Ghost town Sundown | Travel Story

9.5.16


Some time last year (or way before, I can't really remember), Sheehan and I were looking at an online list of creepy places in the country and while most were eye rollers, one stood out among everything else. A tiny little ghost town towards the south eastern tip of the country that's known as Danushkodi. The google search for this place looked mighty fine and very interesting and we both exclaimed "we have to go there", like we do for every single other fancy looking place we see, be it in China or Brasil. Little did we know that this trip would happen very soon!


My parents make an annual trip to Velankanni to visit the church and shrines, and they usually always pick a few other places to visit along the way. This time, since Sheehan and I planned to go as well, we decided to pick the other places. Bangalore and Pondicherry were our most common choices and we've done that several times already, so we decided to explore new places. And that's how Danushkodi came back into the picture. Of course, to get to Danushkodi, you have to actually go to Rameswaram first, and so we planned an overnight stay there.


Rameswaram

This gorgeous island is not a big tourist hub, but more of a pilgrimage place and is considered as one of the most holiest places in the country, to Hindus. The approach to the island is another level of amazing. The Pamban road bridge drive is breath taking and is equally historic, since this was technically the first ever sea bridge in the country! And unlike the sea link drive in Mumbai, here, you're surrounded by a sea of turquoise on both sides! A serious visual delight. My driver (who we drove with from Mumbai) was floored and kept claiming how he didn't feel he was in India anymore.

Sightseeing in Rameswaram is just looking and visiting all temples. And then there's the beach with no waves and the TV tower, that's the tallest tower in the country. Apart from that there's nothing else. So it's definitely not worth staying there more than two days, unless of course you plan to go to each temple.

Danushkodi

Getting to Danushkodi is a little challenging. You cannot take your private car all the way in (yet). So you have to take either the bus or hire a jeep for what was a 10 km long stretch. The bus charges 100-150/- per person while the jeep is around 450/- per person, if you're sharing. We got there at around 3:45pm and managed to catch the last bus. They don't operate after the sun sets since the town is cut off and has no power lines or electricity. The drive in the rickety bus was complicated. The scenery was amazing, as we drove on the beach and sometimes in shallow pools of water. The level of comfort was not that great. Sheehan and I sat in front, next to the driver, me on the seat and her on the engine area. And not only because we were cramped for space, but also because the rest of the occupants in that bus, apart from my family, were young men who could not take their eyes off us. It was awkward, and both of us were wearing dresses. We both wished we were wearing denims or something less provocative *rolls eyes* so as to blend it with the rest. So word of caution to women, try covering up. Or just take the damn jeep. Apart from the leerers, it was insanely hot, but we already knew it would be. We also forgot to take our camera from our car along, so we were forced to take phone pictures, and all of these together made for one very annoying ride. 

Once we got there, we were given some time at the beach. With a few crumbling shacks and a beautiful sunset, we pretty much enjoyed the view. Sun down is an amazing time to visit. Sri Lanka is around 18 miles from that beach, while there's a little point where the Arabian Sea meets the Indian Ocean. The waves on the beach were on the larger side, which got me thinking to the tidal waves that washed out the little town in 1964 and made it the ghost town that it is today. 
We got back into the bus and were driven to the center of the little creepy town, which still had a few stone ruins left from the cyclone that hit in the sixties. I managed to spot a couple of peacocks on a thatched roof while and walked to the ruins of the old church. Soon it was time to leave, and we got back into the bus. 

If the bus ride to Danushkodi was uneasy, the return trip was absolute hell. The view again, was amazing. The sky was constantly changing from shades of orange to a purplish pink. Sheehan and I switched places, so she was in the passenger seat and I was on the engine. I was anxious because my phone was dying but my snapchat story was not published, since there was no network, yet, at the same time I really wanted to take pictures of the beautiful sky. First world problems much. So I tried to keep myself occupied by looking at the skies. It soon turned dark and before we reached, Sheehan very calmly told me not to freak out, but there was something in front of us, in the bus. Of course I freaked out. It was a lizard. I almost had a panic attack, and I was hysterical with laughter and some tears. I'm really terrified of lizards. It was barely a meter away from where we were sitting, and Sheehan wanted to jump out of the bus. I still feel a shiver run down my spine, every time I think about this. 

To summarize it, the trip was amazing. Rameswaram and Danushkodi are definitely not big bucket list places, but if you ever find yourself visiting Madurai or Kodaikanal and have a free day, both Rameswaram and Danushkodi are a day trip away. There are also daily express trains from Chennai, Trichy and Coimbatore to the city. It's not everyone's cup of tea, and not everyone would love it, but it's definitely a great experience for one lifetime. 



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