Dhanushkodi – ‘Dead.. still Alive’

After getting blessed from cultural city Madurai I started my journey for Rameshwaram. Direct bus services available from Madurai to Rameshwaram which takes around 4-5 hours of journey by covering a distance of 170kms. I decided to travel by local transport throughout my whole trip, as it gives us great chance to interact with the local people of that place and also it makes us understand their culture and living styles. And it proved me correct as well.

I reached at Mattuthavani bus stop (Madurai main bus stop) at 8 AM and took a bus for Rameshwaram. One can enjoy the stunning view of Pamban Railway Bridge on their way while entering into Rameshwaram. Pamban Bridge was built in 1914 to connect Rameshwaram on Pamban Island with the Tamilnadu state. By 12:30 PM I reached Rameshwaram bus stop. As the bus stop was little far from the main city I preferred to take an auto to the Hotel. In the middle, I went to one restaurant name Rajendranath, who served me South Indian style biryani with an awesome taste of sourly Sambar and spicy Chutney. I checked into the Hotel by 1:30 PM and started getting ready for my next visit i.e. Dhanushkodi. Dhanushkodi was much-awaited place in my list and I was extremely excited to visit this place.

Dhanushkodi is located at the south-eastern tip of Pamban Island which is at 20 km distance from Rameshwaram. It is surrounded by the Bay of Bengal on one side and the Indian Ocean on another side.  From here Sri Lanka is just 30 km away by the sea.

Maxi cab ride

At 2:30 PM I left my hotel and took 3 number bus from the nearest bus stop from my Hotel. 3 number bus drops you only till the Dhanushkodi checkpost, from where you have to hire local Maxi cab driver who took 150 rupees to take you till the Dhanushkodi village. One cannot take personal vehicle beyond this checkpost without the permit. This cab driver becomes your guide and will lead you to visit the places of Dhanushkodi village. The drive from the check post to Dhanushkodi village is like a roller coaster ride on the beach. You will have an amazing view, one side there is the Indian Ocean and another side Bay of Bengal. One can identify the difference by color of water of both the sea, at one hand sea is Blue where at the other hand it’s Greenish. Somewhere you have to ride above the low sea water area on the beach which is an amazing experience, lots of birds are flying around you, and most important part is feeling Peace. After this adventurous ride, I reached to the place from where Lord Rama built the Ram Setu.

Ram Setu:

Ram Setu

Once upon a time, this place was famous among the pilgrims as this place is closely connected with an Epic Hindu Literature Ramayana. While rescuing Sita from imprisoning of demon Ravana, Lord Rama’s Vaanar Sena along with Lord Hanuman has built the bridge by the floating stones known as Ram Setu to let their army enters in the Lanka. After defeating Ravana and winning the war, Lord Rama gives the crown of Lanka to Vibhishana, brother of Ravana. Later Vibhishana asks Lord Rama to destroy the Ram Setu. Lord Rama broke the bridge with an end of his bow. And after that this place named as Dhanushkodi. Dhanush means a Bow and Kodi means End which simply means End of the Bow.

According to some experts, it has been proved that there was a bridge which was made by Pumice stones between Indian and Sri Lanka, which now submerged in the sea. This bridge is still considered as one of the biggest mystery of India.  Well, I think some things are beyond our understandings, we can only keep the faith and feel the importance of those things.

After visiting Ram Setu our Maxi Cab reached to the actual Dhanushkodi village. Today, Dhanushkodi is announced as the Ghost town in South India after this place got destroyed by the deadly cyclone in 1964. It was 22nd December 1964, a dark night. The train from Rameshwaram to Dhanushkodi who was carrying more than 100 passengers was hit by this cyclone and got drown in the sea. Later this cyclone destroyed the whole city. That was very scary night in the history of South India, where the whole town got vanished in just a single night by this deadly cyclone.

Before this, Dhanushkodi was rich in heritage. It was prospered and one of the famous pilgrimage town in the South India. It was one of the sea trading towns in the South India. Railway station, hospital, church, school, shops, temples etc. were the part of this town. Today we can only see the traces of church and railway station which left behind after hitting of deadly cyclone.

Traces of Railway Station

Old Church of Dhanushkodi

No matter how deadly that cyclone was, people of Dhanushkodi never gave up and never left the place, their home. Today nearly 200 people still live in this village in the huts made of coconut leaf. People continued their ancestral business as fishing. Some ladies and youngsters work on the stalls to sell the ornaments made by sea shells and also some food like biscuits, chocolates, and water for tourists.

Today’s Dhanushkodi Village

I went to one stall where one young boy was selling his stuff. He noticed me and greeted me with a charming smile. I didn’t want to buy anything, but to have a little conversation to understand what they went through and how their today’s lifestyle is. That guy started telling me that they still follow their ancestral business as fishing for their living. He also explained me the event that how the deadly cyclone destroyed their home and people. The whole conversation we had was fully in Tamil as the guys didn’t know the English, but surely I saw and felt the pain in his eyes when he was explaining me about the cyclone event. After all losing your home, your family and everything is the worst pain in this world. To help him I gave him some money but he refused to take it, so I bought some shells from him which got me one thankful smile in return. I also noticed few children in school uniform, looked like they were returning after their school time. Looking at those children made me joyful and also made me smile. I also noticed the traces of railway station and church which left behind after the destruction of cyclone.

On my return ride from Dhanushkodi Village to checkpost, I was continuously thinking about that guy. I also felt some pain for the people of Dhanushkodi. Their lose, their life, their courage.. everything started running in my mind. After reaching to the checkpost I sat down for an hour at the strand of the Indian Ocean and started looking at the sea. I started thinking that how that guy and the people of Dhanushkodi didn’t give up on the destruction of the cyclone. They again built their village, followed their ancestral business, built the school for children and moved their step ahead in the direction of a new start. It was really inspiring!!

Dhanushkodi taught me that how to stand up when we are destroyed with everything and how we can lead our life for a new start.

There is never end, never give up!!

 

How to reach Dhanushkodi?