Dhanushkodi – The City of Dead

Dhanushkodi – The City of Dead

I traveled for 2 weeks with my parents to the south of India and during the last leg of our journey, we reached Rameshwaram. We reached Rameshwaram by early morning train and have booked the train for next day evening. So, we have practically 2 days to explore the town and surrounding areas. I have planned to go to Dhanushkodi next day morning and decided to spend first day in Rameshwaram visiting the main temple, small temples, and boating in the sea.

Next day morning we decided to visit Dhanushkodi, which is approx 20 km from the Rameshwaram town. I booked a jeep in advance the day before and we started by 9.00 am. Jeep is the best way to go because last 8 to 9 km stretch has no proper road and we had driven on beach, though sand is not loose at most places but still it is advisable to take 4×4 jeep to be on safer side because if you get stuck then you have to walk down to get help as there is no mobile connection.

The drive from Rameshwaram to Dhanushkodi is one of the biggest highlights of this trip. There was no traffic on road except for occasional vehicles. Once you start driving on sand, the view is awesome. White sand all around, the sea is visible at some distance….. Pure delight and peaceful.

This was a small bustling town before 1964 cyclone and was on railway line running from Pamban Station but was destroyed in the cyclone and a passenger train with over 100 passengers drowned in the sea. All houses and other structures in town were marooned in the storm. The high tidal waves moved deep onto this island and ruined the entire town, approx 1800 people died. Due to this its also known as “city of the dead”. In those days it had a railway station, a post office, hotels, the usual settlement as it was the main port of transportation with Sri Lanka.

After driving for little more than one hour we reached the small settling near the ruins. Local peoples, mainly fisherman’s made huts from coconut leaves. They have put up small shacks and were selling sea shells, pearls and similar kind of stuff.

dhanushkodi huts 19

There was one small hut in which someone had kept a stone, it was floating on water. Legend has it that Ram crossed over to Lanka from this point to rescue his wife Sita from Ravan. This is where he built the Ram Setu ith the help of monkies. One of the rock is under lock and key in a temple in the ghost town. The guy in charge of the hut cum temple told us that this was part of Ramayan’s bridge and we should pay some offerings. My Papa offered some money and the guy started telling some stories, which were kind of funny. After listening to his story we moved further towards the beach area crossing the ruins of a church, govt building and hospital etc.

Waves were strong near the beach but sand is clean and no litter but the sun was strong. You can walk and explore the ruins of a church, railway station, hospital, and school. The effect of weather was visible on stones used to make these buildings, after many years the stones started to look like the design of corals in some parts.

On the way, one person stopped us to show a small hole he had dug in the sand, from which he was taking out water. He told us that even it’s less than 70-80 meters from the beach, the water is not salty. He offered us some water and it was sweet strangely. My Papa paid him some money for his effort.

dhanushkodi hut

We roamed around for some time and started back. On the way when our driver was trying to get back on road from beach his jeep got stuck because the sand was dry and very loose. He was not able to move it an inch then he did some digging and out on some stone and after some effort, we finally got on the road.

P.S. My advice is that it’s a peaceful and virgin beach, so keep a full day for Dhanushkodi. Carry your food, water and you can do a great picnic there 🙂

5 thoughts on “Dhanushkodi – The City of Dead

    1. True… Infect recently authorities stop travel to Dhanushkodi due to the cyclone warning. There are only few huts and travel advisory for tourists is to return before 4.00 PM.

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