It is considered one of the highest in recent years
RAMANATHAPURAM: Rameswaram, the famous temple island in southern Tamil Nadu, witnessed a huge crowd on Sunday.
Though summer period (April and May) is one of the main seasons, Sunday’s crowd was considered one of the highest in recent years.
The hoteliers attributed this heavy crowd to coincidence of Ammavasya on Sunday. Moreover, since the day was the penultimate weekend of May, the tourists, including pilgrims, chose to visit Rameswaram before the start of school season.
A large number of vans, buses and cars, which reached Rameswaram island at the early hours, lined up on the main road due to traffic snarls at several places. Several tourists, who came from different states, mostly from Kerala and Andhra Pradesh, struggled to reach Rameswaram.
While some reached the temple by hiring autos, many preferred walk.
“I reached Semmamadam near Rameswaram at 3 a.m. I could not move the van beyond that point till 10 a.m., as hundreds of vehicles were parked along the road,” said K. Ashokan of Pappireddypatti in Salem district.
He said haphazard parking was also one of the reasons for the traffic jam. The police and other authorities could not have expected the huge number of vehicles on a single day. However, they should have posted at least a few more personnel in anticipation.
The agni theertham shore, temple, Ramar “patham”, Pamban bridge and other tourist interested places received heavy crowd. The 22 bathing gates (holy theerthams) had enormous gathering. A large number of tourists also visited Danushkodi, a destroyed but holy coastal town in the 1964 cyclone.
The hotels, restaurants, eateries and others had tough time to meet the requirements of customers. Several pilgrims found extremely difficult to find place for having food. Similar situation prevailed in Ramanathapuram, first major point on NH 49 towards Madurai from Rameswaram.
“We started getting customers from 6.30 a.m. onwards. There is no respite till 4.30 p.m. We also felt tough to serve them properly due to heavy crowd,” said a hotelier in Ramanathapuram.
The bus stands in Rameswaram and Ramanathapuram also several streams of passengers. Almost all buses were packed to the capacity.