MY TRAVEL DIARY : Lived to tell the tale, a note on our visit to Dhanushkodi

What an eventful day it was. On way to Dhanushkodi in the afternoon (March 18) the driver lost control of the van. One loud crash, followed by a series of equally severe bone rattling knocks, the van hurtling over huge boulders went off the Dhanushkodi elevated highway which is flanked by the ocean from both sides. Swamped by the screams of copassengers, saw the van, carrying 11 of us, doing a reckless forward march at full speed. Helplessly watched the van jump, skip and slide over the boulders, in its rush towards the ocean about 10 feet below from the highway.

Being a driver myself I was mentally trying to control the vehicle and while crouching to protect myself from injuries my immediate thought was: Its left tyre must have blown up. Later on I was told the driver of the van was trying to use his phone. Luckily the van stopped, precariously perched on its left, supported by boulders, shrubs and a babool tree.

Three of the passengers had fallen off their seats, two of them into the stairwell. Others had finished their session of rock and roll Elvis Presley style. Except two who suffered bumps and bruises, all others escaped unhurt. To exit we had to break open the rear emergency door.

Since we all lived to tell the tale, a note on our visit to Dhanushkodi.

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Once upon a time Dhanushkodi was a bustling town with a rail connection, church, school, hospital, etc., and a ferry service to and from Talaimannar in Sri Lanka. It even had a regular ferry service to and from Chennai. The night of December 22-23 in 1964 changed the landscape of this bustling township forever. A massive storm not only killed around 1900 people, it even annihilated a Pamban-Dhanushkodi passenger train. Those lucky to have survived the 7 meter tidal waves, which submerged the island town, abandoned the city forever. The government too declared the town inhospitable. Only the remains of a church, railway station, some homes and govt offices are a reminder of its glorious past. A few families of fishermen are staying behind. Some of them have opened shacks to cater to the tourists, while others are being helped by NABARD to become economically independent through fishing.

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(Sharat’s Sharma Travelogue)

Sharat Sharma

Sharat Sharma is an indefatigable traveller and explorer from Delhi. For Sharat, age is just a number because what matters is the indomitable will to get moving.

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