Exploring Tamil Nadu: Dhanushkodi

The road grows dark and eerie pretty quick. The wind howls through the AC Ducts, and if this was a lighter car, I imagine the wind could sway it pretty bad as well. We stop at one of the shacks for some fresh fish. Since civilisation isn’t really allowed here, there is no electricity and we’ve to make do with the light from our phones. We choose Morel – a fish I’ve never heard about and Grouper.

These shacks are mostly owned by fishermen who bring part of their catch here for tourists. It is garnished and fried on a big pan right there, and this is possibly the closest I’ve got to ‘freshly caught fish’.

We head to the back of the shack to have a smoke. There is a faint light still, and I can see the rough waves, and the empty beach. I imagine camping here, with a little fire, nailed down tents (however we can). There’s no respite from the wind, and the cigarettes succumb more to it than our smoking and we head back just in time for the fish.

By the time we are done, most of the tourists have cleared out and the roads are emptier, if that could be possible. The town of Rameshwaram is still bustling though, with people finishing their shopping or heading for dinner. This is a town that sleeps early and wakes up insanely early.

Our next stop, and a crucial one, is for dinner – the ‘Sea Star’ hotel we saw on our way in. Except, it turns out that ‘Sea Star’ has nothing whatsoever to do with seafood. It is, like several other places around, pure vegetarian. So we’re back on the road, looking for some meat places, and I force us to stop at the first place where we see some meat.

It is a little place, popular with people who are just about to travel. The guys take advantage of the language barrier and our obvious tourist look and sell us some overpriced fish and mutton. The fish is deep fried and horrible, and the paratha is sorta edible, barely even rating a 5 on 10.

Oh well.

We’ve an over 8-hour drive the next day, since we decide to head to the other coast – Mahabalipuram. There is something called the ‘East Coast Road’ that leads to it, but it is for most part, a narrow 2-lane highway. There are two potential pit-stops, Tanjore and Karaikudi.

But that’s for later. It is time to finally discover Dhanushkodi.

The map says that Dhanushkodi is 20 kms from Rameshwaram, but that’s a little deceptive. The quay is about 20 kms but the road continues from there to practically the end of India, from where you can see Sri Lanka.

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The landscape is a juxtaposition of sereneness and wildness. You could believe you are absolutely on two different planets, depending on what side you are facing. Here’s a photo for your reference:

The photo of the left is the view on from that straight road on the left. And then the wildness on the right. The contrasts are simply astounding!!!

We go down straight to the end, passing by some ruins from the cyclone of 1960s, when Dhanushkodi was declared a Ghost Town. The number of tourists are quite less, considering the beauty of the place. A handful of tourists, scattered on the beach. We decide not to venture into the water, considering the long drive ahead and focus on taking photographs.

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If you really see hard, you can see Sri Lanka. I wish I had a wider lens to capture the range of this. I chose the SIGMA 24mm F1.4 ART Lens, but something like the SIGMA 14mm would’ve been a great great choice! Or maybe the SIGMA 12-24mm A. Oh well, next time. Assuming we can still access the place.

Apparently, the Indian Coast Guard would be taking over this stretch soon. So if you want to visit this beautiful piece of India, this month is probably your last chance!!

**

Read Part 1 (Madurai) & Part 2 (Rameshwaram) of this series.

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