There is something mysteriously serene about this place, where the roaring waves of the mighty Indian Ocean embrace the peaceful waters of the Bay of Bengal without any tumult. Yes, we are talking of “Dhanushkodi” ,the land’s end at the southernmost tip of Rameshwaram, the holy island city in Tamil Nadu, India.
This land, a victim of nature’s fury that had witnessed a massive human tragedy is flocked by hundreds of pilgrims and inquisitive travelers in quest of the much acclaimed “Ram-Setu,” the bridge built by Lord Sri Ram to Lanka to bring back his beloved wife Sita from the captivity of the notorious Ravana.
Until 1964, Dhanushkodi was a busy town full of life, textile shops and hotels, school, churches and temples, a well-connected railway line to Pamban in Rameshwaram, and regular ferry services to Talaimannar in Sri Lanka which is barely about 29 Km away. But on the mournful night of December 22nd, 1964, a cyclone washed away the entire township killing all its dwellers. A train carrying around 115 passengers on board was also engulfed by the angry waters. What remains today are the ruins of the shattered village that throws an eerie shrill down the nerves.\
The wrecked church, half submerged in sand railway track, ruins of what used to be a school, all tell tales of a bygone exuberant era that has turned into a creepy stretch of land. After the tragedy, it has been declared as unfit for dwelling and is now believed to be a ghost town. Tourist entry to this barren land is off limits after 5 pm. The land is now inhabited by a few fishermen families unaware of what may unfold in the future.
A few hundred meters from the ruins however, lies the thrill for the inquisitive soul. A stretch of limpid sands, one side roaring with the waves of the raging Indian Ocean and the other side equally calm with the serene waters of the Bay of Bengal – the route to the mythological bridge built by Lord Sri Ram. A walk down the stretch to the tip (where the two seas meet) can be enthralling, definitely not to be missed.
There are various anecdotes that sketch the story of how this place got its name. According to the most popular saying, Dhanushkodi has been derived from “Dhanush” (Bow) and “Kodi” (End). It is believed that Lord Sri Ram, after having won the battle against Ravana, destroyed the bridge with one end of his bow (Hence the name Dhanushkodi, meaning Bow’s end). Another belief says that Sri Ram and his army built crores of bows and arrows here and offered prayers to the Gods before heading to fight Ravana. Thus came into existence the name “Dhanushkouti”(meaning crores of bows), which later got translated into Dhanushkodi by the locales.
To get to this desolate land, one has to reach Rameshwaram, which is about 22 KM from here. Rameshwaram is an island city noted for the famed Rameshwaram temple, and is connected to the mainland through the Pamban Bridge. Private vehicles are allowed upto a certain point, after which there are jeeps or buses available to ferry tourists to the place.
A trip down south of India is incomplete without a sojourn to this alluring piece of land.