The American Cyclopædia (1879)/Ramisseram, or Rameswar
RAMISSERAM, or Rameswar, an island between Ceylon and the continent of India, at the W. extremity of the chain of rocks and sand banks, called Adam's Bridge, that stretch across from Ceylon and separate Palk strait from the gulf of Manaar. The island is of irregular shape, about 12 m. long and 6 m. broad. It is separated from the mainland by the Pamban passage, which has been improved and deepened by the British government, until its depth at low water now ranges from 11 to 14 ft. Several schemes for the construction of a ship canal across the W. end of the island itself are under consideration. The surface is generally low, and there are tracts of considerable extent covered by swamps. It is well watered, and there is a fresh-water lake nearly 3 m. in circumference. It has on its E. side, in lat. 9° 15′ N., lon. 79° 20′ E., a town of the same name, containing about 1,000 houses and a magnificent pagoda built of immense blocks of granite; its inhabitants are principally Brahmans. The island is looked upon as a place of great sanctity by the Hindoos, and pilgrimages are undertaken to it from the most distant parts of India, the annual number visiting the great pagoda being estimated at 30,000.