Dhanushkodi, Tamil Nadu, India
12th September 2014 – 13th September 2014
The cyclone of 1964 changed everything for the small but extremely religious town of Rameshwaram. And the aftermath of the cyclone was this haunted town at the south-eastern tip of Pamban island of Tamil Nadu called Dhanushkodi which became completely inhabitable for the public. But as per the nature of human curiosity, you always tend to go on search of something that has a touch of mysticism. The ravaged structures still stand strong, adding to the appeal of a haunted town.
History – Other than the infamous Rameshwaram cyclone, the whole place of Rameshwaram including Dhanushkodi holds a great significance for the pilgrims of India who believe it as a great privilege and destiny to follow in the footstep of Lord Rama
According to the folklore that is popular in India, despite the numerous versions, Ram Setu (or Adam’s bridge) built from Dhanushkodi to the island of Mannar in Sri Lanka is a stretch of limestone built in quest to rescue Sita from the clutches of the demon king Ravana. Each rock used to build this bridge had the word ‘Ram’ written on it so that they will be kept in place without sinking. The story has similarity with the Greek epic Helen of Troy. But while Helen elopes with Troy, in Ramayana Sita was kidnapped by Ravana under disguise.
After the war of 14 days, when Ram returned to the mainland victorious, he conducted coronation of Vibishana, Ravana’s younger brother as the new king of Lanka on this very strip of land. Following the coronation, on Vibishana’s entreaty, Ram broke the bridge with the end tip of his bow, hence the name Dhanush = bow and kodi = tip.
How to travel – Travel in a group. It makes the trip fun as well cuts down the total cost. Plan your trip around daylight. All services are available till 7 pm in the evening. So better be back in town by that time.
How to reach – I prefer travelling by bus over other means of transport. We took the bus at 8 at night from Bangalore and reached Rameshwaram by 8 next day in the morning. Auto rickshaws are available from the bus stop, charging a mere 10 Rs for each person. We decided to book the auto for the entire trip of Rameshwaram and Dhanushkodi which came to a total of 1000 Rs.
Once you reach Dhanushkodi, there are government bus services that has been recently started. This saved us from undertaking the painful task of trekking 15 kms of barren and scary stretch of land under the blazing sun. Though be prepared for the disappointment when they don’t take you all the way to the erosion point (land’s end terminus of the peninsula to the south-east of Dhanushkodi) where the mythical Ram-setu is supposed to be located at.
So if you really want to experience the true glory of the place, step away from the chirping of the usual tourist spot and walk all the way to the end point. The view that will accompany you will gladden your heart, make a photographer and his DSLR happy and uplift your spirit. Just for fun, we decided to track our movement via GPS.
At Dhanushkodi you can see the deep and rough waters of Indian Ocean meeting the shallow and calm waters of Bay of Bengal (Can you see it in the picture below?) There is a heavy Indian navy patrolling done to prevent accidents to happen in the rough Indian Ocean as well to prevent smugglers to reach the mainland.
Stand at the end tip of the peninsula, and experience how peace become a metaphysical entity enveloping you, making you feel cherished and at the same time all alone. Dhanushkodi has lived upto all my expectations and created new ones to experience places of the very same caliber.
After the beach the bus takes you to visit the haunted town where there is a small temple shrine where Ram was rumored to have worshiped Lord shiva to atone for his penance. The shrine encases one the rumored floating rock which was used to build the Ram-setu.
Other places to visit –
Ramanathswamy Temple is an architecture marvel. Renowned for world’s largest corridors, these are the following dimensions
At the temple, there are two lingas of Shiva. The story goes that Ram had sent Hanuman to Kashi to fetch a linga but it took him so long to return that he asked Sita to make one using sand instead. By the time the rituals started, Hanuman arrived with his linga and was angry that no one waited for himm. He tried to uproot Sita’s sand linga with his tail but failed. To pacify him, Ram worshiped Hanuman’s Shiva-linga besides Sita’s Shiva-linga. The trend of Ram performing penance and ritual for the crime of killing Ravana, a brahman (priest) is still followed by the devotees by performing rituals for their dead ancestors.
There are 64 tirthas (holy water bodies in Rameshwaram, out of which 24 are the most important as per the Skanda-Purana. Bathing them is equivalent to penance.
Pamban Bridge refers to both the road bridge and the cantilever railway bridge which connects the town of Rameshwaram on Pamban island to the mainland India. Opened in 1914, this was the longest Indian sea bridge till 2010. On 24 February 2014, the Pamban bridge marked its 100th anniversary, a fact which we were unaware of when we had our trip.
I wish you the very best if you do decide to visit this beautiful place.