Dhanushkodi and Rameshwaram| The Blessed Ride
Dhanushkodi, more commonly known as a ghost town is located at the south-eastern tip of Pamban Island of Tamil Nadu which is 630kms away from Namma Bangalore. For some of you I’m sure Pamban Bridge is probably the most heard of destination around this part of India.
Yes, Dhanushkodi is at the other end of the same Island which Pamban Bridge leads to. After the bridge, the first town you’ll reach is called Rameshwaram. It is the home town to one of the greatest personalities in India, Dr A.P.J. Abdul Kalam and most famously known for its Temple which is one of the Char Dhams.
Rameshwaram is a very important Pilgrimage destination for the Hindu Community, thus you will find a number of temples, mutts, plenty of restaurants to hog at, rooms and lodges to bunk in and every other general store with basic requirements.
You will find kind people everywhere around Rameshwaram. As long as you can speak Tamil or Hindi, you’re bound to find this place very comfortable in terms of assistance. Lodges and stays are really cheap but do not expect any sort of luxury, a few hotels just before Rameshwaram offer elegant infrastructure, but for that you need deep pockets too. So, with all that done let us look into how we get to this place.
Distance, Route Options and Directions
Route 1 – MAP LINK
Route 2 – MAP LINK
Distance – 1200 Kilometers round-trip
Bangalore – Krishnagiri – Salem – Namakal – Tiruchirapalli – Rameshwaram – Dhanushkodi
Road conditions (Reported as of mid-2015) – Both the routes are excellent throughout. Just ride on the beautiful roads everywhere. The last 4 to 5 Kilometer ride to Dhanushkodi is practically on the beach.
From Bangalore, Rameshwaram is about 595 kilometers through Tiruchirappalli and 600 kilometers through Madurai. Both these destinations are 350 kilometers away from Bangalore and has perfect 4 lane tarmac throughout the route.
They have tea shops and restaurants serving typical South Indian delicacies pretty much everywhere, you don’t have to ride for more than 10 kilometers to find one. This is one of the good things about Tamil Nadu highways, even in the night you can find fair number of stalls open.
Traffic is moderate until you reach these two cities, you’ll find usual vehicles like buses and trucks driven by people who’ve never driven anything before. The climate is hot and humid, riding in the night should make more sense throughout Tamil Nadu.
Once you cross either of these two cities, it’s just narrow 2 lane highways. The thing to worry about is that the traffic doesn’t reduce even though the number of lanes do.
Rain in these parts of the country can be quite a bad thing, I’m sure most of you love riding in the rain but around here, you barely have any visibility. So its better to stop if it starts pouring because it’s pointless to ride slow and cover less distance compared to stop and ride quick after it stops.
And now, let’s cut to the chase. You’ll expect the typical landscape you find around the coastal regions of India, but here the ocean surprises you.
Out of the “blue”, the ocean just pops up as though it wanted to hide all the while and suddenly captures your eye as if you’ve never seen one before.
The view is just brilliant and this is just the beginning people, because now you know that you’re nearing the thing you’ve ridden this far for. Just clear you’re mind once you spot the beaches onto the right and ride as if nothing ever mattered until now.
Before you can think of it you’ll be on it, The Pamban Bridge. Ocean on both the sides, a never ending bridge looking like it leads to heaven, the astounding rail bridge on the left, fishing boats here and there, old lamp posts on either side and a bit of tension in the bride every time a heavy vehicle passes by.
For those of you monkeys with a DSLR, every angle is different and better than the one made before. You simply cannot stop clicking here. The sea underneath is so shallow that you can see the ocean floor.
Well, this is all about Pamban Bridge known as one of the most dangerous bridges. Once you get closer to the other side, you’ll see a huge Island filled with a lot of small houses.
Rameshwaram is 12 Kilometers from here, a straight road through a few small villages and you’re there. We would advise you to stay back at Rameshwaram and plan to visit Dhanushkodi only the next day morning, we’ll come back to that in a bit.
In the meantime during your stay at Rameshwaram you can visit the temple, maybe ride back to Pamban bridge for a little more fun, visit the beach which is basically a park or hunt for food.
Get some good rest for the night so that you make sure to wake up early enough to ride 20 kilometers and witness the most beautiful sunrise on your way to Danushkodi.
Well, finally we’re on our way to the ghost town. A simple route out of Rameshwaram will lead to a road which is about 15 kilometers of arrow straight stretch cutting deep into Palk Strait.
This road mostly has ocean water on either side covered behind lush green trees on the white beaches. Slowly you will find that the beaches are now hiding behind a compound made up of chunks of rocks held with steel mesh.
This is when you’re nearly there, you’ll spot old matadors just driving into the beach on the left hand side of the road. This is the entrance to a place that I shall describe later which leads to Dhanushkodi, about 4 to 5 kilometers ride and you’re there.
It isn’t as simple as 4 to 5 kilometers exactly, from here on you’ll be riding on one of the most fun piece of land you’ve ever ridden in your life. It’s a never ending beach with puddles pretty much everywhere.
Don’t worry, it’s not the regular beach sand you usually struggle to ride on, a little water content in the sand makes it the most exciting surface.
If you get bored of the sand, you can practically ride on the sea itself. It is probably the shallowest bit of the sea you’ll ever experience, about say 1 inch deep and that’s it.
For people from far and near, it looks like you’re practically riding on sea water, its mind boggling. You’ll find people crossing the sea on foot from one island to another. The water being so clear, it looks like a natural sky mirror and is definitely the biggest one in the world.
Riding and clicking pictures is what this place is meant for, splashing through puddles is one of the most fun things around here and you never get enough of it, cautions as some of these puddles have thick algae and moss cover.
The early morning sun lights up this place like it was painted by Picasso himself, all you can do here is just ride and ride and ride until you reach the tip of the island.
Once you do, just sit down with an extremely wide smile and make sure to stare towards Sri Lanka which is only about 15 kilometers or so from where you’re sitting.
Best Time to Visit
Weekdays, just after the monsoons, September to February, as it would be flocked with tourists on weekends and public holidays.
- Stay – 2/3 days.
Food, Lodging, Help and Assistance.
- Safety en‐route – Yes, safe but do keep an eye out in Rameshwaram
- Parking Availability – Open and unsecured.
- Entry Fees – N/A
- Fuel – No Petrol bunk after Rameshwaram
- Puncture Repair shops – Only till Rameshwaram
- Breakdown Assistance – From Ramehwaram only.
- Nearest Service centers – Rameshwaram City
- Police Coverage – Rameshwaram
- Interceptor Alert – N/A
- Hospitals Available – Rameshwaram
- Restaurants /Food Joints Available – Since this is Tamil Nadu, literally everywhere. Proper local stalls and a lot many organized restaurants. Nothing after Rameshwaram towards Dhanushkodi
- Lodging Availability – Rameshwaram
This place is meant for those who love ripping on highways for long periods. Riding to this destination could also test your endurance capabilities.
Ramehswaram town is one of a kind and Dhanushkodi is the only one of its kind in the world.
The Pamban bridge makes you feel patriotic and the atmosphere of Dhanushkodi is such that you wouldn’t want to lift your asses off the beach for a very very long time.
I promise you, when you are at the tip, for at least a moment you will think if you could just ride to Sri Lanka. Well, sorry to disappoint you. You can’t.
So just sit back, and enjoy the view while it lasts.