Seldom you go to a place that stays with you long after you have left it.
Dhanushkodi is one such place which haunts your memory and pulls you towards it long after you have returned. It’s the Dead end of India – the Lands end!
It’s a narrow stretch of land, approx 1 KM wide and stretches almost 25 Kms into the sea. One side you can see the Indian ocean, and at the same time see the calm and tranquil Bay of Bengal on the other side. The difference is perceptible.
There is a small fishing community who still live there, atleast 1 hour away from nearest telephone, medical facility or even basic supply of daily needs. You can hear the constant hum of the ocean on both the sides with the winds hitting the Indian landmass at great speeds. The fishing boats dot the horizon of the ocean, where they brave their lives just to make ends meet, braving not just the fury of the waves but also the coast guard of our neighboring country who frequently nabs them for no good reason.
Imagining Lord Rama and his vanara army building the great causeway gives you goosebumps, whether you believe it to be history or part of the Myths. There are markings to show where Rama worshipped Siva and started to build the causeway to reach Lanka. There is a tiny temple where you can see the stone which floats on water.
Then there are the remnants of the Ghost Town which was ripped apart in the devasting Ceylon cyclone in 1964. There are parts of a Church with its tapestry still standing. One can also see the tracks of the Trains which Connected the Remote Dhanushkodi to EGMORE !! This small town was a entry point to Sri Lanka and an important port till then.
There are horror stories of how winds at 160mph hit the land and people survived clinging to the Pamban bridge, while many others perished before the fury of the Nature.
I struck a conversation with a Souvenier shop owner and was surprised at the Fluent Hindi of the person who rarely left Dhanushkodi. I was in disbelief when he told me that they live on this remote piece of land without even a phone connection, and which is disconnected from mainland when sea is high.
He told me they get fresh water on the island itself!! He told me that he loves the peace of the place and the uncomplicated life. He says that he can provide for his family and has all the time to do as he pleases.
It reminded of the Remote places in Ladakh which are under snow for 9 out of 12 months an year. When asked, why they survive these conditions ?! The farmer had replied that, here he is an owner of 3 acres of land and If he went to Delhi, he has to sleep under a flyover! What choice does he have.
Though I can’t imagine doing anything like that, I do want to camp out in Dhanushkodi, in the lap of the ocean for a few days. They say it’s dangerous for non-locals to hang around there, would definitely make this trip before I leave TN.