Sunday, October 3, 2010

DAY 3 - Kanyakumari to Dhanushkodi

I had a small chat with the Station Master on duty, BK Behera, at Kanyakumari before I left in the morning. He made a very valid point that Railways should take note of and act on. The ticket to Suchindram costs Rs. 2 from Kanyakumari, whereas the Platform ticket costs Rs. 3 - the former is valid for 24 hours and the latter for 2 hours! Thus, for a paltry amount of Rs. 2 the railway insures a passenger for 24 hours for any mishap that could befall the passenger in the railway premises. This must be, arguably, the best insurance scheme in the entire world.
The road from Kanyakumari to Rameswaram (NH44/7/49) was quite good. The Pamban Bridge is an awesome sight. And so is the relatively new road bridge. This bridge was rebuilt in 1965 after the original bridge collapsed during the “Tsunami” of December 1964. It is with the reconstruction of the Pamban Bridge that Mr. E Sreedharan of DMRC made his initial mark.
After occupying the Railway Construction Rest House, I left for Dhanushkodi, a distance of 18 kms from Rameswaram. Ammachi had told me, with a lot of awe, her visit to ‘Ceylon’ by sea from Dhanushkodi Port to Talaimannar in the early 50’s. The Dhanushkodi of today is sadly a ghost town. The “Tsunami” completely wiped out the flourishing port town and even swallowed nearly 2 square kms of the land. The ruins at Dhanushkodi stand mute witnesses of a glorious past – there is even a commemorative granite plaque erected in 1935 on the occasion of Her Majesty’s Silver Jubilee! The ruins of the railways station, the water column, the quarters, the post office, the police station, etc should be showcased by the ASI. There are numerous stalls selling shells of various shapes, sizes and colors. Even natural pearls are on sale. A lady in one of the stalls took offense to my asking her of the pearls are genuine; she took a few of them and put a lit match over it to prove that she was not after a quick buck – she succeeded in making me buy a few of them, as well as a ‘Valampuri’ shell! The evening came to an end with a visit to the grand Rameswaram temple – the 1000 pillar temple is a marvel, and the legend behind the worship is amazing.

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