Dhanushkodi, A Ghost Town- A Beautiful Lost City of Tamil Nadu You Must Visit in 2023

Dhanushkodi, a city of Tamil Nadu, lost its beauty when a super cyclonic storm entered the city in 1964. After the disaster, it is often regarded as a Ghost City as it becomes humanless.

Location-Ramnathpuram District, Tamil Nadu, India (Around 20 km from Rameswaram and 31 km from Srilanka)     

Connected countries- India( Tamil Nadu state)-Srilanka(Thalai Mannar, a village of Srilanka)

Best time to visit: October- February

Whenever we hear the word “Ghost” 1st thing that comes to our mind is some kind of spiritual thing that is intangible but can not be ignored because a feeling of sensation happens in our body. Here Ghost refers to not presence of humans. ” Dhanushkodi”, a city that became humanless was a crowded place once upon a time. A disaster came and a beautiful small island turned pale. 

History of Dhanushkodi:
Dhanushkodi in Hindu Mythology-

In the Vedic era, it is believed to be the place where Lord Rama, the 7th Avatar of the God Vishnu, built a bridge known as the “ Ram Setu ” which connects Lanka( Presently known as Srilanka). Lanka’s kingdom was owned by Ravana, the Demon king. The bridge was constructed to save Rama’s wife Sita who was kidnapped by Ravana. The bridge was 35 km long and 3.5km wide.

The floating stone bridge was built with the help of Rama’s monkey army and Vibhisana, the younger and good brother of Ravana. He entreated Rama to destroy the bridge once his wife came back from Ravana’s clutches to protect the Lanka kingdom. Lord Rama Obliged and impelled his bow. Then the bridge immediately collapsed a couple of feet below sea level where it still lies under the name: “Adam’s Bridge”.

Dhanushkodi Before The Disaster :

Being the southeastern tip, it was one of the major spots for maritime trade. Before the storm, the tiny village was full of fishermen, boats, fishing industries, a small lighthouse, a police station, a church, a temple, a Railway station, and small houses which means everything was available there that a person needed.

What happened on December 21, 1964?

On that day, a super cyclonic storm was created in the South Andaman Sea and moved towards Dhanushkodi with a velocity of 270 km/hr. It touched the plain at Dhanushkodi and the destruction started. Around 20ft high tidal waves submerged the beautiful village in one day. Lots of villagers were dead. According to Official data, a total of 1800 death happened, among them 800 people from Dhanushkodi and others from nearby villages. The only police station, Railway station, houses, post office, and many more were destroyed that day.

                                             That day is also famous for the tragedy which did not occur in the history of Indian Railways. The tragedy is known as “Train no. 653: Pamban-Dhansukodi passenger train”. On Dec 21st the regular passenger train was moving toward Dhanushkodi from Rameswaram through the Pamban bridge meanwhile the super cyclonic storm met the train and the tidal waves engulfed the entire train inside the seawater. It is estimated that around 115 passengers were traveling on the train and all were found dead. But unofficially the data may vary as many passengers were traveling without tickets.

                     Overall the cyclonic storm tore down the entire Dhanushkodi village and turned the beautiful crowdy village into an un-liveable area. Now only the remnants of destructed buildings and some fishermen are living there with no electricity, no network, less water, and many difficulties.

Developmental actions Taken by Govt. Of India:
  • Ministry of Road Transport and Highways launched an ambitious road project to connect Rameswaram and Dhanushkodi in 2014.
  • After several postponements, Phase II of this project – a 9 km long stretch of road from Mukuntharayar Chathiram to Arichalmunai (the Southernmost tip of Dhanushkodi where the Indian Ocean and Bay of Bengal meet) was completed in 2018. 
  • Local govt. Planning to set up a light and sound show to encourage tourism and increase the situation of the fishermen staying there.
How to Reach Dhanushkodi:
  • By Air- Nearest airport is Madurai Airport which is 164km away from Rameswaram, where taxis are available to Dhanushkodi.
  • By Train- Nearest Railway Station is Rameswaram which is 20km away from Dhanushkodi. Direct trains are available from Chennai to Madurai.
  • By Road- Taxis and private vehicles are available from the nearest city Rameswaram.
Things to do in Dhanushkodi:

Though it is a silent beach, if you love history and love ancient architecture or if you are interested to visit some unexplored places like this then you must not miss the chance to see that place. Nowadays many tourists are going to Dhanushkodi to experience the tragedy that happened years ago though the remnants are still there.

Here is a list of activities you can do in Dhanushkodi:

  • You can visit dismantled police station, church, Railway station, castle, post offices, etc.
  • You can roam around the clean beach and swim near the seashore ( Remember not to go too far into the sea as the weather condition may change suddenly ).
  • Also, visit Rameswaram temple which is only 18 km away from Dhanushkodi.
  • You can enjoy the beauty of India’s only sea rail bridge known as Pamban Bridge.
  • The Gulf of Mannar Marine National Park is not too far, you can enjoy the wildlife there.
  • Don’t forget to see Adam’s Bridge or Ram Setu which is about 16 km from Dhanushkodi Beach and experience the Ramayana story with your own eyes.
Tips Before You Visit Dhanushkodi:
  • Dhanushkodi Beach closes after 7 pm. So, don’t stay too long. After 6 pm It is always safe to come back from there.
  • Before going there know the weather condition and rules and regulations of the local Government there.
  • Take some packed food along with you because there are not many options for food. 

I hope you all like the story behind Dhanushkodi which lost its significance but the time is changing and the local Government is trying to develop the town by increasing tourism in the state. If you have any queries about the Topic, please let me know in the comment box below.

See my other posts on my blog: hodophileandfoodieme.com.

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