As a backpacker, I get this irresistible need to travel every 2 months. But lockdown has successfully kept me inside the house for quite some time. As a means of passing time, I frequently scroll through my gallery and go down the memory lane. Just today I cherished the trip I took in October last year to DhanushKodi Tamil Nadu. I would like to share my experience with you. I landed at Madurai airport in the night close to 3 AM and stayed at the airport until sunrise. Although my ultimate location was DhanushKodi, I thought when I have come to Madurai why not explore it for half a day. Now due to my love for temples, I took a bus directly from the airport to Meenakshi Temple.
And boy it was worth it. I have been to a lot of temples in South India, but Meenakshi temple was like no other. As I started walking towards the temple, a huge gush of the crowd came along chanting Rudra shlokas in sync. There was an atmosphere of strength and a different kind of allure all around. As I entered the temple and strolled around, I noticed several sculptures. Soon I overheard an elder claiming that the temple has 33000 sculptures. I did not have the patience or the will to check the veracity of the claim.
After spending half a day at Meenakshi temple, I took a train to Rameswaram. I reached Rameswaram at 9 PM in the night. I had a very peculiar experience as I reached the temple’s Dharamshala. I planned to stay at the temple’s Dharamshala to cut the cost, but the officials didn’t allow me to stay. I gasped at the reason they told me about why they can’t allow me to stay here. An increasing number of people are committing suicide in Rameswaram in these rooms while being alone. And that is why they have stopped giving solo travelers room to stay. For a moment I wondered if it is a cooked-up story. I saw a group of locals and asked them about the same. They told me that the reason the officials gave me is legit. So, then I had no option but to go outside the temple premises and book a lodge. The lodge is costly because they know we have nowhere else to go. So, if you are planning to go to Rameswaram, and want to have an economical trip, find a travel buddy who is heading the same destination. The next morning, I started at 6:15 AM towards DhanushKodi on a rented cycle. I specially went on a bicycle as I like to stop and frequently interact with people. Moreover, the beauty of the road to Dhanushkodi didn’t allow me to choose any other means of transport. I reached DhanushKodi at around 10 AM. I traveled to Old Harbour road and visited a very small fishing site paired with a fishing village. The villagers were amicable and invited me to fill my water surpassing the language barrier. I got to know from an English-speaking kid in the fishing village that DhanushKodi means, End of Bow Rama marked this region with his bow to lay the foundation of Rama Setu. I was even more excited about the place after knowing this.
My next destination was a ghost village some KMs ahead. As I reached the so-called haunted village there were hardly any people to be found. In my prior research, I got to know, that this was a fishing village that was evacuated in 1964 Cyclone. The Cyclone coupled with the 2004 Tsunami leads to the ruins of DhanushKodi. I had before my eyes a place where people used to live, breed, and dream. But all that remains now is this ghost of a town that used to be. There’s something about deserted places that make you think about Life. I visited a ruined church that was completely devastated. I pulled out my notebook and wrote, “The land where people worshiped, to protect them from the evil gall, all that’s left now is this empty church hall.” As the Time hit 3 PM I rushed with my Cycle towards Rameswaram as the authorities permit the travelers to visit DhanushKodi only if they return before 5 PM. I reached Rameswaram at 6:30 PM, even though I felt that I’ve left a part of me in the Ruins of Dhanushkodi.
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