Mini Cooper S goes Mandapam to Dhanushkodi

Mandapam is the final town on the Indian mainland before you cross over to the island city of Rameshwaram. Legend has it that Rama, the supreme ruler of what eventually became India, had stopped here before invading Lanka, whose evil ruler Ravana had kidnapped and imprisoned his wife Sita, in a bid to forcefully marry her. Hence the name Rameshwaram. During his stay here, Rama himself is said to have established what is now considered one of the holiest Shiva temples in India – Ramnathswamy – one of 12 of its kind spread across India. The towering present day structure has all the nuances of ancient Dravidian culture, considered the most powerful alongside the Aryan race.

Religious tourism is big business in India, so a fair amount of effort goes into making these places more accessible. As it stands, Rameshwaram is an island city connected to mainland India by the Pamban, or to be politically correct, the Indira Gandhi Bridge. The road from Mandapam to Pamban starts as a proper four-lane highway but narrows down to two as it approaches the bridge.