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Visiting the haunted town of Dhanushkodi

Updated: Sep 8, 2020

For a traveller, visiting new and mysterious places are always fascinating. And last year, I got the chance to visit Dhanushkodi, -the Ghost Town situated in the southern part of India, just 20 kms ahead of the famous tourist destination- Rameshwaram.

It is believed that Lord Rama used his bow's (Dhanush) end (Kodi) to break the bridge which was used for his army to cross over to Lanka for the victorious war against Ravana.Flanked by the Indian Ocean on one side and the Bay of Bengal on the other, Dhanushkodi was once a bustling and flourishing town – with houses, schools, church, temple, a post office and a railway station. Thousands of people resided in this tiny town, known as one of the richest fishing belts in the country. Also, it was the only land border between Sri Lanka and India, and served as a major port for several pilgrims and traders. The temple and the church in the town were visited by many devotees, making it a preferred tourist spot.

The town once bustling with locals and holidaymakers alike was emptied abruptly and completely. On December 22, 1964, a cyclone built up in South Andman Sea,It’s speed was expected to be 45 km/hour but suddenly it turned up into a massive cyclone with speed upto 200 km/hour and the waves were higher as 20 feet. It hit Dhanushkodi in midnight with winds gusting up to 170 kph and the entire town was in ruins and deserted in the aftermath, just as it has stayed to this day. Tragically nearly 1,800 people lost their lives, and all the houses in the town were razed to the ground.

Moreover, when the super cyclone hit the town, Train No. 653 Pamban-Danushkodi Passenger with 100 passengers and five railway staff was moving slowly towards Dhanushkodi train station when a big wave blown away the full tain with 6 cars. There was no clue of any of them. The cyclone destroyed everything. The whole town was vanished. After that night, nobody could hear the whistle of a train engine again. Government quickly labelled the town as ‘not fit for human habitation’. However, today only a small number of fisher families live here in their thatched huts.

Today, even after more than 50 years, you are not allowed to visit Dhanushkodi in night. People say that you can still hear the screams of the locals died that night. Some people say that they have seen the station master of the destroyed train station walking around with a lamp and heard the voices of prayer in the Church.

When we headed towards Dhanushkodi from Rameshwaram, it was a beautiful narrow road that was connecting the haunted town to the main city. On our left, we could see the Bay of Bengal which was showing its power while on the right, it was deep blue Indian Ocean who was too quite comparatively, seems it was telling us that we can’t even think how deep it was. We could see the scriptures of the old town. Some part of the old Railway track was still visible at the train station. We walked till the sea beach but it was totally deserted. Sri Lanka was just 24 kms ahead of this place and we could scan Sri Lankan mobile network in our mobile. We just imagined, before that deadly night, how beautiful this town was. There were thousands of life, thousands of dreams, and suddenly all of shadowed way forever.

We make many plans in our life, but have we ever thought what happens to the people and their dreams who left us like this. Albert Einstein proved that energy never dies, so where are those energies who left us suddenly? Are the stories of walking station master and Church prayers are just rumors or the energies of the people who died that night are trying to give us any message which we can’t understand? I couldn’t decide it, maybe you could decode the mystery!


Mayank Srivastava


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