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The Last Train to Dhanuskodi.

There are many places in India, which are full of mysteries, and some of them are such that few are known about them. One such place is located on the banks of Rameswaram Island on the east coast of Tamil Nadu. This is such a place, which is also called the last end of India, and here is such a road, which is called the last road of India. This is the place where Sri Lanka is visible, but today this place is completely deserted and full of secrets.

The name of this place is Dhanushkodi, which is a village. Dhanushkodi is the only terrestrial border between India and Sri Lanka that exists on sand dunes in the Palk Strait.

Its length is just 50 yards and for this reason, this place is considered as one of the shortest places in the world.

This village is considered very mysterious. Many people even consider it a ghost. Although people come here to roam during the day, but they are sent back before nightfall. It is absolutely forbidden to stop or roam at night. The distance of Rameswaram from here is about 15 kilometres and the whole area is deserted. Anyone can get scared in such a situation.

It is not that this village has always been deserted. The first people lived here. At that time Dhanushkodi had everything from railway station to hospital, church, hotel and post office, but everything came to an end in the terrible cyclone that came in the year 1964. It is said that due to this cyclone a train with over 100 passengers was sunk in the sea. Since then, this area has become deserted.

It is said that Dhanushkodi is the place from where the construction of Ram Sethu was started above the sea. It is believed that at this place Lord Rama ordered Hanuman to build a bridge, through which the monkey army could enter Lanka city of Lanka Ravana. There are many temples associated with Lord Rama in this village. It is believed that Lord Rama broke the bridge (bridge) from one end of his bow at the behest of Vibhishan. For this reason, its name was Dhanushkodi.

A historical event is also associated with this village. In fact, when Swami Vivekananda went to attend the Dharma Parliament held in America in the year 1893, he made his first move to Dhanushkodi in India. He arrived here via Colombo, Sri Lanka.

Dhanushkodi translates to the end of the bow. And the bow we are discussing here is Lord Rama’s. The legend has it that when Ravana kidnapped Sita and took her to Lanka, the events propelled Lord Rama to build the Rama Sethu Bridge also known as Adam’s Bridge. The bridge is faintly visible from a distance and has been confirmed even by geologists.

Almost 54 years back Dhanushkodi on the Pamban Island was a bustling town along Southeast India’s coast with a railway station, police station, medical center, and basic amenities. Ferries from Chennai and to Talaimannar in Sri Lanka was a perfect tourist activity until the massive cyclone engulfed the entire region on 21st December 1964. The cyclone, with tides as high as 20 feet, didn’t spare anything but ruins.

Post calamity, government, after analyzing the perilous location of Dhanushkodi, declared it as an uninhabitable place. Hence the place got popular as the ghost town. Today, apart from the 50-60 odd fishermen and a few local shopkeepers, nobody else lives here. The place continues to fascinate history lovers and experience seekers!

If myths are to be believed, a particularly beautiful stretch of sandy shore you see from Dhanushkodi is the place from where the Ram Setu starts. This is also believed to be the end of the bridge which Lord Rama had broken using his bow and arrow.

Also known as the Adam’s Bridge globally, no one really knows if this is the Ram Setu, but satellite pictures taken over time, and a recent image released by NASA have confirmed that the a stretch of land formation visible between Dhanushkodi and the Sri Lankan mainland is certainly man-made.

Historical Importance of Dhanushkodi, Pamban Island in Rameswaram:

Sri Lanka is just a few kilometers away from Dhanushkodi, whereas Dhanushkodi was only the land border between India and Sri Lanka, and served as a major port for several pilgrims and traders. Dhanushkodi in those days had everything that we expect in a town consists – a town full of residents to also have a small railway station, and port offices, etc and so-called there were many ferry services between Dhanushkodi of India and Talaimannar of Srilanka. Before the cyclone disaster, there was a train service to Dhanushkodi, which would halt on the south-eastern side of Dhanushkodi township. As it served as trading land, it’s a town full of residents. But all of these things are no more than history now, due to the 1964 cyclone.

Following a cyclonic storm in 1964, Dhanushkodi was destroyed. It was the 21st of December 1964, when disaster hit the little port town of Dhanushkodi. This cyclone was caused by a depression that formed on December 17, 1964, with its center in the South Andaman Sea. With a wind speed of 280 km/h, it entered Sri Lanka on December 22nd, traveled through Palk Strait in the middle of the night, and crashed into Dhanushkodi. When it crossed Rameshwaram, the tidal surges were estimated to be 8 yards high. But the Kothandaramaswamy Temple here remains intact.

