Day 3 – Dhanushkodi

Date: 15-Aug-16

After having lunch in Rameshwaram, we headed towards Dhanushkodi, the south-eastern tip of India, situated in Pamban Island. The abandoned town is sometimes referred to as Ghost town. Once a flourishing town, the place was completely destroyed in the deadly 1964 Rameshwaram cyclone. The ruins of the town can be seen even today. Dhanushkodi means “End of the bow”. It is said that after lord Rama won the war, Vibhishana (Ravana’s brother) asked Rama to destroy the bridge that he constructed to reach Lanka. Rama broke the bridge with one end of his bow and hence the name Dhanushkodi.

On the Way to Dhanushkodi

Few interesting facts about Dhanushkodi are as follows (reference: Wikipedia):

  • The Kodhanda Ram Kovil temple marks the place where Rama is said to have begun his journey to Lanka.
  • Dhanushkodi has the only land border between India and Sri Lanka which is one of the smallest in the world-just 45 meters in length on a shoal (Water submerged surface) in Palk Strait.
  • Sri Lanka is just 19 miles (31km) away from tip of Dhanushkodi.
  • In December 2004, just before the arrival of 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami that struck South India, the sea around Dhanushkodi receded about 500 metres (1,600ft) from the coastline, exposing the submerged part of the town for a while.
  • At Dhanushkodi, one can see the deep and rough waters of Indian Ocean meeting the shallow and calm waters of Bay of Bengal.

Dhanushkodi Beach

We reached Dhanushkodi at 2 PM. When you are nearing Dhanushkodi, you can see the sea on both sides; Bay of Bengal on one side and Indian Ocean on the other side. In Dhanushkodi, the main attraction is the ruins of the lost town which was destroyed in 1964 cyclone. You cannot go near the ruins in your own vehicle. However, a new road was almost ready, but it was not accessible for four wheelers. You have to opt for the maxi cabs which will take you to the abandoned town. We parked our car in the parking lot and enquired with one of the maxi cab drivers. He charged 160 Rs/person and we agreed for that price and our rickety tempo journey started at 2.15 PM along with other 10 tourists. The tempo goes on the rough sands and sometimes on the water and reaches the Dhanushkodi beach. The ride is one of its kinds and will remain in your memories forever. Though the maxi cabs are not so clean, the plain white sands, the blue sea, and the absolutely peaceful nature will make you forget every small issues.

Dhanushkodi Beach

The first stop was Dhanushkodi beach. It was very neat and clean. There were few very small shops selling items made out of shell which were cheaper compared to the ones sold in Rameshwaram. The sea looked amazing from here. We spent only 10-15 minutes in the beach and then returned to the maxi cab to go the next destination. Next, the driver took us to the ruins of Dhanushkodi. The sight of the town was really dreadful and we could imagine how big the town and how furious the cyclone was !!

Ruins of Dhanushkodi

As Wikipedia says, the cyclone started from Andaman and hit Dhanushkodi on the night of 22–23 December 1964. It was estimated that tidal waves were 7 meters (23ft) high when it crossed Rameswaram. On the night of 22 December at 23:55 hours, train no. 653 left Pamban with 110 passengers and 5 railway staff, was only few hundred yards from entering the Dhanushkodi Railway Station when it was hit by a massive tidal wave. The whole train with 6 coaches was washed away, killing all 115 on board. Altogether, over 1,800 people died in the cyclonic storm. The town still shows the dark history behind it. The ruins of the big church, post office, the old railway track can be seen in ruins. The town now has very few shops and small houses whose daily earnings depend on the tourists who visit this place.

Ruins of Dhanushkodi Church

You can find one of the rocks which is assumed to be used in the construction of Rama Sethu in one of the small temples in the midst of the Dhanushkodi ruins. We were expecting the driver to take us to Rama Sethu (Adam’s bridge), a natural bridge that connects India with Srilanka and which is believed to be constructed by lord Rama for rescuing his wife Sitha from Ravana. But, he did not take us there instead he returned to the place where we started. We read in many blogs that most of the times, the drivers won’t take the tourists to Rama Sethu.

Pristine Blue Waters of Indian Ocean

After seeing the proof of mother nature’s fury, we returned from Dhanushkodi at 4 PM. On the way back, we stopped and went to the beach on one side of the road (Indian Ocean side). Pristine blue water of Indian Ocean was crystal clear and was treat for eyes. After spending few minutes there, we started our journey towards our next destination, Kanyakumari. En route, we stopped at Pamban Bridge and spent some time appreciating the engineering marvel.

  • Route Traveled: Rameshwaram > Dhanushkodi > Rameshwaram > Pamban Bridge > Thoothukudi > Kanyakumari > Hotel Sivamurugan > Kanyakumari 
  • Photos: Rameshwaram and Dhanushkodi Photos

See also:

Route Map:

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