Dhanushkodi, The Ghost Town of India & The Legend of A Mythical Bridge

Check out all the other places on this island here

A bustling port town providing passage between India and Sri Lanka,
Home to a large fishing community,
Catering to weary pilgrims and travellers,
Flourishing hub for merchants and businesses,
The very place where Lord Ram pointed to Lord Hanuman to build a bridge across to Sri Lanka to rescue his wife.

A horrid cyclone hit the town in 1964 with waves scaling 8 yards,
Washing away everything that existed,
Rendering the town unfit for inhabitation,
Ruins of a Church, a Temple, a School, a Railway Station, now stand as proof of this tragedy

Yet, this 20 km stretch from Rameshwaram to Dhanushkodi is a drive worth taking.
The Naval Check Post now lets vehicles glide on smooth roads to reach the tip of the land,
Flanked on one side by the Bay of Bengal and by the Arabian Sea on the other,
With sunsets of gold and waters so blue,
It makes you forget the tragedy and draws you into a sullen calmness.

Welcome, to Dhanushkodi (literally translating to “End of the Bow”)

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Catherdral at Dhanushkodi

We started our drive from Rameshwaram at 3:30 p.m. A 20 km long stretch takes you to Dhanushkodi. The roads are wide and newly built; it was a total cruise! On the way we even passed a stretch of area with white sands, reminiscent of the Rann of Kutch or the Bolivian sands, if you may!

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White Sands Enroute Dhanushkodi

The roads suddenly began to change and the views were now of cream-coloured sands and waters of the brightest blue on either side.

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Roads of Dhanushkodi

In a few minutes, as you near the Navy Check-post, you are presented with views of the ruined village, that until not so long ago was up and about. Now the roads are lined on both sides with thatched houses, inhabited by fisher folk, selling beautiful shell artifacts and local fish curries.

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Clean beaches lined with Thatched Huts at Dhanushkodi Beach

We parked before the check-post to explore the ruins and were welcomed with cries of Peacocks! Perched on the rooftops of the houses and ruins, the birds were roaming free in plain sight. In fact, during the migratory season (November-January) you will find flocks of birds on these lands.

We set out to explore this beauty, set on one of the cleanest shores ever! There is an eerie feeling when walking through the ruins, imaging what it was in its prime days. There are still traces of a rail track and a part of the Railway Station. The other side of the now deserted town holds even more ruins. It’s ironical how beautiful ruins look to those who haven’t felt the pain of it.

Given that it was a weekday, we had the whole beach to ourselves. The quietness was only disturbed by sounds of crashing waves. Our photographs were devoid of any other tourists and we could capture these memories in all its glory.

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Ruins of the Old Railway Station at Dhanushkodi
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Benefits of Travelling on a Weekday!

We drove ahead to reach the land’s end and the nautical borders of India-Sri Lanka. We grabbed some fresh, warm tea and hit the coast on the western side first. The colours of the water on either side are different and that is amazing to experience. Especially when you can make it out so distinctly.

This is the exact spot were the mythical Ram Sethu or Adam’s Bridge is said to start. Rahul, having made me watch documentaries (and whatever it’s shorter versions are called) had us both excited about the exact location of where we were. So we pulled out GPS to spot the right direction to look towards Sri Lanka and walked as close to the water as allowed!

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Technically, I’m on the Ram Sethu from Dhanushkodi to Sri Lanka

The Palk Strait between India’s Pamban (Rameshwaram) Island and Sri Lanka’s Mannar Island houses the famous Ram Sethu (Adam’s Bridge) which was said to have been built by Lord Ram’s faithful army of Vanars (monkeys) to help him rescue his wife Sita from the Asura King Ravana in Sri Lanka. Although, one cannot see it with their naked eye, pictures of this mythical bridge were released by NASA. It shows a series of a submerged chain of low islands and reef shoals that together form the bridge.

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The Pristine Waters of Dhanushkodi Beach

By now, the sky was changing colours. We are suckers for dramatic sunsets and each time we get awed by nature’s magic. This one though was extra special with the Arabian Sea side, turning golden and the Bay of Bengal side reflecting some gorgeous colours!

We hi-fied to ourselves for making it to our 3rd national border of India together and then went on watch experience a magical sunset.

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Views Worth a Lifetime! The Road to Dhanushkodi flanked by the Arabian Sea and Bay of Bengal on either sides

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Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive from Mumbai to Madurai.
Explore Madurai Meenakshi Temple and Thirumalai Nayacker Palace.
There are also options to shop for some beautiful sarees from the local market.
Stay overnight at Madurai
Or
Drive to Rameshwaram (3 hours)

Day 2: Explore the Ramanathaswamy Temple
Visit the Pamban Sea Rail Bridge View Point
Visit Dr. Abdul Kalam’s Memorial
Leave for Dhanushkodi (20 kms from Rameshwaram)
On the way you can also visit the Kothandaramaswamy Temple as a quick stop. (The Temple is said to have survived the catastrophic cyclone)

Note: The entry to Dhanushkodi stops at 5 p.m. and those already in, have to leave by 5:30 p.m. So make sure to be there on time to explore the ruins and enjoy the sunset.

Day 3: Leave for Madurai and onwards flight.

Optional

You can add one more day to your trip.
Try out some of the best snorkeling/scuba diving experiences in Rameshwaram and spend the evening relaxing at the serene Ariyaman or Khushi Beach.

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