Sunday, March 17, 2013

Our Interesting Trip To Rameshwaram And Dhanushkodi - II

This is the second part of our trip to Rameshwaram. You can read the first part
here. The story continues...

 As I told you earlier, we went by jeep for 24 km.  14 Km were on tar road and then we reached the Dhanushkodi beach.  The jeep went on the beach sand for 10 Kms.!  Let me write about the passage at the end of this post.

This is the area where we did the concluding part of the Tila homa!  We didn't go the to tip which is visible from here, since we were told the waves would be too high.  It would have been a bit scary standing at the tip of the land, surrounded by ocean and sea on all sides except for a strip of the land at one side! The wind was strong too!

This area was lonely when we reached the place.  Later a jeep full of people came here...tourists.  The junior purohit did some pooja via my husband to the ancestors here and then carrying the tray  with the ancestors' images in steel plates (it is presumed that these images are our ancestors), along with the til etc. both of us were asked to go a little deeper into the sea.  There, holding the tray on his head, my husband was asked to throw  the contents into the sea from the back of his head.  It is said that if we do this here, our ancestors who are roaming between heaven and earth will reach heaven instantly.  We can do this 'tila homa' only once in a lifetime.  Once the ancestors are sent to the heaven, doing this homa again is a waste, the purohit said.  Then we were asked to take three dips in the sea.  My husband is always scared of water.  He never enters water even in Marina beach which is quite shallow!  Unlike the Rameshwaram sea shore, here, the waves were quite high.  So, it was a bit scary, esp. for my husband.  My brother in law and the junior purohit helped him...I was also holding him(!).  I was giggling when we were falling down and he was so furious.  It was very difficult to stand up and wade back to the shore! I started walking on my knees and again my husband was furious! He was also laughing loudly after sitting safely in the jeep on our way back to the town! He was really scared in the water. The junior priest poured the water in the brass pot which was kept in the pooja (kudam), on our heads  after coming out of the sea and the homa was complete!

Now, to a brief history of Dhanushkodi! This place is situated at the tip of the island of Rameshwaram.  Dhanush means 'Bow' and Kodi means 'end/tip'.  Rama after coming back from Sri Lanka, after the war with Ravana, broke the bridge in this area, which connected this place with Sri Lanka.  This bridge was used by  his sena to reach Sri Lanka. It is called Rama Sethu now. Sethu means, bridge. The whole of Rameshwaram is  connected with the Hindu mythology, Ramayana.  Sri Lanka is just some 31 Km from this place.  The tip joins the Bay of Bengal and the Indian ocean. You can read more about this place here.

It is said that the pilgrimage to Rameshwaram is not complete without visiting this place and doing 'tharpanam' here, for the ancestors.  We can see both sunrise and sunset from this tip of the island.  We didn't touch the tip on that day.  Husband was very tired.  I got one clear picture from google  which is shown below:

Sunrise at Dhanushkodi.  Literally 'end of the road'!

My husband's aunt, who is in her 80's now, said that their family had visited Rameshwaram, nearly 50 years back.  They got down at the Dhanushkodi railway station and went to Rameshwaram temple, by bullock cart, it seems.  This station got devastated in the 1964 cyclone.  This area was a famous tourist/pilgrimage centre in those days.  A Ram temple (Sethu Maadhava Perumal) went under the sea.  A train full of passengers got drowned here, during the cyclone. Nearly 1800 people were killed. Wikipedia says:

Dhanushkodi in those days had a railway station, a small railway hospital, a higher secondary school, a post office, customs and port offices etc. It was here in this island in January 1897, Swami Vivekananda after his triumphant visit to the west to attend parliament of religions held in the USA in September 1893, set his foot on Indian soil from Columbo.

Some remnants of the town are still there, but the whole area looks deserted.  Our jeep went on the old track marks, very close to the sea water, sometimes into the water.  The driver was not diverting from the track marks.  There had been a tar road earlier and so the jeep didn't sink deep into the sand.   We saw some huts  and a small church also.  Mostly fishermen live here.  We saw some children with plastic - blue, red crosses hanging in their necks.  I clicked some pictures on my way back from the jeep.  The road was horrible.  The driver was just 19 years old.  He does 3 trips max. a day, it seems.  He had finished an ITI course, but his parents didn't allow him to go out of the town for work! We paid him Rs. 1000/-.  The purohit had arranged for this trip.  It is really cheap. Now, to more pictures of Dhanushkodi!

