Rameswaram is an island off the southeast coast of India, connected to the mainland by a long, concrete bridge. We stopped at the top of the bridge, with a bunch of other people, to watch the current sweep underneath.
There are railway tracks running right alongside the bridge, except much lower, and close, very, very close to the water, so close that they seem to run just above it. Apparently, when you are on the train, the body of the train is bigger than the tracks, so if you look out the window it looks as if you are just riding across the water.
The current is so strong that ships can only pass under one spot in the bridge, and we watched the drawbridge next to us go up to let a ship through.
Kevin was convinced that the current from the Bay of Bengal would never have deposited the sandbanks below that enabled humanity to make the bridge. Since the sandbanks cut directly across the flow of the water, he figured they had to have been man-made- proving the Hindu legend of Rama, as anything but merely myth. In the legend, Rama’s wife had been stolen by another king and taken to Sri Lanka. So he built a bridge with his monkey army and got her back. Rama’s wife, being the symbol of Indian women’s virtue, refused to marry the other king and remained celibate until Rama’s return. Kevin expounded his theory of the bridge to practically everyone we met.
We drove through some small beach towns, the salty water hanging in the air. Our driver kindly lent me his umbrella, as it was raining, and we made our way down a terracotta path leading up the sandy beach. Lots of men in dhotis and shorts stood in the crashing waves. A few women too, braving the water in their saris. Kevin had his shirt off and was in the water in under two minutes. I usually join him, even the dark waters of the eastern seashore can seem fun in those times, but here I wouldn’t have worn a bathing suit even if I had one (part of the restraints of being a woman in India), and I had no change of clothes.
From there we drove South of the small town of Rameswaram, to find the Dhanushkodi, the ghost town at tip of the peninsula, where legend has it is the continuation of Rama’s bridge to Sri Lanka.
I have way too many photos of Dhanushkodi to fit it all in one post- so to be continued next week, but here’s sneak preview…