Rameswaram (Tamil Nadu), Jan 24: In a fitting tribute to Swami Vivekananda's tryst with this southern coastal town, an imposing memorial is being built on the pristine shores of Pamban island in Ramanathapuram district of Tamil Nadu.
The memorial, being built by the Tamil Nadu Government at a cost of Rs one crore near the Gulf of Mannar, would house a life-size statue of the spiritual personality, a photo gallery showcasing his life history and a meditation hall. Besides, it was proposed to start boat service and set up fountains to lure tourists to this place. Swami Vivekananda's association with this pilgrimage spot dated back to 1893 when he reached here on a 'padayatra'. Impressed by his vast knowledge of the scriptures, the then Ramanathapuram King Bhaskara Sethupathy had asked him to take part in the all religions conference in Chicago, US, and deliver a speech.
Accordingly, Swami Vivekananda had set sail to the US on May 31, 1893, and gave a historic speech to the global community on the glory of India and the high points of Hinduism. Winding up his four-year overseas visit, he had reached the Pamban island on January 26, 1897.
The memorial, which would provide a glimpse of the Swami's visit to Rameswaram, was an attempt to link his home state of West Bengal and the southern most State. Besides, the ancient Vivekananda Bhaskaram palace here would be renovated at a cost of Rs 50 lakh.