As the driver took us into Dhanushkodi town, we could see the effects of mother nature that had wrecked the town so badly. If you have already not read about the Pamban Bridge experience, click here to see a stunning 4K video of the famous bridge.
The Ram Sethu or the bridge made by Rama and his monkey friends and the story of how the floating stones were used to build it is also explained in another post.
We hired a 4×4 Jeep – don’t get ideas about the famous Jeep brand of cars and the iconic Wrangler type of vehicles here – this was a modified Mahindra jeep which was a barebones 4×4 – something that could get you out of the muck if you were stuck while traveling on the sands. At about some distance into Dhanushkodi you are stopped by the government checkpost beyond which you need a 4×4 to navigate the sands and reach the beach. Although the governement has lately constructed a road till the tip of the ocean now, we decided to enjoy driving in the sands.
We arranged for a vehicle back in Rameswaram and the driver brought us all the way into Dhanushkodi. It was a slow, painful vehicle and with no proper comfortable seating and about 2000-3000 rupees of rental I would NOT recommend this mode at all for others who wish to travel. Instead hire a Pajero or a fortuner 4×4 and you are into the game your way!
Must see attractions
Dhanushkodi has a few main ruins you need to see to understand the town’s past. Having ravaged by a cyclone way back in 1964, the town lost most of what it had – the railway lines, churches and entire villages left stranded without food or water for nearly 3 days. Today’s metro man was tasked with rebuilding the Pamban Bridge within 6 months a task he took 1.5 months to complete. A shame that a person like E.Sreedharan was consulted for Kerala and Delhi metro but ignored by Bangalore metro officials. Today if you travel to Dhanushkodi, you can see the dilapidated railway lines along the roadside, a video of which you can see here.
Credits : *L*Board (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC5BpHPBITHxd3pYdECu2z9Q)
When you reach the town, you can see the St.Antony’s church in complete ruins. This is now more of a photo opp place, but looking closer you can understand the destruction brought about by 250km/h winds of the cyclone of 1964. Also nearby the church one can notice the remnants of the Dhanushkodi Railway station. Not much of it is left, but these ruins take us into a past of 50 years and transports you into a time when the disaster struck. There are also the ruins of the post office and you can find one or two schools that rehabilitate villagers today.
Other things to do there
As you go a bit further, you can see shops that sell the famous Nannari Sherbet drink (The herb ‘Sarasaparilla’, better known as ‘Nannari‘ is a wonder herb which would come in handy during summer, with its cooling medicinal property of protecting one from common summer ailments.The syrup made from this herb root is called nannari syrup). This is a must drink and you can help yourself there to beat the summer heat. Carrying lots of water is highly recommended as temperatures can go up too much during day times. We had been there during mid April when the heat had not caught up much and it was about 29-32 degrees with a real feel of a much hotter location.
On your way back you can find villagers digging pits in the sand from where they derive clear and clean water which is tasty and drink worthy. We happened to stop by with a villager who was kind enough to let us taste some of the water and it was a start contrast to the salty seas nearby. This is a must stop if you have the time just to understand the technique villagers use.