If you are planning to visit Rameshwaram, keep a few days aside for Dhanushkodi. This place is pure gem. Bordered by the Bay of Bengal on one and the Indian Ocean on the other, Dhanushkodi, some 20 kilometres away from Rameshwaram, is one of the most spectacular stretches of Tamil Nadu with not more than 50 fisher folk dwellings with a population of around 500. It is a place shrouded in mystery and is easy to miss by the regular tourist. Not only because it’s not really a part of the tourist map, but also because this place is hard to reach.
Legend has it that Ram crossed over to Lanka to rescue his wife Sita from Ravan’s clutches from here. This is where he built the Ram Setu, with floating rocks (one of them is under lock and key in a temple in the ghost town), to cross over to Thalaimannar, a few kilometres across the Palk Straits.
Dhanushkodi is a place an exploring traveller would love to visit and know more about. For reaching this place one needs to cross over to the Pamban Island from the mainland. The best way to do this is by train, through the famous Pamban Bridge. Although with the stunning views of the two oceans and a beautiful shoreline, Dhanushkodi is a picturesque place to be, there’s an eeriness to the fact that what once used to be a town so significant, is nothing more than a ruin now.
There were many ferry services between Dhanushkodi and Talaimannar of Ceylon (now called Sri Lanka), transporting travellers and goods across the sea. There were hotels, textile shops and dharmashalas catering to these pilgrims and travellers. It was a major point of entry to India until 1964, when a cyclone devastated the entire town. Reports say that over 1, 800 people died in the cyclonic storm. All houses and other structures in Dhanushkodi town were marooned. The high tidal waves moved deep onto this island and ruined the entire town.
Despite 50 years, the town hasn’t really come out of it. But the tourist flow remains steady and this place is a must-visit for all those who love tranquillity and peace.