Dhanushkodi – The City of Dead

Dhanushkodi – The City of Dead

We reached Rameshwaram by train from Kanyakumari. We had 2 days to explore the Rameshwaram town and it’s surrounding areas like Dhanushkodi.

We visited Dhanushkodi on the first day. Dhanushkodi is approx 20 km from the Rameshwaram town. I booked a jeep and we started at 9.30 AM from Rameshwaram to Dhanushkodi. Jeep is the best and most convenient mode of travel to Dhanushkodi because last 8 to 9 km’s drive is on the beach. The last 8-9 Km drive was on the beach with the sea on our side. It was a peaceful drive, there was no one in sight for many km. Fortunately, the sand was not loose on the beach. It is advisable to take a 4×4 wheel drive jeep to Dhanushkodi because if the vehicle gets stuck in the sand then you may have to walk few km to get help as there is no mobile connectivity in the most of the Dhanushkodi area.

The drive from Rameshwaram to Dhanushkodi was the biggest highlights of our trip. There was no traffic on road except for occasional vehicles. The latter part of the drive on the sand had an awesome view. There was white sand all around and the sea waves were moving at peaceful pace. It was a pure delight to our soul.

Dhanushkodi was a small bustling town before 1964 cyclone. 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. There was a railway line from Pamban Station in Rameshwaram to Dhanushkodi. This railway line was completely destroyed during the cyclone. There was a passenger train with over 100 passengers on board coming from Rameshwaram to Dhanushkodi at the time of cyclone, this trained washed away. No one survivors from this train. All houses, religious places, and other government building of Dhanushkodi were marooned in this storm. High tidal waves moved deep in Dhanushkodi island and ruined the entire town, approx 1800 people died during the cyclone. Due to this tragedy, Dhanushkodi is also known as “city of the dead”.

After driving for little more than one hour we reached a small settlement near the ruins. There were few fishermen living with their families in coconut leaves huts near the ruins of a church in Dhanushkodi. There were few small shacks selling seashells, pearls, and similar stuff.

Dhanushkodi huts and ruins

In a small hut temple, a floating stone was kept in water. Legend has that Rama crossed over to Lanka from this point to rescue his wife Sita from Ravana. It is believed that Rama built the Ram Setu (Bridge with floating rocks) with the help of monkeys army. The caretaker of this hut temple told us that this rock is from the Ramayan’s bridge and we should pay some offerings. My father gave him some money and the guy started telling some strange funny stories. After listening to his story we moved further towards the beach area and crossed the ruins of a church, govt buildings, and hospital.

There was no one on the beach. It was clean and peaceful beach but the waves were strong near on the beach. The sun was very strong and it was difficult to go in the sea due to strong waves and sun. We walked and explore the ruins of the church, railway station, hospital, and school. The effect of weather was visible on stones of the ruins, these stones have corals like design in some parts.

While we were roaming around a person stopped us. He showed us a small hole in the sand, he said the water in this hole is sweet. He took out some water and offered us, it was sweet. This hole was less than 60-70 meters from the beach but strangely the water was not salty.

Dhanushkodi hut and sweet water

We spent some time on Dhanushkodi beach before returning back to Rameshwaram.
On the way back, our jeep got stuck in the sand near the road because the sand was dry and very loose in a small area. Our driver was not able to move the jeep even one inch then he did some digging and placed some stone near tyers and we finally our jeep moved.

P.S. My advise is that it’s a peaceful and virgin beach, so keep a full day for Dhanushkodi. Carry your food, water, umbrellas for shade and it is a great place for a picnic.

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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