Dhanush Kodi

Dhanush Kodi means the bow’s end, it is a narrow strip of land that forms the eastern tip of Tamil Nadu. A seven kilometre stretch of white sand separates the town from Rameshwaram.  Dhanush Kodi appears like pouting lips that blows a kiss to the tear shaped nation of Sri Lanka which is only 30 kms away. A row of small islands and reefs connects Dhanush Kodi to Mannar island of Sri Lanka; this is called the Adam’s bridge, more popularly known as Rama Sethu or Rama’s bridge. The sea that is very shallow along this stretch, between 3 ft to 30 ft deep, is home for rich aquatic lifeforms.  

Dhanush Kodi was a busy town with a post office, church, temples, hospital, post office and custom’s office; it was an important transit point between Tamil Nadu and Sri Lanka. There were ferry services between Dhanush Kodi and Thalaimannar in Sri Lanka.   

Dhanush Kodi is a ghost town now that was destroyed and razed to the ground by the high intensity  cyclone and storm of 1964. Giant tidal waves swallowed the town, cutting the land away and killing all the inhabitants of over 2000 people. What stays in our minds is the fatal Passenger train that left Rameshwaram for Dhanush Kodi the night of December 22, 1964. The train carried 180 passengers, the driver had to take the train through darkness and heavy rain with wind blowing at a high velocity. Dhanush Kodi was just a few kms away when a large tidal wave about 15 kms high washed the train away. Rameshwaram and Dhanush Kodi were cut away from the rest of India for 3 days because of heavy and devastating rain. It was on December 25 that the rest of the world came to know of the tragedy. Following the disaster the town has been declared as unfit for living and has remained a ghost town that carries memories of the tragic night in the ruins that we see around.

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The town is uninhabited but for small fishing hamlets very close to the sea. The hardy fishing folk have their backs to the land, their lives hang on the fragile thread of benevolence extended by the sea that offers them a livelihood.

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