India is an incredible country offering the best of nature. There are surprises and mysterious elements as well that add to the beauty of the country. With each state, the language, food, culture, and landscapes vary. It gives the discerning travelers all they need to experience the diverse nature of the country. One such mysterious place in the country is Dhanushkodi, about which I will be writing in this article. I am pretty sure, by the time you finish reading it, you would get that wanderlust to explore Dhanushkodi.
The Location Of Dhanushkodi
Lying in the Rameshwaram district of Tamil Nadu, Dhanushkodi is the meeting point of human beings and wonders of nature. A mysterious place, Dhanushkodi does not usually feature on the tourist map as it is also hard to reach. However, it is too good to resist. Dhanushkodi lies on the Pamban Island, far away from the mainland. People need to cross the famous Pamban Bridge to reach the spot.
The journey to Dhanushkodi involves crossing through several fishing villages, with some mesmerizing views of the Palk Strait on offer. Yes, you read that right, as the Palk Strait is the one that lies between India and Sri Lanka. Dhanushkodi has the Indian Ocean on one side and the Bay of Bengal on the other. For years, it served traders and pilgrims as a critical port. Ferry services were also operational between Dhanushkodi and Talaimannar (Ceylon), used by passengers and traders.
The Sacred Connection With Ram Setu
Dhanushkodi is unique for more than just its ruins. The town has a mythological connection with Ramayana. According to mythic tales, Dhanushkodi is the place where Lord Hanumana got requested by Lord Rama to build a bridge. It would help carry his soldiers to Sri Lanka. It was when Ravana had Sita with him. Lord Hanumana obliged, and it is the place where the Vanara Sena built the Ram Setu. According to some myths, the Ram Setu starts from a beautiful stretch of sandy shore. People also believe it to be one end of the bridge broken by Lord Rama with his bow and arrow.
Dhanushkodi Of The Yesteryears
Dhanushkodi was a prosperous town during the British Raj and had everything from proper houses, railway stations, temples and churches, government offices, etc. You might get surprised, but Sri Lanka is only 31 km away from this place. However, all of that became history when a horrifying cyclone left the town devastated in 1964.
All that Dhanushkodi has today is a sandy shoreline and ruins everywhere. It might look eerie to some of you as what was once a bustling town is in ruins now. There was a train service named Boat Mail from Madras Egmore up to Dhanushkodi, which would drop people on the south-eastern side of the town. Passengers would then need to take a steamer for the onward journey up to Sri Lanka.
The 1964 Cyclone That Changed Everything In Dhanushkodi
17 December 1964 saw a depression in the South Andaman Sea, which brought about the devastating cyclone. The depression intensified into a cyclonic storm two days later on 19 December. From 21 December onwards, it started moving at the rate of 400-560 km per day. The wind velocity when crossing Vavunia of Ceylon on 22 December was 280 km/ph. From there, it moved to the Palk Strait, where it crashed into Dhanushkodi on the night of 22 and 23 December.
There was a passenger train, plying between Pamban and Dhanushkodi, which got hit by the massive tidal waves over eight yards high. There were 110 passengers and 5 railway staff onboard the passenger train that got washed away. This unfortunate tragedy also wrecked the Pamban Bridge, which connected the Rameshwaram Island with the Indian mainland.
The town witnessed over 1800 people dying due to the storm and all houses were shattered. According to eyewitnesses, the cyclone didn’t touch the main temple at Rameshwaram, where people took refuge from the storm. Subsequently, the town got declared as a ghost town unfit for living by the Government of Madras.
Fishermen Community In Dhanushkodi
Dhanushkodi still has remains of the railway tracks, schools, hospitals, and other buildings covered in sand. You can reach the town either on foot or taking jeeps and tempos of fishermen. The clustered villages have around 50 houses made of thatched roofs. People living here have to depend on fishing and tourists as the source of their income. There are around 500 people living in Dhanushkodi now.
Availability Of Sweet Drinking Water In Dhanushkodi
You might be surprised to know but there are spots discovered by locals where they get sweet drinking water. One of them is at an area bordering the two oceans. Locals dig in the sand with bare hands to form a pit from where the water emerges. Dhanushkodi is indeed a land of surprises.
I am sure after reading all these details about Dhanushkodi you would want to explore the place. It will never fail to surprise you with its charm. It has unmatched natural beauty, history, mystery, and much more. If you are someone who loves the sea, you should not miss out on visiting Dhanushkodi. I am also on IG, FB, Twitter, YT. Subscribe to my blog and social media handles to receive regular updates delivered right on your mobile.