We saw some jeeps (mostly) with passengers, on our way back to the town!

The road goes into the water in this area! My sis in law was scared! Husband didn't show his fear, though!

Here, the jeep is out of water, but still very close to the sea!

Look at the vegetation in the salty sand.  I saw some flowers too!

I noticed some horse also, here.  Might be for tourists!

Notice the small white church on the right side corner!

As I told you earlier, the jeeps go on the same tracks.  If one jeep is coming from the opposite side, this jeep waits and the other one crosses very closeby!

Noticed some birds too!

Are these flowers or cactus? Click on the pictures for a clear view please!

This place looks unreal! But I saw this soft sand and sea! The picture was taken from the jeep, by which we were going back to town!

The 'shops' started! It is clearly visible that the fishermen folks are very poor, here! The area is full of Sri Lankan refugees too!

Watch tower? The place looked deserted in the afternoon sun...around 1 pm

Typical sea-shore shops, selling sea-shell artefacts!

The warning board asks people not to take bath here...many people have died while doing it!

The usual Indian picture...plastic bags everywhere!

This is a new trend in Tamilnadu! People display their wedding in posters with their favourite actor or saint(!) on main roads! I saw more than 10 posters like this!

They call this town a 'ghost town'.  For us it was a town full of poor fishermen.  But they say that this is a rich fishing belt in India.

I would have liked to see the ruins of the town, but all of us were tired this time.  There might not be another time.  We came back to the hotel, took some rest.  Went to the ancient temple once again and left for the train at night.  Next part will be about the Pamban Bridge.  I might write about the 4-5 temples we visited, which were full of Ramayana stories later! All were ancient temples, which was the attraction here!

I am tempting my son to visit this place for the thrilling experience of watching the ocean and sea meeting point!



ashok said...

Dhanuskodi has been in my list for a very long time...thanks for sharing these snaps..

Sandhya said...

ASHOK: This place is very interesting, Ashok! You will like it! Go by the train which will cross the Pamban bridge in daytime, which should be very interesting to watch.

Destination Infinity said...

Looks like an interesting place to visit. I like Kanyakumari too... There is so much water and so much wind. They should look at developing general tourism projects here, in addition to religious tourism. I think this place has a huge potential.

Destination Infinity

Renu said...

Beautiful travelogue..when we went to Rameshwaram, there was some strife on the borders, so they were not allowing anyone to Dhanushkodi and we missed it..

I felt sad at the rampant poverty over there, such an important sacred place, why cant govt. develop it a little more...

Rachna said...

Lovely! I have heard a lot about Rameshwaram and Dhanushkodi. Pictures are nice too.

Anonymous said...

What lovely photographs, and great narrative, too!

I hope I will get to go to Rameshwaram and Dhanushkodi some day! :)

Sandhya said...

DESTINATION INFINITY: I had visited Kanyakumari, some 25 years back. I don't remember much except the sun and beach and the temple.

Yes, this is an interesting place to visit. Many attractions are there apart from the temples. First, clean toilets should be available and good, clean hotels. I didn't see many hotels. The hotel where we stayed was clean, though. I liked 'shulabh showchalay' in North India. It should spread to the South too. They take a minimum amount to use the clean toilet.

RENU: Welcome back, Renu! Enjoyed your holidays?

Most of our temples get good money but they are not spent on providing amenities for the devotees. Govt. is busy throwing freebies to the people for getting votes. All the tax payers' money is wasted. They are giving TV, grinder etc. but they don't get electricity to use them!

RACHNA: Thank you, Rachna!

MANJU JOGLEKAR: Yes, this is a great place to visit, Manju!

sm said...

beautiful sunrise
all photos are nice

Bhagyashree said...

Nice post Sandhyakka and loved seeing the pics.
I had visited this place when I was very small so don't remember much.
My mom'scousin was the purohit at Kashi Mutt. He died some years back.

Sandhya said...

SM: Thank you, SM!

BHAGYASHREE: Thank you, Bhagya!

It was easy for us to do the homa because of the contact of the Purohit over there. I have given the contact no. of the purohit in the first part, so that it might be useful for people who want to do some religious function there.

radha said...

