Top News

Dhanushkodi

Sunday, Oct 18, 2020 12:30 [IST]

Last Update: Sunday, Oct 18, 2020 06:59 [IST]

Dhanushkodi

S. BALAKRISHNAN
Dhanushkodi‘s history definitely dates back to the times of Ramayan. It was from here that Lord Ram ordered construction of a bridge (setu) to take his vanarasena (monkey army) to Sri Lanka to retrieve His consort Sita kept captive by Ravana. Though this bridge was later called Adam’s Bridge, NASA’s satellite image has proven beyond doubt that it was man-made and not a natural formation. After winning the war, Ram destroyed the bridge as requested by Vibishana (Ravana’s brother who surrendered to Lord Ram and sided with Himduring the war; he was later crowned Sri Lanka’s new king). Ram struck the land with the end (‘kodi’ in Tamil) of His arrow (dhanush) and the bridgebroke up; hence ‘Dhanushkodi’.

(Dhanuhkodi aerial view)

    Dhanushkodi hit the headlines again in 1964 (though I doubt if there was any media back during Ramayan times) when a deadly cyclone literally swallowed this tiny port town and took away 800livesfrom here alone. It was so devastating that the Madras State Government (now Tamil Nadu) declared Dhanushkodi as unfit for humanhabitation; since then this place has survived as a ghost town, a deserted town with not even basic civic amenities.On the night of 22-23 December 1964, winds with a velocity of 280km/hr and tidal waves of 23 feet height hit this tiny strip of land measuring hardly onekm wide and 18 km long, completely washing away Dhanushkodi.Almost exactly after 40 years the tsunami struck this place revealing portions of the submerged land.

(Adam’s Bridge)

    Dhanushkodi had a railway station from where daily train reached Madras (Chennai), a jetty that had a ferry service to Ceylon(Sri Lanka)’s Talaimannar, a post office, temple, church, etc. The train was called Boat Mail, as passengers and mail (post) were ferried (by boat) to & fro Ceylon.  Now, only the skeletal remains of these buildings haunt us of the 56-year-ago horror. A few fishing families live here without any amenities like electricity, etc. It lies 18 km away from the holy town of Rameshwaram in the south-eastern tip ofPamban Island which is more popularly known as Rameshwaram Island. Cut off from Indian mainland by Palk Strait, Dhanushkodi lies between Indian Ocean and Bay of Bengal in the Palk Bay.

(Dhanushkodi now a ghost town)

    ArichhaMunai (Eroded Tip/Point) is the end of Dhanushkodi’s soil. Here you get the most unique experience of shopping for shell crafts while the gentle waves keep lapping at your feet. I offered to buy a shell necklace for my darling but she declined this cheap proposal and asked for its golden replica!  Men with telescope promise you to show Sri Lanka’s Talaimannar (15kms), that is if the sky is clear.  Did I or didn’t I see the TV tower at TalaiMannar?  I presume I saw it, so that I can claim to have seen another neighbouring country. I have seen Pakitsan from Rajasthan, Tibet & Bhutan from Nathula in Sikkim, peeped into Myanmar from Manipur, stayed for a week in the then Kingdom of Nepal; so, only Bangladesh is pending.
Dhanushkodi is an offbeat destination where sea surfing is said to be enjoyable. Scared of the mighty ocean, though it was quite calm and only knee-deep here, I just sprinkled a few drops on my head as if a pious devotee. It is also considered a sacred place to offer darpan (rituals for ancestors).  On the way to Dhanushkodi is the Kothandaramar Temple, from where Lord Rama started his journey to Sri Lanka. Wish I had a full day to roam around the ruinsand enjoy its pure sand, clear water and blue sky.
     Only in 2016 a black-topped road (National Highway) has been completed! Until then it was a murky sandy road with jeep/van operators fleecing the tourists desiring to visit Dhanushkodi from Rameshwaram. Similarly, will the 16 km long railway track connecting Rameshwaram and Dhanushkodi, that was washed away by the 1964 cyclone, be commissioned?Drinking water shortage and lack of restrooms were some problems faced by us in Dhanushkodi.
    As an 8 ½ year old boy then living in Madurai, the nearest city to Rameshwaram/Dhanushkodi, I faintly remember the aftermath of the catastrophe of 1964 cyclone. We had planned to visit Rameshwaramright at that time but postponed it due to my father’s official duty.  Hence it was more horrifying.    But I vividly remember a funny and quirky reason cited for the cyclone - wearing of gold anklets by actress Savithri (stepmother of actress Rekha) when she visited Rameshwaram Island!

krishnanbala2004@yahoo.co.in / 9840917608 Whatsapp



Sikkim at a Glance

  • Area: 7096 Sq Kms
  • Capital: Gangtok
  • Altitude: 5,840 ft
  • Population: 6.10 Lakhs
  • Topography: Hilly terrain elevation from 600 to over 28,509 ft above sea level
  • Climate:
  • Summer: Min- 13°C - Max 21°C
  • Winter: Min- 0.48°C - Max 13°C
  • Rainfall: 325 cms per annum
  • Language Spoken: Nepali, Bhutia, Lepcha, Tibetan, English, Hindi