............................................................. A lost city washed out by a 1964 cyclone...
Dhanushkodi ( means bow's end in Tamil referring to its position in the island), once a flourishing tourist and pilgrimage centre was washed away by a cyclonic flood in 1964 drowning an entire train with its passangers. Today a small community of fisherman lives here among the ruins of the ancient port city which connected it with TalaiMannar in Sri Lanka.
Dhanushkodi is a village at the southern tip of the Rameswaram island, at the eastern coast of the Tamil Nadu. Before the 1964 tragedy there was a railway line between Pamban (a station just after entering into the island on Chennai-Rameswaram railway line ) and Dhanushkodi, and then onward ferry to Talaimannnar). This line has been abondoned thereafter. One can still see the remnants of old line in some parts on the sides of present Dhanushkodi road.
The tragedy of Dhanushkodi on 22 Dec 1964
The train No.653, Pamban-Dhanushkodi Passenger-a daily regular service-which left Pamban with 110 passengers and 5 railway staff was only few yards before Dhanushkodi Railway station when it was hit by a massive tidal wave at about 23.55 hrs. The whole train got drowned under water killing all 115 on the spot. The high tidal waves moved almost 10 kilometres onto this island and ruined the entire town. Pamban bridge was washed away by the high tidal waves in this disaster. All together over 1800 people died in the cyclonic storm.
How to reach Dhanushkodi
There is daily express trains from Chennai to Rameswaram and from Madurai. From Rameswaram there are regular buses to Dhanushkodi, which ends service at Munram Chatram, after which one has to hitch-hike a fisherman's tempo or rent a jeep. The 6 kilometer ride from Chatram to Dhanushkodi itself is a marvellous experience. You can also walk this 6 km desrt like route following the truck route.
Sunrise at Dhanushodi