We had driven South of the small town of Rameswaram, until we reached a spot where our driver pulled over and turned off the car. “The car can’t go any further than this. You have to take a truck.” he said.
The trucks were familiar: the covered back containing two benches, one on each side. When Kevin complained it was too crowded they put us up front.
As the truck started to pull out, several villagers ran up, asking us and the driver to hold different bags of food or stainless steel food containers before hopping on top. We wanted to go down to Dhanushkodi, the tip of the peninsula, that legend has it is the continuation of Rama’s bridge to Sri Lanka. It seemed this little tourist trucking system was the only mode of vehicular transport in the area. A cyclone had hit the area in 1964 and desecrated the town and the road.
Our truck headed out over the sand, a few more men jumped on top last minute, and we slowly, and bumpily, made our way out of town. Sea surrounded us; one side the Bay of Bengal, the other the Indian Ocean.
Several times we reached an expanse of water so wide it seemed we were driving into the ocean itself, but the driver would finesse his way across the flowing water with the ease of someone who does this several times a day… turns out the water in those spots is only inches deep.
We finally pulled up to the tiny town, forgotten on the end of this small section of India. A large stone church, its walls open and bare, its ceiling long washed away, loomed over the landscape. Several more beach shacks lined the town and I wondered how much shelter those strung together palm leaves really brought from nature’s storms. The evidence of the ocean’s tragic possibilities lay everywhere before us. All around us stone building after stone building sat abandoned: their ruins eerily speaking of a world and town that existed no more.
Kevin and I stumbled across the sand, into the church. All that was left was the wooden altar and walls. For a moment I thought the stone walls had been eaten away by the ocean itself, they had all the pocket holes and grooves of rocks leftover from a life in the sea. Then I realized the walls had been originally constructed out of coral.
I have so many more photos of Danushkodi to come! What can I say? Abandoned towns fascinate me…
Part one of this trip is The Bridge to Rameswaram