Dhanushkodi is one of the places to be visited, the journey towards the point is a memorable one where there is sea on both sides of the road that offers the best sceneries with fine white sand with the clear blue sea. We could also see the ruins of a temple, railway station, church, and homes of the inhabitants.

The drive to Dhanushkodi begins with breathtaking views of the Palk Strait, the Palk Strait is the one that stretches between India and Sri Lanka.

The Bay of Bengal’s dual-colored seas is to the left, while the Indian Ocean, the world’s third-biggest ocean is to the right. The site of the confluence of blue and green waters of the Indian Ocean and the Bay of Bengal is absolutely breathtaking. The clear blue water of the Indian Ocean meets the green and serene water of the Bay of Bengal.

The confluence of both of these water basins occurs at “ARICHAL MUNAI”, the last zone of Rameshwaram. Although the convergence is natural, distinguishing between the two seas is simple.

The fact that the tides are not very high and the sand is so soft is the most interesting aspect. A must-visit place for beach lovers, Whereas Dhanushkodi offers amazing experiences. The seashore is spotless and unpolluted.

Dhanushkodi gets its new lighthouse which is 50 metres in height, now work is under construction. A lighthouse will be located five kilometers from the tip of Dhanushkodi and will be provided with a radar system and cameras, said directorate officials. The proposed lighthouse would be the third in Ramanathapuram district after those in Pamban and Rameswaram. Furthermore, if the radar fitted at the lighthouse at Dhanushkodi is part of the coastal surveillance system, it will enable enhancing security measures along the Rameswaram coast.

an eventful night that wiped away life from the town of Dhanushkodi, forming India’s abandoned ghost town from the South.

Train no 653, the Pamban to Dhanushkodi passenger train was crawling towards the destination amid horrid weather, the dark of night and almost no signal. The driver hesitated before igniting the engine, not having any idea what was looming in front. At this point, a huge tidal wave washed away the train along with 150 passengers that night. Not a single one was found alive.

The rail station at Dhanushkodi stood erect in the face of gutsy cyclonic wind and housed the few survivors of the island for that night.

The remains of Dhanushkodi sits close to the international border between India and Sri Lanka. In fact, at just 45 metres in length on a shoal in Palk Strait, Dhanushkodi is also one of the smallest land borders in the world. In friendlier times, there was a ferry service between India and Sri Lanka (then Ceylon) which stopped for politics. And, the Rameswaram cyclone of 1966.

Temple documents of Rameswaram suggests the existence of a bridge, fit to be crossed by feet and existing above sea level connecting India with Sri Lanka, then Bharat and Lanka.  For the uninitiated, Rameswaram’s temple is one of the most prominent and oldest pilgrimage sites in India. Hints are pitted against another catastrophic cyclone from 14 hundred century which caused the bridge to go down under the sea.

However, nature is whimsical. Rameswaram cyclone gobbled up a substantial landmass but caused the Ram Setu to reappear. It is basically a series of limestone shoals, coral reefs and sandbanks. GSI has researched to find that the Ram Setu, also known as Adam’s bridge in the medieval western world is close to 125,000 years old!

Despite Ram Setu being an almost mythical legacy, there was never any dearth of pilgrimage to Arichamunai, the easternmost point, where lands end.

Faithfuls visit this place to take a dip at the Bay of Bengal, considered a sacred ritual.  Before the construction of the national highway, a part of the Ramayana Circuit, many minivans would ply.

The church and surrounding area stand witness to the gruelling night of the cyclone, even after half a century. It is empty, devastated, broken into pieces and destroyed beyond any repair. Not just the church but a few buildings, apparently school, the office by the railway station are scattered lifeless. Three pillars stand like a skeleton as the remnant of the Dhanushkodi railway station.

Everything you should remember before visiting Dhanushkodi

  • Reports suggest that the place being an abandoned one becomes a breeding ground of anti-social activities, especially during the dark of night. Do not think of camping at Dhanishkodi beach. Not just the smugglers, a potential hightide can also take no mercy for your life!
  • The best time to visit Dhanushkodi is anywhere between the relatively (and that’s the key word here) colder months of November to February. midday sun at Dhanushkodi is extremely punishing and may cause serious damage like sunstroke, migrane etc. Take necessary precautions like an umbrella, a cover/dupatta for your face, ample water in a recyclable bottle and sunscreen.
  • I suggest visiting Dhanushkodi after 2 PM since the heat gets bearable..
  • If you are off to explore the backwaters of your own, be responsible. There are quicksands. There is not a soul anywhere around. If you lose the way back (unlikely) or get stranded at a sandy shore behind backwaters fueled by hightide (very likely), you will not be in a position to access immediate help.

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