I visited Dhanushkodi as part of my Rameshwaram itinerary. After returning from Dhanushkodi and calling it a day, I couldn’t sleep. I couldn’t get enough of the scenic view of the journey from Rameshwaram to Dhanuskodi. Butter smooth roads with glistening water of the Bay of Bengal on one side and the Indian Ocean on the other. While all things pretty and merry I still can’t get rid of the emptiness that has settled in my heart seeing the ruins and broken structures of Dhanushkodi. What a beautiful place it would have been if it wasn’t for that hapless day of the tsunami. A visit to Dhanuskodi, which is located just 25 kilometres away from Rameshwaram, in the state Tamil Nadu will leave you astounded with its soul-stirring stories.
Dhanushkodi is a scenic beyond words
The road to Dhanushkodi looks like a never-ending affair and suddenly a bright green pole mentions “Dhanushkodi”. The village is essentially sprawled over one side the very same road which is bordered by the Bay of Bengal on one and the Indian Ocean on the other. On one side of the road, just a little downhill from the main road, a series of hutments can be seen. This is the homes of all the fisher folks that live in Dhanuskodi. An array of solar panels were installed over the hutments, which ensured some hope for the betterment of these fishermen and their families. Living on such an isolated piece of land far far away from any facility and amenities, life here is way more than tough.
The village population is yet surprisingly close to 500 people
Stepping deeper into the village I could clearly see the thatched roofs one after another. A small temple made me take a pit stop. In the local language (Tamil) she was explaining about her everyday life in the village. I couldn’t understand much until a priest who could speak in Hindi joined us. He pointed towards an old lady who had lost her father in the tsunami of 1965.
There she sat with a stern face beaming with the last rays of the sun. She had a fearless aura, something which says I have seen the worst in my life and I wonder if there could be anything worse than that. She pointed to various ruins on the other side of the road telling us which one was a school, a hospital, a post office, customs offices etc. Her hands trembled as she pointed in that direction. What a happy and quaint place it would have been, I kept thinking while I nodded my head to her every word.
The priest gave us an insight of the mythological significance of the place.
Legend has it that it was this very place where Lord Rama built a bridge (Setu) to Sri Lanka, in order to get back Goddess Sita from her abductor Ravana. After Lord Rama killed Ravana and came back to this spot, Vibhishan came up with an alarming query. He expressed his apprehensions of people coming from Sri Lanka to take revenge of Ravana’s death. Considering he isn’t as mighty as Lord Rama he won’t be able to fight back if someone comes from Sri Lanka. Listening to his concerns, Lord Rama pulled up his bow (Dhanush) and targeted it to the bridge, causing the bridge to collapse completely. That’s how the place got its name, Dhanushkodi. After a little banter here and there I decided to make a move to the other side of the road.
Eat and Shot at Dhanushkodi
Dhanuskodi is lined with numerous shops which sell sea shells, curtains made of smaller shells, decorative pieces, mirrors lined with shells, conches and a lot of other items. The village is survived by the income of these shops which is earned from the tourists visiting Dhanushkodi.
There are a number of huts where you can enjoy fresh fish. If you are vegetarian, life is a very tough for you there. Considering I had to spend only a few hours I happily settled with a couple of bananas. As I crossed the crisscrossed lanes of the shop I could see the ruins clearer. The biggest standing structure looked like a church facade. I crossed it to get closer to the beach. As I moved on, I was constantly bombarded with luring propositions from the vendors popping from all sides. But oblivious to everything I kept moving towards the shiny water.
Sunset at Dhanushkodi is a must-do.
The deep blue water glistening with the last few rays of the sun soothed all the aches of my heart. The beach was scarce, there weren’t many people around. The “Bathing is prohibited here” signboard was also illegible until I went up-in-the-face close to the board. The tides were high the water current seemed to be ferocious. I wonder how the sea looked on the day of the tsunami. The pleasant sound of the water must have been roaring, even the thought of it gave me a chill. The sun kept dropping and changing colours like the leaves of falls. It was a changing pallet of yellow, orange, purple and pink with hues blanketing the whole sea level.
The sun was down in no time. After a couple of minutes, I decided to make a move. A trip to Dhanuskodi evokes myriads of emotions in you. While on one side the tragedy brings a wave of morose, the other side its scenic view, the fighting spirit of fishermen and the most splendid sunset flushes you with hope and happiness. A place where all sorts of emotions cohabitate, taking their turn on kindling one after the other. If you are in Rameshwaram, take some time out to visit Dhanushkodi and you will not be disappointed.
How to Reach:
The nearest town is Rameshwaram and Dhanushkodi is approximately 25 kilometres away from there. If you have your own vehicle you can easily drive down, google maps will take you to the exact spot. If you haven’t you can hire a taxi from Rameshwaram, they are readily available.
Things to take care:
- There is absolutely no availability of vegetarian food. Finding fruits is also very difficult. If you are vegetarian and plan to spend some time there then stock up the food from Rameshwaram.
- If you plan to take a dip, which is actually not allowed but I saw people doing that at the shore. Then take a spare pair of clothes.
- Carry an umbrella or cap/hat because it is mostly stunning.
- Plan your visit in the second half of the day, this way you avoid the sun and also get to witness the magical sunset.
- There are a lot of small shacks and shops on either side of the road selling all sorts of things made with shells and conch. Nothing is really expensive so avoid haggling.
- On one side of the road, there is a small Lord Rama and Goddess Sita temple. Outside the temple, they have one huge rock floating over the water. It is believed that it is one of the rocks used by Lord Rama to build the bridge to Sri Lanka in order to bring back Goddess Sita from her abductor demon Ravana. It truly is an amazing experience to see it for real. Ask around for the direction to reach the temple, it is very close to the main road.
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