A Trip to Dr Kalam's Land
The quaint town of Rameswaram is not only famous for its scenic beauty. Unknown to many, it is the birthplace of a former President of India and a great man of science, Dr Abdul Kalam.
By G Sreenivasulu
India's Missile Man and the most loved President of the country, Dr A P J Abdul Kalam had big dreams of transforming India into a force to reckon with. The Government is all set to unveil a majestic memorial for the late President on the occasion of his second death anniversary (July 27) at his hometown, Rameswaram. As we commemorate Dr A P J Abdul Kalam Memorial Day, we take you on a little exploratory trip to the quaint town, which is also a popular destination for pilgrims. It is a must-visit for families, especially children, for whom the great man is truly an inspiration.
The abode of the missile man: A museum of reminiscences
- The modest house, where the young Kalam and his siblings were brought up by their parents, is located on Mosque Street.
- It was reconstructed in 2010, but still has its old-world charm intact.
- Called the ‘House of Kalam’, it has been converted into a museum, which narrates the story of Dr Kalam’s childhood, his career and achievements.
Memorabilia from the great man’s life
- The Indian Air Force uniform that was worn by Dr Kalam during his flight aboard the Sukhoi fighter jet in 2006.
- The light-weight artificial limbs developed by Dr Kalam and his team, using rocket science.
- Replicas of various missiles that Dr Kalam worked on when he was with the DRDO (Defence Research and Development Organisation).
- A huge collection of rare photographs, certificates and medals.
The alma mater of Rameswaram’s favourite son of the soil
- The People's President, who could connect with millions of young minds and enjoy a great bond with them, had his primary education here at the Mandapam Panchayat Union Elementary School, before moving to Schwartz Higher Secondary School, Ramanathapuram. The school is only a few metres away from his house.
Rest in peace, People’s President!
- The man who dared to have a great vision for India rests here - the memorial of Dr Kalam at Pei Karumbu by the Pamban-Rameswaram highway.
- A small shed had been raised over the tombstone and the whole area had been fenced. The grand memorial being inaugurated by the Prime Minister of India on Dr Kalam's second death anniversary on July 27 has been built close to his tomb.
People to meet
- The centenarian, Mohammed Muthu Meeran Labbai Maraikayar, Dr Kalam’s affectionate elder brother
- Sheik Saleem, the grandnephew of Dr Kalam
The town of Rameswaram, located on the island of Rameswaram (also known as Pamban Island), is separated from mainland India by the Pamban Channel.
The Ramanathaswamy Temple, is one of the 12 existing Jyothirlinga (the Radiant Sign of The Almighty Shiva) temples, and is a place of holy pilgrimage for millions of devotees. The temple and its surroundings have 64 holy water tanks (Thirthas) which are considered highly sacred.
The Indira Gandhi Setu (the road bridge) is 2.3 km long and connects Rameswaram to Mandapam town on the mainland. It is the second longest sea bridge in India, after the Bandra-Worli sea link, and was opened in 1982, much before the Bandra-Worli sea link was even visualised.
The railway bridge (also known as Pamban Bridge), which runs parallel to the road bridge (connecting Rameswaram and Mandapam town), is an engineering marvel and was constructed in 1914. This cantilever bridge has been designed to open up to make way for ships that pass through and still stands strong despite being located on one of the world’s harshest seas.
How to get there:
- The nearest airport is Madurai
- Mandapam town railway station is connected to all major cities in Tamil Nadu
- Connected to all major cities in Tamil Nadu
- Rameswaram has some good, affordable hotels
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