Dhanushkodi- The Dead End!
Once a flourishing town, Dhanushkodi, with schools, temples, railway station and a Church is now a tourist attraction. Visitors go there to see the beautiful riot of merging colours of the Bay of Bengal and the Indian Ocean, ruins of an Old Church, railway station and the serene beach.
Located at the Southeastern end of Pamban Island in Tamil Nadu, Dhanushkodi is also the dead-end with the Indian Ocean on one side and the Bay of Bengal on the other. On December 22, 1964, the town was devasted by a cyclone. A calm, quiet and scenic town is still recovering. A must stopover when you visit Rameshwaram for its scenic beach, walk-in white soft beach sand, tiny shacks selling shells and artefacts, some tea stalls, and of course the Iconic ruins of the Church and a railway station.
What to See in Dhanushkodi
Once the happening town with locals and holidaymakers, Dhanushkodi is now an abandoned town. It attracts tourists from all segments. Pilgrims visiting Rameshwaram temple, students & scholars visiting Kalam Memorial, and all other tourists make sure they make a trip to Dhanushkodi when in Rameshwaram. A drive on a beautiful and scenic 20 km road is an experience.
Over 100 years old, this bridge connects Pamban Island to mainland India. Opened in 1914, Pamban Bridge is the first sea bridge in India and the longest till the Mumbai sea-link bridge was constructed. It is about 2.2 km long and is an engineering marvel. The bridge is the only link between the Indian mainland and the holy pilgrimage town Rameshwaram. It is difficult for anyone to forget their rail journey over this bridge. After the 1964 cyclone, the construction of a parallel road bridge was proposed. The construction started in 1974 and took about 14 years to complete the road bridge and was inaugurated by the then Prime Minister, Sh Rajiv Gandhi in 1988. Spend some time at the beach for its tranquillity, calmness and various shades of blues and greens.
If you are going in your vehicle, get down at the beginning of the bridge to feel the cool breeze at the quaint and virgin beach.
The Dead-End point
This is where I realised, how close we were to Sri Lanka. Most of us got the signals of Sri Lanka Mobile networks. The south-eastern point of India with a U-turn circle is the dead end. There is a pillar at the end with National Emblem on the top. A receded beach is a bit crowded here as people gather to see the colours of two oceans. A photograph at this point is a must for your record.
The Haunted Old Church & the beach
The old church was ruined during the 1964 cyclone. The remains show how gigantic the church would have been. The remains of the gate, a podium, a Platform and few broken four walls will leave you in awe. As the inflow of tourists has increased over a period, the locals, for survival have opened few stalls selling local hand-made knick-knacks like shell jewellery, showpieces, conch and sea shells. People have enormous eerie stories of this place.
The beach is at this place is exceptionally beautiful. Though it is a bit risky to get deep into the water, a walk on this quiet and calm beach is so therapeutic. The neat and clean sand on the beach will force you to spend time with good company or all by yourself.
According to Mythology, this is the place from where Lord Rama built a bridge of floating stones along with the Vanar Sena (army of monkeys) to reach Lanka to rescue Sita from Ravana. It is believed Lord Rama built a bridge also known as Ram Setu, from this point till Lanka (Sri Lanka) to rescue his wife from the clutches of Ravana, the King of Lanka. The bridge was destroyed with arrows from his bow after Sita was rescued, hence the name Dhanushkodi, which means ‘end of bow’.
How to reach
By Road – Dhanushkodi can only be reached by road crossing Pamban Road Bridge from Rameshwaram. It is about 22 km from Rameshwaram. Lots of private tempo travellers and Auto rickshaws ply from the town to Dhanushkodi. However, it is always advisable to go in your vehicle.
By Rail– Rameshwaram is well connected via rail from major towns in Tamil Nadu and the rest of the country.
By Air– Nearest airport is Madurai. It takes about 4 hours to reach Rameshwaram from Madurai by road and rail. The road and the drive are very scenic.
Once the most happening town at the south-eastern tip of Pamban Island in Tamil Nadu, India is now the eerie town with nail-biting stories. There is no way one should miss Dhanushkodi if in Rameshwaram. The railway link which connected mainland India to Dhanushkodi was devastated killing over 100 people on a train during the Tsunami as it was approaching Dhanushkodi Station. The news reached the mainland three days later as the area was completely out of connectivity.
Dhanushkodi can be reached only by road.
There are private tempo-travellers and auto rickshaws which ply from Rameshwaram to Dhanushkodi.
Dhanushkodi can be completed in 3-4 hours or say half a day if you want to spend time at the beach.
There are no restrooms available.
There are no family restaurants or cafés. However, there are lots of roadside carts selling tender coconuts, fresh fruits and some local small bites.
On a sunny day, the sun is very harsh. Do not forget to carry sun protection, an umbrella and lots of hydration.
There is a lot of walking on the beach and stones, so wear comfortable footwear. High heels will not be a good choice.
Wear cool and comfortable clothing.
Dhanushkodi is closed for visitors by 6 pm. Plan your visit accordingly.
Do not litter.
Travel Safe! Wear Mask!