Rameshwaram and Dhanushkodi are the names familiar through history and films but never felt its impact until been there. It is one of most memorable travel we have done so far. We started off to Rameshwaram post lunch from Madurai. Its approx. 4 to 4.5 hours journey, roads are neatly laid and it was a pleasant drive through out except for no good restaurants available on the highway.
Narrow roads with sea on both sides started few kms ahead of Pamban point. Colour of sand, tree types started changing slowly reflecting that sea is nearing. White sand and Palm trees are seen throughout the stretch. Houses, farm lands, people reduces as we move ahead. We reached Mandapam village (last village of mainland India) around 5 pm
Pamban bridge connects the mainland India to the Pamban Island. Pamban bridge was a magnificent sight with water all around. This historical bridge is now 100+ years and 2nd longest sea bridge in India (running 2 Kms). We got down the car and stood on the bridge for few minutes (paid penalty for that though! – people can stand on the bridge but not the vehicles!).
Standing on the bridge was one of moments where you feel connected to nature and question the very form of existence
Rameshwaram is one of villages in Pamban island. Starting from Pamban, we reached rameshwaram in ~12 kms crossing thangachimadam and couple more villages. Rameshwaram is yet to be commercialized. Though there are some good hotels around to stay, you wont find much options for restaurants or commercial places to hang around. We visited Ramanathaswamy temple in the evening, had dinner at Daiwik Hotel’s restaurant and rested for the day.
Trip to Dhanushkodi was the most awaited personal trip for several reasons – myths around the faded bridge , stories we hear from the epic about the place , picturesque photos you see in internet never failed to arouse interest . We jumped off the bed by sharp 5 am to take a glimpse at Sangamam where the Bay of Bengal and Indian ocean meets.
Sangamam or Dhanushkodi beach point is ~22 kms from Rameshwaram. Roads are neatly laid till sangamam point and personal vehicles, share autos/public transport are permitted till this point. Looks like this road was laid in 2016 and prior to that only local tours/maxi cabs were only allowed here.
We reached the Dhanushkodi police checkpoint, that is approx 7 kms away from sangam point , by around 6 am. However we came to know that public will be allowed to go to sangam only after 7 am . So we spent some time in the pristine beach of Danushkodi which you cannot find easily in Chennai .
Road to Sangamam or Dhanushkodi Beach point is like driving through the sea and its best to be visited in the early morning. Indian Ocean at the right and Bay of Bengal at the left, it was a blissful sight. Interestingly, India Ocean is full of waves and Bay of Bengal is still and calm with absolutely no waves (locals say its men on the left and women on the right ;))
Reaching the beach point, we got down to the beach. Beach sand feels like flour and very pure. We walked towards the end point, played at beach and little drenching in the shallow area. Sea gets deeper from the start at some areas and locals advice not to get in to water especially on the calmer side of Bay of Bengal.
At around 8 am, it gets hot and as the time goes you start to feel the heat. Post 9 am till 4 pm would be too hot to enjoy the place and should be visited early or towards evening. Checkpost at Dhanushkodi village is closed at 5 pm and vehicles are not allowed post that.
While Danushkodi is a historic or mythological place for its fame of Rama visiting, building bridge to lanka, i felt gloomy when going through the Dhanushkodi village. Nature has its way to send powerful message through the calamities and this is one place that will remind you all the time you are there. This is high intensity area prone to storms, depression and Tsunami. I wonder, why people continue to live here, while the reality is also explicit. Life is not fair to everyone!
Trip to Rameshwaram was both to be cherished and gloomed!