“A ship is safe in the harbour, but that’s not what ships are built for.” -Gael Attal
I was in love with Rameswaram, the moment we set our foot on this Kalam’s (Dr.A.P.J.Abdul Kalam) land. This was a trip I was longing for, from the moment I saw a video of old junkie jeeps and tempos taking its travellers through half knee-length water. It seems like there is no road and these jeeps and tempos are moving like boats through the water.
Dhanushkodi, which means the tip of a bow, is a small abandoned town facing the Gulf of Mannar, at the southern tip of the Pamban Island at Tamil Nadu in India. It is 20 km from Rameswaram and 31 km to Sri Lanka. Dhanushkodi is completely separated from rest of the Pamban Island by water around it.
Sun was at peace with us and wind was a constant companion throughout our journey. Our old grandfather jeep was full of energy to take us for a rollercoaster ride through the white sand beach and submerged invisible water road.
After 45 minutes ride, we reached our destination, the southeastern tip of India. Beach was almost empty with 2 to 3 other tourist groups other than us. So we were left with our own peace in this serene land. Facing the Gulf of Mannar, on my right there the roaring Indian ocean with high waves like an angry young man and on my left, the quiet and peaceful Bay of Bengal with nearly no waves, tickling my feet and taking the sand secretly below from my feet.
It was a love at first sight moment for me with the aqua blue water of Bay of Bengal. The sea was so calm and so clear that I could see the seashells hidden below the tiny waves and the jellyfishes which came all its way to greet us.
One could see the merge of both Indian ocean and Bay of Bengal at Adam’s Bridge(Rama Setu) built of limestones, which is connecting Sri Lanka and India. It starts from Dhanushkodi and ends at the Mannar island of Sri Lanka. Currently, the bridge is submerged and not in use. Adam’s bridge is nearly 4 to 5 km from Dhanushkodi and there is no road available. If you are interested in a long walk on the seashore then this is a must go place to feel the two oceans merging below your feet. Unfortunately, we couldn’t go there since our jeep driver was making it a hurry.
WHY IS DHANUSHKODI HAUNTED?
Dhanushkodi was a small town full on its swing with a decent number of population until the cyclone hit in the year 1964, which took away the life of nearly 2000 people and left the Pamban bridge destroyed. The entire town was abandoned and isolated, declaring it’s not fit to survive by the Govt of Madras calling it ‘Ghost town’ and haunted.
Even though it is not fit to survive still a small group of fishermen lives there. Dhanushkodi ruins are one of the main tourist attractions and it stands out there as a cyclone monument. There are so many small shacks around the ruins, where people making their living by selling the shells. Get into one of them and buy the shell to feel the sea in your ears.
Rama Setu, which means Rama’s bridge has a mythological story to narrate. In the epic Ramayana, Adam’s bridge(Rama Setu) was built by the vanara(ape-man) army of Lord Rama accompanied by Lord Lakshmana and Lord Hanuman by the supervision of Nala, to cross the sea to reach Lanka and rescue Sita Devi from the capture of Ravana. The bridge built of floating stones, are still visible in Dhanushkodi. There are so many controversies going on about these mysterious floating stones.
TIPS FOR TRAVEL
If you can excuse the heat of the sun, then you can opt for summer(April to June). It is not advisable to visit during the monsoon(July to September), as the area is prone to the cyclone and little dangerous. Winter is the best time to visit here, as the weather is pleasant. Preferably go in the afternoon to see the sunset.
How to reach?
For all the bike riders out there, this is a perfect place for a road trip. A road has been newly constructed to Dhanushkodi if you want to take your own vehicle. Bus services are there from Rameswaram bus stand which drops at Mukundayar Chatram and one has to take the tempos or minivans, cost Rs.200 to 250 which will take you through the lowland water area. Or so many private jeeps are available from Rameswaram to Dhanushkodi which costs Rs.1300 to 1500 (if you are visiting Rama Setu, make a deal with the jeep drivers to wait for you.)
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