I’d been dreaming about visiting Rameshwaram and Dhanushkodi for several years! I finally had the opportunity to make this dream come true. In this blog post, I will also include details of the planning that went into making this journey happen.
Dhanushkodi is one of the southern most tips of India. Several decades ago, this place played a prominent role in our country’s history. It was a port; a harbour teeming with activity for trade right from the British years. Schools, homes, churches, ships, and even a railway station made this part of the country most accessible. It is also one of the closest points to Sri Lanka – a mere 31 kilometers away. Swami Vivekananda set foot here after visiting the west. According to Hindu mythology, Lord Rama built the Ram Sethu – the bridge connecting India to Sri Lanka – here. It gets its name from the fact that Rama is supposed to have destroyed the bridge with one end of his bow at the end of the war.
However, it is now a ghost town and this is exactly what made it a fascinating visit for me. It isn’t really haunted, no. But, in 1964, a cyclone destroyed the entire city. Rameshwaram was a small town that didn’t even have access to a railway line back then. It was Dhanushkodi that was the popular one. But, the cyclone changed everything and buried most of the city underwater.The tidal waves caused by the winds were apparently 25 feet high near Rameshwaram.
Reading about all this online before going there gave me the inspiration to see it for myself. The first step was to figure out how to get there.
There’s no easy way to reach Dhanushkodi directly. The only way is via Rameshwaram since there’s no place to stay in Dhanushkodi. But getting to Rameshwaram is a problem for anyone staying in Bangalore. There’s no direct train to experience the Pamban bridge. Rameshwaram has no airport and the closest city with one is Madurai. And trains from Madurai to Rameshwaram are all overnight and in fact, there’s just one train a week from Madurai. The only other option is bus and there are just three buses to Rameshwaram. SRS, KPN, and Royal Travels and each one takes 12 hours. We chose SRS and had a bad experience since he decided to drive slowly and stop frequently.
Hotels there are plenty but good quality ones are slightly on the pricey side. Typically hotels start at Rs. 1400 per night but keep an eye on the reviews as well. I remember such places having bad reviews. We stayed at Pearl Residency and it cost us roughly 2500 per night and included breakfast. My friend and I initially thought it was high but it definitely was worth it since hotels like these end up helping you get around. Our hotel put us in touch with friendly auto drivers and an extremely entertaining jeep driver. The food was good too considering it tasted more like home-made food.