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Kasi - Rameswaram cultural and religious significance

Kasi – Rameswaram:

The Sampoorna Yatra has its own cultural and religious significance. This yatra begins in Kasi and ends in Rameswaram by merging the waters of the Ganga with the sea waters of Rameswaram.


Kasi:

"Varanasi is older than history, older than tradition, older even than legend, and appears twice as old as all of them combined." This quote was not written by an Indian spiritual figure but by an English person.



Varanasi is remembered by:-

The flow tunes of Ganga

The chantings of Shiva mantra

The glow of Ganga harathi

The burnings of holy dead bodies

The tantrics and aghoris


The profound level of devotion makes Varanasi a timeless destination, as some devotees seek a holy death in Varanasi to attain Moksha. Bathing in the Ganga purifies the inner soul and washes away sins. Witnessing the aarti ceremony brings tears of joy to one's eyes. A hair-raising moment occurs when Aghoris praise Lord Shiva. Roaming through the streets of Varanasi reflects the essence of our legacy and traditions. On the banks of the River Ganga, people can discover the roots of human civilization.



Rameswaram:


Rameswaram, often referred to as the "Kashi of the South," attracts millions of devotees who embark on a pilgrimage to seek divine blessings and spiritual enlightenment. Rameswaram weaves a tale from the legendary Ramayana, where Lord Rama built a bridge, Ram Seta, to rescue his beloved Sita from the clutches of Raavan in nearby Sri Lanka.


The Ramanathaswamy temple in Rameswaram is dedicated to Lord Shiva and is one of the twelve Jyotirlinga temples. Rameswaram is renowned for its theerthams, totaling 22 in number. It is believed that bathing in these theerthams can cleanse one's sins. The Agni Theertham, located at the Bay of Bengal, holds particular significance due to its association with the Ramayana.


Cultural and Religious of Kasi – Rameswaram:


There is a custom of mixing the waters of the Ganges into the sea of Rameswaram, which makes for a complete pilgrimage. Let me share a short story behind this custom.



In the Navama Skandha of Srimad Bhagavatham, we can find the story of Ganga. Legend says that Sagara Chakravathi of the Ikshvaku Dynasty was ruling Ayodhya. He had two wives, Keshini and Sumathi. Keshini had a son named Asamanjasa, while Sumathi was blessed with 60,000 sons.


Once, Sagara performed the "Ashwamedha Yaga," which is a horse sacrifice mentioned in ancient scriptures as part of the Yagna ritual. The essence of this ritual is to have the horse wander through different kingdoms. During the sacrifice, the sacrificial horse arrived at Kapila Muni Ashram, which is now in Rameswaram. Kapila Muni got disturbed by the commotion of the nearby fellows and became angry, resulting in the 60,000 sons of Sagara being burned to ashes.


Worried, Sagara sent his grandson Anshumantha to find the ashes of his 60,000 sons and the horse. Kapila Muni advised him that only Ganga could cleanse away the sins. They made numerous attempts to bring Ganga down to earth, but they failed. Finally, King Bhagiratha, the grandson of Anshumantha, performed severe penance and succeeded in bringing Ganga down.

It is said that after Ganga enters Sagara, it touches the shore in Rameswaram near Agni Theertham, where the ashes of Bhagiratha's ancestors were present. In Treta Yuga, when Rama built the Sethu (Bridge) to go to Sri Lanka, Ganga could not reach the sands of Rameshwaram. Hence, it became a custom for every pilgrim to mix Ganga water into the sands of Rameswaram.


This custom has been followed for ages, and it is strongly believed that the pilgrimage is completed only when one mixes the waters of the Ganga into the sea of Rameswaram. Kashi - Rameswaram epitomize the spiritual essence of India with their ancient temples, religious rituals, and cultural heritage. They are deeply intertwined with mythology, legends, and the collective faith of millions of devotees who seek solace and connection with the divine.



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