1994. The town covers an area of 53 km2 (20 sq mi) and had a population of 44,856 as of 2011. Tourism and fishery employ the majority of workforce in Rameswaram.

Rameswaram taluk

Rameswaram Taluk (Tamil: ராமேஸ்வரம் தாலுகா) is a taluk of Ramanathapuram district of the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. The headquarters of the taluk is the town of Rameswaram. The taluk comprises the whole area of Pamban Island.

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