Rameshwara Setubandha is the place in Kamyavana where Krishna enacted the pastimes of Lord Ramachandra. At this isolated spot one can see a temple of Lord Shiva known as Rameshwara Mahadeva, which represents the holy Dhama of Rameshwara in Southern India, and Setubandha is the place from where Lord Ramachandra built a stone bridge and crossed the Indian Ocean to the island of Lanka. This temple lies at one end of a stone bridge that ran across a small lake called Setubandha-sarovara, representing the Indian Ocean, and lead to a small hill called Lanka Puri, representing the demon Ravana’s fabled city of Lanka. At the present moment this lake is dry for most of the year, accept during the rainy season. The word ‘setu’ means ‘bridge’ and ‘bandha’ means to ‘link-up’.
Unfortunately most of the stones used to make the bridge have disappeared. There was also a small forest nearby known as Ashokavana, which represents the Ashoka garden in Lanka where Sita Devi was kept as a prisoner by Ravana. One day Shri Krishna was enjoying pastimes with the gopis at this spot. At that moment a troupe of monkeys appeared from the nearby forest, and due to it being a very hot summer’s day, the monkeys in order to cool off started to jump from the trees into the lake. Seeing the monkeys reminded Lalita-sakhi about the adventures of Lord Rama. She told Vishakha-sakhi, that once when the demon Ravana kidnapped Sita Devi and took her away to Lanka, the monkeys built a bridge out of large stones across the ocean and on the order of Lord Rama, all the stones miraculously floated on the water. Lord Rama and his army were then able to cross the ocean and reach Lanka by walking on those stones. Hearing the talks between Lalita and Vishakha, Krishna suddenly declared that He was that very same Lord Rama and that in His previous life He had appeared in Ayodhya as the son of Maharaja Dasaratha. The gopis started laughing at Krishna’s boasting words and Lalita informed Krishna that if He was actually Lord Rama, He should take the help of the monkeys and immediately build a bridge by floating large stones over the lake, then only would the gopis believe that He was actually Lord Rama.
Taking up the challenge of the gopis and with the help of all the monkeys, Krishna assembled many large stones and after touching them with His lotus feet they began to float on the water, much to the amazement of the gopis, and within a short time a stone bridge had been erected across the lake. Seeing this wonderful and miraculous pastime, the gopis unanimously declared Krishna to be the very same Lord Ramachandra and gave the lake the name of Shri Rameshwara Setubandha. This same lake is also known as Lanka-kunda as well as Setubandha-sarovara. It is said that Shri Krishna personally established at one end of the stone bridge, the Shiva-linga known as Rameshwara Mahadeva, which represents Rameshwaram on the Indian side of the bridge, which was the place where Lord Ramachandra worshiped the deity of Shiva in order to kill the demon Ravana, who was a devoted follower of Shiva. From Rameshwara Setubandha there is a very good view of the former king of Kaman’s palace known as the Sheel Mahal, or ‘Eagle Palace’, which is perched on top of same hill on which the Chaurasi Khambha is also located.
-Adapted from Vraja Mandala Parikrama by Sri Rajasekhara Dasa Brahmachari.