Dhanushkodi was just another port town with a population of around 25,000.
A super cyclone with a wind velocity of 270km/hr crashed into Dhanushkodi on the night of 22-23 December 1964.All structures and dwelling houses were blown up in the storm and marooned.About 1800 people died BY 20 FEET TIDAL WAVES
.On December 22nd at 23.55 hours while entering Dhanushkodi railway station the train no.653 Pamban Dhanushkodi Passenger which left Pamban with 110 passengers and 5 railway staff was hit by the cyclonic storm and high tidal waves and the whole train got submerged under water killing all 115 on the spot

Types of Disturbances
Associated wind speed in the Circulation
1. Low Pressure Area
2. Depression
3. Deep Depression
4. Cyclonic Storm
5. Severe Cyclonic Storm
6. Very Severe Cyclonic Storm
7. Super Cyclonic Storm
Less than 17 knots ( < 31 kmph)
17 to 27 knots ( 31 to 49 kmph)
28 to 33 knots ( 50 to 61 kmph)
34 to 47 knots ( 62 to 88 kmph)
48 to 63 knots ( 89 to 118 kmph)
64 to 119 knots ( 119 to 221 kmph)
120 knots and above ( 222 kmph and above)

File:Adams bridge map.png

Location of Dhanushkodi
in Tamil Nadu and India
Coordinates9°09′07″N 79°26′45″ECoordinates: 9°09′07″N 79°26′45″E
StateTamil Nadu
Time zoneIST (UTC+05:30)

0 metres (0 ft)


All dwelling houses in Dhanushkodi were blown to pieces in the storm and marooned.Pamban bridge was washed away by the high tidal waves in this disaster."The buildings that braved the fateful day still exist partly buried in the sand and partly weathered by the sea adding a mysterious beauty to the place.



The destroyed railway track

Danushkodi 1964

Pictured here is what remained of an Indian narrow gauge train which was swept away as it crossed from Raneswaren Island to the mainland. All 128 passengers and crew were killed in the upturned and totally destroyed carriages.

Devastating cyclone of 1964 has left behind such ruined structures at the once flourishing port town and religious place - Dhanushkodi in Tamil Nadu. According to Indian mythology, the island place had a bridge or 'sethu' constructed by the monkey warriors of Hindu Lord Rama to reach Lanka.


The Government of Madras declared the town as Ghost town and unfit for living after the storm, now a small group of fisher folk resides there. For reaching the village one has to go in a four wheel drive or in a fish cart.

sri lanka is not very friendly to India from 1950 onwards 
 due to  reasons including anti Tamil policy  and history of L.T.T.E. terrorism
those who dream and talk of making a bridge must first think that Sri Lanka may not like it .may even will not allow construction .so stop dreaming of any bridge ,to Sri Lanka
All that remains of Dhanushkodi town


The remains of a School
This was a school





Map of Pamban Island before the cyclone-- Prior to the cyclone, the town had been an important commercial centre with a railway station, a customs office, post and telegraphs office, two medical institutions, one railway hospital, a panchayat union dispensary, a higher elementary school and port offices.[8] A port had been functioning since 1 March 1914.[8]A dilapidated church, parts of the railway track and the Puduroad railway station and the ruins of a Vinayaka temple are all that remain of the town.

Adam's bridge as seen from the air
Adam's Bridge (Tamil: ஆதாம் பாலம் āthām pālam), also known as Rama's Bridge orRama Setu (Tamil: இராமர் பாலம் Rāmar pālam, Sanskrit: रामसेतु, rāmasetu), is a chain of limestone shoals, between Pamban Island, also known as Rameswaram Island, off the southeastern coast of Tamil Nadu, India, and Mannar Island, off the northwestern coast ofSri Lanka. Geological evidence suggests that this bridge is a former land connection between India and Sri Lanka.

