Discover the edge of peninsular India, by experiencing the ghost town, Dhanushkodi. The town that’s just about 31 kms away from Sri Lanka. As far as mystical lands go, Dhanushkodi has it all. Traces of Indian Mythology and marvels of nature. Once a prosperous town, Dhanushkodi was eventually deemed unfit to be inhabited by the Government. The ruins of different structures are equally fascinating and eerie.
The reasons to visit Dhanushkodi are countless. It is believed that this abandoned place lives up to its name of being a “Ghost Town”. To the point that nobody is allowed to visit or stay there beyond 6 pm in the evening. That is due to the paranormal activities that are believed to have taken place post sundown. But beyond the legends and history, the sheer beauty of the pristine coastline is mind blowing. The term ‘naked beaches’ gets a new meaning here.
If you want a taste of untamed nature, you really have to visit this place in Tamil Nadu. You will be driving past soft white sandy beaches on both sides of the road. There’s nothing but clear blue sea, as far as your eyes can reach. Apart from a few huts and tiny stalls in intervals, there is literally nothing along the stretch but nature’s beauty. So here are a few things to know before visiting this unforgettable land of magic and mystery.
History of Dhanushkodi
It might not seem like much today. But back when the Britishers were in power, Dhanushkodi was a prosperous port town that traders and pilgrims would frequently visit. It had good infrastructure and all the essentials like a hospital, a railway station, hotels, houses and a post office, among other stuff. Things were going well until one day, in December 1964. A massive cyclone hit the town, with tides reaching upto 20 feet. Nothing but ruins survived.
If you go further back in time, there are some interesting legends involving Lord Rama. It is believed that Rama used his bow to label the area. Dhanush means bow, and that’s how the town gets its name. This is also the spot where he and Hanuman’s army started building a bridge to reach Lanka, in order to save Rama’s wife Sita, from Ravana. Some satellite images from NASA confirm the existence of a land formation which resembles that of a bridge.
Although there are still studies being conducted, the Ram Setu bridge (Also known as Adam’s bridge) was seemingly man made in nature. But regardless of whether that’s a legend or a fact, the distant sight of the remnants of some bridge can bring you goosebumps.
How to reach Dhanushkodi?
By Air – There’s no airport in Dhanushkodi. So you will have to get a flight to Madurai, which is the nearest airport. It’s around 198 kms away. From the airport there are options for buses and cabs which head to Dhanushkodi. You could even book your bus in advance as there are many Volvo and AC buses which travel to Dhanushkodi.
By Rail – You can get a train to Rameshwaram, which has the nearest railway station. It’s just about 20kms away and the road from there to Dhanushkodi is pretty scenic! The train ride to Rameshwaram is just as amazing as it goes through the Pamban Bridge to reach the island of Rameshwaram.
By Road – The island of Rameshwaram (Pamban island) is connected to the mainland by the Pamban Road Bridge. The bridge is also known as the Indira Gandhi Road Bridge, which is connected through the National Highway 49. If you have your own vehicle, a road trip to Dhanushkodi is one of the best you can experience in India.
Best time to visit Dhanushkodi?
This is pretty much standard. In general, the winter months are considered the best time as it’s peak travel season and the weather is also good. So November to March is the best time. But we prefer the months of October because relatively lesser people visit during that month. April and May are also good months if you have a decent tolerance for humidity. It always depends on preference so the best time can vary.
If you ask us though, we think late October and early November is a great time to visit. This is when the weather is favourable and the tourists haven’t started flocking in full swing. Dhanushkodi still gets a lot of visitors on a daily basis so don’t be surprised. Also, the monsoon season might not be a great time to visit. The region sometimes experiences mild storms. It’s really beautiful here during the monsoon season but not always ideal.
What makes Dhanushkodi special?
The beauty of Dhanushkodi cannot be overstated. Even the ruins of the old town’s police station, church and other structures are such interesting sights. The journey to get to Rameshwaram, via the Pamban bridge is an exquisite experience. It might seem a bit scary, seeing how you’re on a single track with nothing but the vast blue sea on both the sides. But it’s a great view nonetheless and one of the best train rides in India.
Even taking the road bridge is just as fun. Then there’s the journey from Rameshwaram to Dhanushkodi which offers a view of the pristine coast on both sides of the road. Whether you’re on a bus, a car or a bike, the entire stretch makes for an amazing journey. Also, you don’t have to go all the way to the tip of Dhanushkodi. If you have your own vehicle, you can stop a little before and find a spot just for yourself.
Besides, if you want an exotic beach experience, Pamban beach is arguably one of the best in India. Especially considering it’s so close to the mainland. At Pamban Beach, you will know the feeling of sharing a beach with barely any people. Even the seashells here are pretty fascinating and different to the ones you find in most Indian beaches.