It was Day 5 and the last day of South India Excursion and we were neither short of places to visit (which we never were :-p ) nor energy to visit those places. Having covered a major portion of Rameswaram, we were all set to visit the Ghost Town of Pamban Island of India- Dhanushkodi

 Since we’ve landed in Rameswaram we had heard umpteen stories about the places here. One such story about Dhanushkodi is prevalent too. As per the Ramayana this is the place from where the vanar sena of Rama built the “Rama-Sethu” or “Adam’s Bridge” to Sri Lanka to fight a war with Ravana , the abductor of Rama’s wife Sita.  Lord Rama after winning the war, crowned a new king of Lanka, Vibhishana. He requested Rama to destroy the bridge. Rama broke the bridge with one end of his bow. Hence, the name Dhanushkodi or 'end of the bow' (dhanush meaning 'bow' and kodi meaning 'end').


Dhanushkodi in ruins!
Dhanushkodi in ruins!
Map of Dhanushkodi
Map of Dhanushkodi (Source)

Dhanushkodi is 25km from Rameswaram town centre. Also it is just 28 kms from the land in Sri Lanka. There are lots of geological evidences that there was indeed a bridge connecting the Indian land with that of the Sri Lankan one. 

 We started this journey after having our breakfast on lazy morning as we had to give our full day to Dhanushkodi only.In order to reach Dhanushkodi one had to travel in a specially-modified jeep or big van because the well-built roads are only till half way (where there is a check-post). After that it is a kind of a roller coaster ride because you have to drive through the rough sands in order to reach the ghost town at the peninsular tip.


Well built road to Dhanushkodi
Well built road to Dhanushkodi
Dhanushkodi Milestone: 8km
Dhanushkodi Milestone: 8km
Driver modifying jeep for rough terrain ahead
Driver modifying jeep for rough terrain ahead

Dhanushkodi was once a flourishing tourist and pilgrimage destination just as Rameswaram is today. Earlier it was connected by the rail from Mandapam and Rameswaram wasn’t present there on the rail map. But in 1964 a deadly cyclone, washed away a passenger train carrying 115 passengers. Total death toll was estimated to be 1800 destroying the whole town. It is because of this that people think that this town is cursed by the ill fate. This town is therefore said to be the haunted or the ghost town.

The place is currently in ruins and tourists are allowed to visit during day time only. Anyway apart from story there’s nothing spooky or haunted that I found there.


Ruins of Dhanushkodi town
Ruins of Dhanushkodi town (Source)

The journey after the checkpoint is quite unique and fascinating in itself. Throughout the ride you will get a feeling of sitting in a roller-coaster as the jeep drives through the rough sand which is uneven in parts. Although the driver tries to follow the tracks laid by the jeeps ahead of us but still in places where it deviated, I was reminded of few movies where the car’s rear tyre gets stuck in the mud. 

All you see around is a clear sky with lots of birds (may be migratory) , deep blue ocean till the point that you can see on one side and shallow silent lying green colored Bay of Bengal on other side. This visual paradox is hard to believe because when I met Bay of Bengal for the first time in Odishait was a ferocious sea.


Route to Dhanushkodi
Route to Dhanushkodi
Indian Ocean on one side
Indian Ocean on one side
Bay of Bengal near Dhanushkodi
Bay of Bengal on other
A horse and a bird in dhanushkodi
A horse and a bird
A bird taking a flight in dhanushkodi
A bird taking a flight
Bird in the backgroung of Bay of Bengal in dhanushkodi
Bird in the backgroung of Bay of Bengal

migratory birds in dhanushkodi
Close up of a migratory bird

We stopped at the entry point of the town. On the way you get to see at lot of ruined places along with the devastated railway line. We explored the town on foot from there. The first impression you see is of the buildings that were once house, school, hospitals, church etc. 

There is one temple built where one can see the same floating stones as kept in Panchmukhi Hanuman Temple in Rameswaram. Since photography is allowed everywhere in Dhanushkodi , I didn’t refrain from clicking everything that I could.


Railway Station in ruins
Railway Station in ruins
Sea shells and other products on sale in dhanushkodi
Sea shells and other products on sale

Church in ruins in dhanushkodi
Church in ruins
Church from inside in dhanushkodi
Church from inside 

places to visit in Dhanushkodi
Temple in Dhanushkodi & Bay of Bengal in background
The floating stone in dhanushkodi rameswaram
The floating stone

This was my first encounter with the “Great Indian Ocean” and needless to say it was a special one. Soothing winds and deep blue water! I along with my brother even got down in the water to get a feeeeel. Then on the other side you have Bay of Bengal which is just the opposite of Indian Ocean, shallow and calm. 

You can even walk up to a mile in Bay of Bengal with the water level reaching not above your knees. A scene in Vivek Oberoi and Rani Mukherji starrer “Saathiya” was filmed here.


Boats in the Indian Ocean near dhanushkodi
Boats in the Indian Ocean
Fishermen in boats near Dhanushkodi
Fishermen in boats
Waves along the beach in Dhanushkodi
Waves along the beach
playing in Indian ocean near Dhanushkodi
Divyam & Mukul playing in Indian ocean
 Silent Bay of Bengal  near Dhanushkodi
Silent Bay of Bengal 
Calm Bay of Bengal near Dhanushkodi
Calm Bay of Bengal

I wanted to stay till sunset but the jeep driver insists on leaving the place well before that. We had brought our lunch with us as we knew that Dhanushkodi didn't have the facilities for the food except few basic snacks. We had our lunch on our way back.

On the way back to Rameswaram, on the well-built road only there is a temple named Sri Kothandaramar Temple. It is halfway from the check-post of Dhanushkodi towards Rameswaram. The road leading to this place is also a piece of gem in itself with water on both sides and just a small narrow road going towards the temple. 

Legend says that Vibhishana, the brother of Ravana met Lord Rama and joined hands with him at this spot. Also after defeating Ravana in the battle, it is this place where Rama declared Vibhishana the next king of Lanka in a ceremony called Rajya-Abhishek or Pattabhishek . There are paintings on the inner walls and ceilings showing different chapters of Ramayana.


how to reach Kothandaramar Temple
Road to Kothandaramar Temple
Kothandaramar Temple in Dhanushkodi
Kothandaramar Temple
Description of Kothandaramar Temple
Description of Kothandaramar Temple
timings and entry fees to Kothandaramar Temple
Entrance to Kothandaramar Temple

With this we had covered the Ghost-Town and nearby places too. The last two days in Rameswaram were definitely worth coming and I am out of words to describe this place especially the calmness of Dhanushkodi. I wanted to stay more but because of the flight timings needed to move out the next day for Madurai.

It indeed was a super South India trip and what added more to the fun was that it was a family trip after a long time! The traveler in me was completely satisfied with how the last week had gone and filled with great determination to return to this place once again in future!

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