One can never imagine what those 150-odd travelers in the Pamban-Dhanuskodi Passenger Express experienced when the infamous 1964 Rameswaram Cyclone swept them away in the wee hours of 23rd December. Things took an ugly turn and the small town of Dhanushkodi would never be the same. Once a thriving port town that buzzed with activity all day and night, this place has a historical significance as the name goes. Lord Rama is said to have marked this place with his bow for his army to start building the bridge to Lanka. Coincidentally, this point is hardly 30 minutes away from Sri Lanka by water.
As you enter the road leading to the south-eastern tip of the Pamban Island, you can slowly start to notice that there is water on both sides. You have the pleasure of witnessing the calm and quiet Bay of Bengal on one side and quite the opposite Indian Ocean on the other. We were absolutely mesmerized by the shades of blue that just got better with every 100 meters. We decided to get there by 4.00 pm so that we could soak in all the sun. To our amazement, the weather changed in about 15 minutes and as we got off the car right after we passed the security, we were welcomed with a mild drizzle.
If you do have the chance to stand right in the middle of the road and have a quick 360-degree view of this abandoned town, please do so. The dilapidated buildings have a charm of their own and their walls have a million stories to share.
We first headed to the railway station and noticed the tracks. It was obvious that these were made for meter gauge trains. A little further down the station, there were two small temples on the left hand side where a floating stone was kept for display. If you try to put your finger into the grill and push the stone down, it comes right back up. This seems magical in the beginning but this stone floats because of air cavities inside it. Legend has it that the bridge, famously known as Adam’s Bridge is said to have been built by Lord Rama and company. Nevertheless, definitely a sight to behold.
As we got out of the station, the Church caught our attention and we were drawn to it like moths to a flame. A humble structure by appearance, the Church still had a couple of the walls in tact. As you move into the Church, you can notice that the altar is almost intact.
As we walked further down, we noticed an unusual structure. The locals there call it a temple. A few hundred metres away was yet another structure that looked a lot more like a temple. However, the structure was severely dilapidated.
Right next to the temple was what seemed like a school. With only the walls standing tall, this building was quite damaged as well. We could only see a frame of what was once a building that possibly had children working hard on their classwork.
We located yet another church nearby where again, the altar was almost unharmed.
We then headed back to the car after scrutinizing the area for a good 45 minutes. We hopped in I thought we were done. With a heavy heart, we were in the process of bidding goodbye to the sea. We then realized that the car was heading towards the tip of the island.
I wasn’t sure where we were heading and after a good two minutes, we realized that Arichalmunai was just a few feet away from us. We got out of the car and right in front of us was what one can call infinity. With no land mass at sight, the place was filled with nothing but water, and what’s better. On our left was Bay of Bengal, as calm as she always was and on the right was the ever-fierce Indian Ocean with the most beautiful ripples that one can witness.
Yet, with all this action, there was inaction. The silence was deafening.
We are just going to leave it at this; just for you to soak up on all the photos. While pictures do speak thousand words, facing the sea that can cure you, face-to-face, is the best thing that can happen to us.
If Dhanushkodi isn’t in your bucket-list yet, please add it right now because its the journey of a lifetime.