Dhanushkodi - The Magical Landscape 

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Photo of Dhanushkodi - The Magical Landscape by Athira Radhakrishnan

After having a good time in Kochi, my friend Sarun and I took the bus to Madurai that we had booked. We reached Madurai the next day (30th Dec) at 5 in the morning. We literally ran out of the bus to catch the Madurai Rameswaram Passenger which was already awaiting its departure. During the rush to get a ticket, we got to know the sad truth that the train would go no further than Ramanathapuram due to construction work(one of the reasons why I'll be travelling to the same place again). We had a hearty breakfast at Ramanathapuram and left for Rameshwaram in a govt. bus.

Rameshwaram is one of the holiest places in India for Hindus, and the Ramanathaswamy temple is a part of the Char Dham pilgrimage.

As we reached Rameshwaram, the peak season was on, and there were people everywhere, flocking the streets in hundreds. We managed to push our way to the sacred Agnee Theertham, only to return disappointed at the cleanliness of the holy place. We decided to hit the room and sleep peacefully as we had to leave early the next morning for sunrise.

Evening scenes at the Rameshwaram Temple

Photo of Dhanushkodi, Tamil Nadu, India by Athira Radhakrishnan

NEW YEAR EVE

We got up early at 5 in the morning to catch the first bus to Dhanushkodi. Though the bus came a little late, the sunrise we witnessed from the bus was worth the effort.

The beautiful long stretch of road with the majestic Indian Ocean on the right side and the Bay of Bengal on the left was truly amazing.

Dhanushkodi is the south eastern tip of India. It is also the nearest shore from Sri Lanka. It is believed that Lord Ram built a bridge to Sri Lanka using stones that floated on the sea to get his wife Sita back. We reached the tip around 7. But the place was flocked by tourists. Since the government constructed the roads till the last point, it was accessible to every vehicle without any difficulty. My friend told me how the place was so isolated and peaceful when he visited few years back. So, spending a little time there we decided to take the bus back, and suddenly got the idea to get down mid-way just to explore the real Dhanushkodi. On the roadside fishermen were sorting the freshly caught set. Crabs, oysters, octopuses and many other fishes were to be seen.

Sunrise on the way to the Dhanushkodi tip

Photo of Dhanushkodi - The Magical Landscape by Athira Radhakrishnan

Sun rose higher and the daytime heat started setting in. We continued our walk up the road after properly covering ourselves. After a kilometer, there was a small clearing and a thorny path through the middle of it. This place was full of greenery with a couple of horses grazing that it reminded us of an oasis. It probably was one! Finally after walking for another 10 minutes, we reached a region with lots of settlements of the fishermen. Beyond their thatched roof homes lay the calm Indian Ocean. The villagers greeted us with welcoming smiles.

The Oasis

Photo of Dhanushkodi - The Magical Landscape by Athira Radhakrishnan

The pathway through the thorny bushes, that lead us to.......

Photo of Dhanushkodi - The Magical Landscape by Athira Radhakrishnan

THIS ! A small fishermen settlement.

Photo of Dhanushkodi - The Magical Landscape by Athira Radhakrishnan

Two kids came to us running and asked for some pens saying they wanted to write. That hit us really hard. We gave them whatever we had. And in return they gave us a beautiful shell. Also there was this anna(brother in Tamil), who asked if we wanted a boat ride, but we didn’t want to cause any inconvenience. He told us how they have been living in that place all their lives, without proper facilities, even after the cyclone in 1965 washed away everything they had. Some people stayed. The ones, who could not, left their land. All they knew was fishing. We saw the men picking out the freshly caught fish from the net, as the wives helped them with the lunch. The eagles were flying around and came down to get their deserved share of the meal- the left over fish. We sat there on the boat that was parked on the shore and watched all this as the waves crashed occasionally with a shattering sound.

The fisherman sorting the freshly caught batch.

Photo of Dhanushkodi - The Magical Landscape by Athira Radhakrishnan

We decided to explore the shady patch of trees and found a great spot where we relaxed for a while. The place was serene and peaceful that we decided to spend the New Year Eve there.

We came back close to sun down and found our way to the same place. The sun was setting behind an army of dark clouds. The land breeze was particularly heavy and blew the sand all over us. We walked further and further away from the settlements so that we could spend the night in seclusion. Finally we decided to set up camp when the houses started to look like tiny dots. After some exploration, we put down our bags at a good place.

Photo of Dhanushkodi - The Magical Landscape by Athira Radhakrishnan

I saw the intensity of light going down and darkness taking over. We took a walk through the sands to the water at night. The place looked totally surreal. There was just enough light to illuminate the white sands. The sea and white land looked as one and it gave me a high. It felt as if I was standing in the middle of nowhere or above a bed of white clouds. Just me. I kept walking. I couldn’t differentiate the land and the water, until I reached a point when a small yet powerful wave swept through my feet. It took my breath away. It was scary as hell but surely one of the best experiences ever. As the waves went back, we could see the bioluminescence; for the first time in my life.

The whole place for ourselves.

Photo of Dhanushkodi - The Magical Landscape by Athira Radhakrishnan

We went back to our spot. By this time our eyes had already adapted to the darkness. Lying on the bed of dried twigs and leaves, looking up, the sky was extraordinarily clear. The Orion was visible right above us. The trees danced to the rhythm of the wind making a beautiful lullaby. It started to get a little cold and thus we got into our sleeping bags, and didn’t even know when we fell asleep.

I woke up in the middle from a dream. It was 3 am and as I slipped my head out, I saw the moon rising. I was left awestruck that I couldn’t even call my friend. I lied there with my eyes open, watching all the things happening around me. My heart was beating faster in terror and happiness of seeing this spectacle.

The azure sky gave its first rays of 2019 on this magical land.

Hoping this year would give me strength and courage, I started my 2019.

The fishermen gathered for their daily routine.

And here starts 2019.

Photo of Dhanushkodi - The Magical Landscape by Athira Radhakrishnan

With the bags packed, we bid goodbye to the place, waving to kids in the village who were helping their fathers. We caught the bus to Rameshwaram, then to Madurai, and then home. We were loaded with memories worth a lifetime.

Special Souvenir

Photo of Dhanushkodi - The Magical Landscape by Athira Radhakrishnan
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