Land of Myths,Cyclones and Ghost town

Pamban Bridge , Rameswaram

Rameswaram is the place that links Srilanka to Tamilnadu in ancient histories. So this place plays an important role in Hindu stories, especially Ramayanam. This is an important Hindu pilgrimage centre and is part of Char Dham pilgrimage. So Hindu devotees from all over India love to visit this place atleast once in their lifetime. Apart from the Ramanathaswamy temple, Rameswaram is famous for the frequent storms and cyclones. The cyclone in 1964 completely destructed Dhanushkodi and now its the Ghost town. While nature takes its toll frequently in this place, India’s first sea bridge Pamban Bridge was built here.We went to Rameswaram to see the beautiful beaches, birds,coral reefs in the islands, abandoned town Dhanushkodi and mesmerizing sunrise/sunset. The beaches were crowded near the temple area, but the beaches near the villages are serene and clean. As the local fishermen were frequently roaming around its quite safe in daylight. We enjoyed a beautiful sunset with terns flying around.

rameshwaram , fishing boats

Rameshwaram is religious destination for many but for people there fishing is mainstay. Destructive fishing practices like bottom trawling is rampant but still the area is so rich that people are able to continue fishing for living.

“Sunrise and Sunset are one of the few items that you still get it for free, so never to be missed!”

We were strolling the temple area which was crowded with sabarimalai devotees. All the hotels were crowded with tourists. After a full stroll checking which restaurant will accept cards, surprisingly we found none. This was during demonetization period, so we again strolled searching for a ATM machine. Finally we found a ATM in a corner and two Europeans were trying to take cash from the ATM cursing about demonetization. Unluckily, the ATM didn’t spit any money for them. We went inside to try our luck and after few swipes we got the cash !

The third stroll was to find a restaurant which was not very crowded. Finally we found a small restaurant and ordered our favorite dosai. The bill was very little and we had a single 2000 Rs note. The waiter who served us told there was no change with the owner but told us to wait for few more minutes. He went to the nearby shops and after few enquiries got the change and gave us the precious 100 Rs notes. Before winding up the day, we went to the beach to see the sea shining in moonlight and then returned back to the hotel.

rameshwaram , islands , forest checkpost

The islands around rameshwaram are coral atols meaning that they have an extensive reef cover in the surrounding water. Since the area falls under the gulf of mannar biological reserve the islands are protected and you need permission to get in.

There are many small uninhabited islands near Rameswaram. One can go there only with the help of local fishermen and sometimes prior permission also needed. We went in a boat with a fisherman and a forest official. Gulls and terns are flying around and resting on the boats in the shore. When the island shore was visible to our eyes, we both jumped in the crystal clear knee level water and walked to the shore.

staghorn coral , rameshwaram

The destructive fishing habits often breakup the coral reef beneath. we were shown a beautiful staghorn coral which got broke up. Staghorn corals are among the fastest growing corals on reefs, and are excellent reef-builders. By the way that is me in the background !

The beach was serene and there were different shapes of conch everywhere. All the conches looked beautiful but very smelly! The island is uninhabited and the silence was quite intriguing as we expected birds in that place. We were not allowed to take photos in the island, so we left our cameras in the boat.The fishermen were quite friendly and one of them prepared a lovely home meal for us.

The 100 year old Pamban bridge didn’t look old at all and was really jaw dropping to look at it from the sea. We were always used to see in the movies that if any natural or man made disasters happen, first thing to collapse are the bridges. But this bridge survived even the 1964 cyclone which destroyed the entire dhanushkodi.

rameshwaram , dhanushkodi , dog , sunrise

We are sunset and sunrise admirers but it seems we had company in dhanushkodi. while we we were gazing so was this dog 🙂

We watched the next sunrise in the Ghost town dhanushkodi. A flock of starlings were chitchatting and flying which looked like they were trying to show us that we were not the only one enjoying sunrise there. In the distant, a small island was visible where we spotted so many flamingoes. Few plovers were pecking the sand and running back when waves come. These small incidents you see makes your day special. The Ghost town was under construction, so we couldn’t drive till the end.

balck kite, rameswaram , pair

Birding is always part of our agenda. Black kites and Brahminy kites are numerous aand all over the place. This particular pair though caught our eye as they flirting with each other.

Our Late Mr.Abdul Kalam was born in Rameswaram, so there were many streets named after him. On the way back from Dhanushkodi, we went to one of the roads named after him and within few minutes we reached beach. The gulls and terns were sitting on the boats tied up in the shore. There were so many swifts flying near the palm trees. Senna auriculata (Aavaram Poo in Tamil) was in bloom everywhere. The dried place was covered with yellow flowers and few raptors were hovering in the sky. Its already noon and we saw all these scenes with squeezed eyes as the sun was already on our head. We should have come to this place early morning!

We saw lots of black kites,brahminy kites, a flock of woolly necked stork,Ospreys,Short-toed snake eagles in this trip.

wooly necked storks , rameshwaram

Surely sunbathing I suppose. Out of nowhere behind a thorny bush these wooly neck storks were posing like this !

Rameswaram was really a place where you can learn about ancient culture by visiting the temple, know about modern architecture by seeing the pamban bridge, enjoy the beaches with sunrise/sunset, boating in sea to watch marine life if you are lucky. Its a perfect weekend getaway to pray,learn and relax.

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