The bridge is 18 miles (30 km) long and separates the Gulf of Mannar (southwest) from thePalk Strait (northeast). Some of the sandbanks are dry and the sea in the area is very shallow, being only 3 ft to 30 ft (1 m to 10 m) deep in places, which hinders navigation It was reportedly passable on foot up to the 15th century until storms deepened the channel: temple records seem to say that Rama’s Bridge was completely above sea level until it broke in a cyclone in 1480 CE.
Studies have variously described the structure as a chain of shoals, coral reefs, a ridge formed in the region owing to thinning of the earth's crust, a double tombolo, a sand spit, or barrier islands. It has been reported that this bridge was formerly the world's largest tombolo before it was split into a chain of shoals by the rise in mean sea level few thousand years ago
Another theory affirms that the origin and linearity of the Adam's bridge may be due to the old shoreline – implying that the two landmasses of India and Sri Lanka were once connected – from where coral reefs evolved.
Geological Survey of India (GSI) carried out a special programme called “Project Rameswaram” that concluded that age data of corals indicate that the Rameswaram island has evolved since 125,000 years ago. Radiocarbon dating of samples in this study suggests that the domain between Rameswaram and Talaimannar may have thus been exposed sometime between 18,000 and 7,000 years ago.Thermoluminescence dating by GSI concludes that the sand dunes of Dhanushkodi to Adam's bridge started forming only about 500–600 years ago

NASA satellite photo: India on top, Sri Lanka at the bottom of the photo

Tombolo near Karystos, Euboea, Greece
Trainride on the pamban bridge-OLD DESTROYED BRIDGE CAN BE SEEN IN SEEN

Pamban Bridge

Pamban Road and Rail Bridge
Official nameAnnai Indira Gandhi Bridge
Carries2 lanes of road traffic
CrossesPalk Strait
LocaleRameshwaram, Tamilnadu, India

Ferry service from pier to Dhanushkodi Talaimannar (Ceylon).

Boat leaves soon after 4pm. Time taken is about 3 ½ hours.

No steamer service on Sunday night.

Source: [OLD PHOTO]

Dhanushkodi Pier dep. 12:05
Pamban arr 12:49 dep. 12:55
Mandapam arr 13:34 dep. 13:45
Manamadurai arr 16:13 dep. 16:33
Trichinopoly arr 20:40 dep. 21:38
Tanjore arr 22:26 dep. 22:40
Chidambaram arr 01:14 dep. 01:19
Madras Egmore arr 07:25

In 1898, the South Indian Railway ran a Madras - Tuticorin service
that connected with the boat to Ceylon.

This took 21 hours and 50 minutes for the run 443 miles (709km).

The steamer from Tuticorin to Colombo took 22 hours.


The Dhanushkodi pier with the ship and sea at the background.[OLD PHOTO BEFORE CYCLONE 1964]

A ferry service linked Dhanushkodi in India with Talaimannar in Sri Lanka. The service was part of the Indo-Ceylon Railway service during the British Rule. One could buy a railway ticket fromChennai to Colombo, whereby people traveled by rail from Chennai to Pamban island, go by ferry to Talaimannar, and then go again by rail to Colombo. in 1964, a cyclone completely destroyed Dhanushkodi, a train about to enter the station, the tracks and the pier and heavily damaged the shores of Palk Bay and Palk Strait
Dhanushkodi was not rebuilt and the train then finished at Rameswaram. There was a small ferry service from there to Talaimannar, but it has been suspended around 1982 because of the fighting between Sri Lankan government forces and the separatist LTTE.


S.S.San Francisco Xavier

The Steamers
The first steam-ship was built by John Stevens and Robert Fulton. It was launched on the Hudson river in 1807, and given the name "Clermont". It plied between New York and Albany. The hull of the ship in those days was made of wood and later iron was used. The first iron-hulled steamboat, "Aaron Manly" was built in Britain in 1822. Steam boats were first used to carry passengers on the Thames in 1815. Tugs, little tramps, freighter, oil tanker and luxury liners are the types of steam ships.
The scale sectional model of the steamer "S.S. San Francisco Xavier" built by the Green Oak Grangemont Dockyard , Scotland, is exhibited here.

