The Bridge to Rameswaram

boats on the water on the way in to Rameswaram

boats on the water on the way in to Rameswaram

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.

fishing boats in the distance

view from the bridge on a cloudy day

boat full of people

one of many fishing boats

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.

train tracks running over the water by Rameswaram bridge

train tracks running over the water by Rameswaram bridge

train tracks by the bridge go right over the water!

train tracks so close to the water!

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.

man walking down beach promenade

man walking down beach promenade

beach just below the promenade

beach just below the promenade

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.

people enjoying a swim in the ocean

people enjoying a swim in the ocean

goats snacking on visitor's flowers

goats snacking on visitor’s flowers

silly goats!

silly goats!

boy walking by the ocean

boy walking by the ocean

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…

a peak through an abandoned building at Dhanushkodi

a peak through an abandoned building at Dhanushkodi

walking the beach at Dhanushkodi

walking the beach at Dhanushkodi

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One thought on “The Bridge to Rameswaram

  1. Pingback: Dhanushkodi: an Oceanside Ghost Town Full of Fishermen | 3 Months In India

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