Dhanushkodi: A Ghost Town
The town of Dhanushkodi is popularly known as a ghost town. It is located in the far end of South India where the Bay of Bengal and Indian ocean kiss each other.
The town Dhanushkodi derives its name from a mythological tale based on the epic Ramayana. Lord Rama is believed to have built Adam’s Bridge or Ram Setu across the sea. The bridge is constructed from the tip of Dhanushkodi to the island of Sri Lanka in order to bring back Sita who is abducted by king Ravana.
A super cyclone hit Dhanushkodi on the dreadful night of 22nd December in the year 1964. Huge tidal waves swallowed up the houses one by one. A passenger train was, unfortunately, passing by the town in the silence of the night. The sea waves tossed away the train from the railway track, killing more than a hundred passengers who were onboard. The inhabitants of the town ran here and there for help but only a few managed to escape the town on foot. Almost eight hundred people lost their lives on that ominous night. They were erased from the face of the earth within a span of a few hours. No rescue or help could arrive until dawn. After that, the government of India declared this place unfit for living.
When the townsfolk die, helplessly crying for relief, in the gloomy shadows of the night, the town stands as a witness of the defeat of mankind in the hand of the natural forces. The city lives on with sighs of the anguish of the dying men. Dhanushkodi lasts till this day with its ruins. Stories of the dead residents walking around their deserted homes are still heard.
Many homes are still neck-deep in the sand as no one has returned to live in them ever since 1964. About 500 people live in Dhanushkodi today. Many of the fishermen in Dhanushkodi speak of spirits. Spirits that catch passersby in the night and invade the body like a disease.
Many eerie stories about the area are regularly heard. So, visitors are not allowed to enter this desolate place after 5:00 pm in the evening. Also, the sea waves often rise and come ashore. The roads are flooded with seawater.
Over these 50 years, the villagers have learned to live in harmony with nature, embracing life in Dhanushkodi with all its sharp edges.
Documented by: Arun Prasanth
Second Camera: Giri Prasath, Sajith