The Pandemic had rendered Debarshi and me as jailbirds chained to our desks working for all waking hours , Thus we thought a change in scenery would do us better, we broke free in July 2021 and drove down south . You can read more about our Pondicherry remote working here. I wrote last about the detour to Point Calimere.
We drove for about 4 hours through village roads through lush green fields and then over to the highway to reach Rameswaram via the famed Pamban bridge.
Pamban Island connects peninsular India and is second largest island in the archipelago standing on the Palk Strait and the principal town in the pilgrimage centre of Rameswaram.
The Pamban railway bridge connects the town of Mandapam in mainland India with the Island, and Rameswaram along with the parallel road bridge connecting NH 49 with the island. The Pamban Bridge has been India’s first sea bridge and was the longest sea bridge in India before the Bandra-Worli Sea Link in Mumbai.
Travelling on; we reached Rameswaram, the birthplace of A. P. J. Abdul Kalam, Missile Man of India and the 11th President of India and crossed the Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam National Memorial although closed for Covid Norms.
Rameswaram is of course a temple town and there are numerous small and medium hotels, the two top of the line ones are Daiwik Hotels Rameswaram & JKR Resort & Spa (formerly Hyatt). We had booked enroute to Rameswaram on the Daiwik Hotels Rameswaram.
Debarshi & I checked in to our hotel had some coffee to rejuvenate ourselves after an 8-hour drive. It was still daylight, so we drove towards Dhanushkodi hoping to reach the Land’s End.
Today Dhanushkodi is a ghost town, entirely wiped out in the 1964 Rameswaram cyclone and remains uninhabited in the aftermath. The super cyclone killed 2000 people also sweeping away the Pamban-Dhanushkodi passenger train. In the December 2004 Tsunami, the sea receded from the coastline, exposing the submerged town before unleashing its fury .
The police at the check post about 18 km before Land’s End or Arichal Munai quelled our dreams ; the road was closed . Our pleas fell on to deaf ears till they relented and allowed us not that evening but the next morning.
The wind and the ocean kept on ravaging this stretch of the National Highway ; Recently the link of 9.5 km stretch of the National Highway has been reconstructed to link Dhanushkodi.
The drive remains probably as one of the most memorable ones, nerve wracking, incredible and unbelievable. The Indian Ocean and the Bay of Bengal flank the highway ; At times it seemed the sea would swallow the road. We gazed at the Ocean on all sides while the wind tried to toss us away.
We reached Arichal Munai and found two other vehicles there as well. This place tapped gently at our souls, we felt like time had come to a standstill and how inconsequential we were in the larger scheme of Nature.