My trip to Danushkodi was a small leg in a South India trip with my family. We travelled by road and having an SUV was an advantage. We set base at Madurai and travelled to Rameswaram and Danushkodi. The strange part was the unusual rain that made May feel like September.
Madurai to Rameswaram
We travelled the land where one of the most brilliant minds of this country was born (if you don't know who I am talking about go research it! *evil grin*). Now I have heard people rant about those fabulous places in the North and the West have NO IDEA about the brilliance of the South-East. Rameswaram is on the Pamban Island. You travel by train or road on the Pamban Bridge, built on the Palk Strait. There is a railway bridge as well as a road bridge connecting the mainland to Pamban Island both known as the Pamban Bridge. This railway bridge is a cantilever drawbridge opened on Feb 24th, 1914 was the longest sea bridge until 2010 and is the only Asian drawbridge that is opened manually. It takes 4 members on each side to open this bridge. While I was not lucky to see it open, it was nice to see a train go through.
Then there is the road bridge is a bascule bridge (can be raised when ships pass by), built in 1988 as the cyclone that destroyed Danushkodi demanded a roadway as well. The road bridge is at least 5 storeys high also 2.3 km long, runs alongside the railway bridge. While I usually love to see beauty in nature, here I see the progress of man. Those bridges are build on cyclone prone and highly corrosive waters and yet stands strong as a symbol of human progress.
A small fishing town in the South-Eastern tip of the Pamban Island was washed away by the 1964 cyclone. All that remains are the skeletons of a few buildings and the abandoned railway track A major locomotive hub, the famous Boat Mail train ran on the Pamban Bridge till Danushkodi.
Road trip is fun in an SUV. You have a road up to about 7km away from Danushkodi and then you drive through the sand on the beach. When you reach the town you can see the remains of the town. Go a little further and you will reach the strip of land where there are beaches on both sides. On one side you are the Palk Straight where there are a few shops selling ornaments. At the horizon you can see a faint bit of land which is Sri Lanka.
We decided to walk to the other side. Given the rains, I could hear a thunder that sounded very close while the dark clouds were still forming at the horizon. Well, when I got close it was the sound of the waves crashing on the shore. The thundering sound was the Indian Ocean. You could hear and see its raging power. I stood there, mesmerised. Until then, the roughest sea I had seen was the Bay of Bengal. Bay of Bengal can be called calm in front of this.
There are the famous temples of Rameswaram as it is considered a very holy place. I want to shift your attention to the non-religious aspects of Rameswaram and Danushkodi.
*Rameswaram is an island connected by road and railways (NOT WATERWAYS).
*The country's tallest tower is the TV Tower, located in Rameswaram.
*One of the most brilliant scientists and the best President (you still have to find out on your own! *wink*) this country could have ever had hails from Rameswaram. His house is now a tourist location.
*You can see both Palk Strait and the Indian Ocean by just walking to the other side in Danushkodi.
*You can see a hovercraft if you get lucky!
*You can walk in the sea and it only ankle-high near Danushkodi.
*Fish and birds you have never seen before. See them all here!
How to get there:
Get to Madurai.
Take a train to Rameswaram.
For Danushkodi - Take local transport till the bus pickup and from there the local bus will take you.
You can stay in Madurai or Rameswaram.