Dhanushkodi is a town at the south-eastern tip of Pamban Island of the state of Tamil Nadu in India. But it isn’t just an ordinary town; it is an abandoned town because it was destroyed during the Rameswaram cyclone in 1964. The reason it got so majorly affected is primarily its location; situated to the South-East of Pamban and is about 18 miles west of Talaimannar in Sri Lanka. It remains uninhabited till today.
It’s ironical that the peace and tranquility surrounding this tiny place is actually the result of the fury of that cyclone decades ago. It is, however, home to just a few fishermen who refuse to leave and the island miraculously seems to take care of them.
You’ve got to experience the Pamban Bridge (said to be the among the world’s most dangerous sea-bridges) in all its glory on your way to the town. And then prepare yourself for the sight of the broken churches and houses lying in rubble.
It used to be a flourishing trade centre with goods being transported from India to Sri Lanka. There was everything there from hotels, textiles, dharamshalas, a railway station to a hospital, police and tradesmen. In December 1964, it lost all that and about 2,000 lives.
You may wonder though why the city was never rebuilt. That’s because it is said to be haunted by the souls who lost their lives in the cyclone. So much so that even the government forbids you to visit there after dark. No matter how enchanting and beautiful is the view of the Bay of Bengal and the Indian Ocean from the town; a feeling of eeriness that surrounds Dhanushkodi will creep up on you.
Mythologically too Dhanushkodi has some significance. It is said that Lord Rama pointed to this town with the tip of his bow from Sri Lanka after which Lord Hanuman built a bridge to the town here. It seems quite believable given that Sri Lanka is a mere 31 km from Dhanushkodi.
It’s a town where there’s beauty and destruction equal measure. A great place to discover for the discerning traveller.