The road through the water is a little scary for me too. Nice pictures.

Sandhya said...

RADHA: The driver said that they always drove on the same route because a road was there before the cyclone, so it was safe and strong. Yes, we were a bit nervous!

Thanks for reading all the posts which you had not read and commenting at a stretch!

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sandhya said...

CEECILOO: Welcome to my space, Ceeciloo!

South Indians mostly can converse in English. So, that won't be a big problem for you. I saw some religious centres for Marwaaris, Sikhs etc. I think you can browse in the net for that. Now, you don't have much time. You can contact this priest's number and ask him for details, I think. Some North Indian priests also should be there.

The hotel I mentioned is quite OK. Our Pilgrim centres are always crowded and normally unclean! This hotel was OK and very near to the Rameshwaram beach and temple. The priest arranged everything for us...even the jeep to Dhanushkodi, which is a scenic place. I don't think I can give you more tips. Ask your husband to talk to the priest. I will ask my brother in law to speak to him about you, OK? Ask this person about the North Indian priest, first. I think my suggestion is correct. All the best, Ceeciloo!

I think the crowded season is over now. The place should be calm.

Sandhya said...

CEECILOO: I spoke to the priest just now. Your husband can speak to him tonight. The priest knows Hindi speaking priests who will do whatever ritual you want to do, it seems. Most of them know English, don't worry about it. He will arrange for the hotel like he did to us, send a cab to the station...everything. Just do it tonight itself so that he can arrange everything. Give him your phone no. too, right? Remember to ask him how much everything costs too!

All the best!

Malini said...

This is one trip that I've been yearning to do for a long time. Thanks for the detailed story and pics. It's number one on my checklist now!

Sandhya said...

MALINI: I am sure you will enjoy, Malini!

Unknown said...

yeah Mam , It is wonderful. I visited Rameswaram and Dhanukodi on 18th May 2013, just few day back with my wife and my younger son swagat, as you have narrated , i felt as if I was therenow , thank you.

Unknown said...

Yeah Mam , it is wonderful and very excitement while visit to Dhanuskodi by jeep, I visited just few days back i.e. on 18 th may 2013, along with my wife and younger son . I thought about Ramayan, One side of the sea very dangerous tides, but other part of the so calm as if it is a village tank not the sea.This is due to sea God"s blessings to God Ram , to make a bridge to Srilanka. Thanks Mam , your narration and photographs are nice, I have coveed the whole by my video camera. nice journey.

Unknown said...

Nice Mam, it it is wonderful and full of excitement journey to Dhanuskodi by jeep. I visited few days back to Rameswaram and Dhanukodi along with my wife and younger son, somebody had written in other blogs ,that there is nothing to see in the Dhanuskodi, but when I visited it is lot of fun because we are just few KM from Srilanka, full of excitement due to sea side road with water , sand, mud. and ruins of Dhanukodi by 1964 cyclone.

Jayachandran said...

Dear Miss

I am planning to go to Rameswaram first then Kasi. Can you please let me know name and contact number of a good and genuine priest as I want to do Tharpanam in Rameswaram and if possible do thila homam.I really appreciate your great help.

I also appreciate what to do in Rameswaram for tharpanam and annadaanam

Sandhya said...

Kanu Panda: Welcome to my space, Kanhu Panda! Sorry, I am late in acknowledging your comment! Happy to know that you enjoyed your trip, esp. Dhanushkodi! I loved the place! You will always remember this trip like we do! Thank you!

JAYACHANDRAN: Welcome to my blog, Jayachandran! I have explained everything in the post, have given the name and phone no. of the priest who did thila homam for us. You can contact him. He will do everything. We were very happy with him. Thank you!

Unknown said...

It is a great pleasure to me, on the eve of New Year 2016, you have reminded the excitement journey of 2013, and of course 1964 super cyclone washed the place ,poor Lankan refugees, who strives hard for their livelihood .Again i would like to say, we have faced super cyclone Phailine in October 12th, 2014 in Gopalpur , Ganjam District of Odisha and Andhrapradesh.So I could imagine the devastation caused by cyclone in 1964.

Sandhya said...

KANHU PANDA: Did you notice the old roads under the water, some devastated buildings like post office etc. near the shore? One whole town went under water. Scary.

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