Model of S.S. Irwin- Ship
This is model of the ship, "S.S. Irwin" which was plying between Dhanushkodi and Talaimannar Pier. The ship was built in 1929 and put on service in the year 1930. The tonnage of the ship is 970.11 gross and 377.39 registered. The overall length and breadth are 259 feet and 38 feet respectively. Its passenger carrying capacity in fair and rough weather is 1552 and 1045 respectively. The normal speed of this is approximately 10 knots.
This model was presented to this museum by Southern Railway.
Side view of S.S.Irwin
Top view of S.S.Irwin

A typical M class steam locomotive in use in the 1930's and 40's.

witness to history: A view of the Pamban bridge, one of the oldest sea bridges in the world.

this link to Sri Lanka was cut off on December 22, 1964, when a cyclone destroyed the railway system beyond Rameswaram. The turbulent sea and high tides also had their impact on the Pamban bridge. On the fateful night, Train No. 653 Pamban-Dhanushkodi passenger left Pamban at 11.55 p.m. with 110 passengers, including a group of school students, on board.
A few metres ahead of Dhanushkodi, the signal failed. With pitch darkness around and no indication of the signal being restored , the driver blew a long whistle and decided to take the risk.
Minutes after the train started rolling along the sea, a huge wave smashed it submerging all the six coaches under deep water. The tragedy that left no survivors came to light only after 48 hours when the railway headquarters issued a bulletin based on the information given by Marine Superintendent, Mandapam.

List of longest bridges above water in India

metres (feet)
Bandra-Worli Sea LinkMahim Bay5,600 m (18,400 ft)2009RoadMaharashtra
Mahatma Gandhi SetuGanges5,575 m (18,291 ft)1982RoadBihar
Vikramshila SetuGanges4,700 m (15,400 ft)2001RoadBihar
Vembanad Rail BridgeVembanad Lake4,620 m (15,160 ft)2011RailKerala
Nehru Setu Son River3,064 m (10,052 ft)1900RailBihar
Jawahar SetuSon River3,061 m (10,043 ft)1965RoadBihar
Kolia Bhomora SetuBrahmaputra River3,015 m (9,892 ft)1987RoadAssam
Godavari BridgeGodavari River2,754 m (9,035 ft)1970Rail-cum-roadAndhra Pradesh
Old Godavari Bridge
Now decommissioned
Godavari River2,754 m (9,035 ft)1900RailAndhra Pradesh
Godavari Arch BridgeGodavari River2,745 m (9,006 ft)1997/2003RailAndhra Pradesh
Pamban BridgePalk Strait2,300 m (7,500 ft)1988RoadTamilnadu
Naranarayana BridgeBrahmaputra River2,284 m (7,493 ft)1998Rail-cum-roadAssam
Farakka Barrage Ganges2,240 m (7,350 ft)1975Rail-cum-roadWest Bengal
Second Mahanadi Rail BridgeMahanadi River2,100 m (6,900 ft)2008RailOrissa
Pamban BridgePalk Strait2,065 m (6,775 ft)1913RailTamilnadu
Sharavathi BridgeSharavathi River2,060 m (6,760 ft)1994RailKarnataka
Rajendra SetuGanges2,000 m (6,600 ft)1959Rail-cum- roadBihar
Vashi BridgeThane Creek1,837 m (6,027 ft)1997RoadMaharashtra
Saraighat BridgeBrahmaputra River1,492 m (4,895 ft)1962Rail-cum-roadAssam
Koilwar Bridge Son River1,440 m (4,720 ft)1862Rail-cum-roadBihar
Mahanadi Bridge
near Bhootmundei
Mahanadi River1,400 m (4,600 ft)1961RoadOrissa
Second Narmada Bridge
near Bharuch
Narmada River1,365 m (4,478 ft)2000RoadGujarat
Prakasam BarrageKrishna River1,224 m (4,016 ft)1885RoadAndhra Pradesh
Sharavathi BridgeSharavathi River1,048 m (3,438 ft)?RoadKarnataka
Airoli BridgeThane Creek1,030 m (3,380 ft)1999RoadMaharashtra
Vivekananda SetuHooghly River900 m (3,000 ft)1932Rail-cum-roadWest Bengal
Nivedita SetuHooghly River880 m (2,890 ft)2007RoadWest Bengal
Vidyasagar SetuHooghly River822 m (2,697 ft)1992RoadWest Bengal
Yamuna Bridge
at Kalpi
Yamuna River767 m (2,516 ft)?RoadUttar Pradesh
Jajmau BridgeGanges River720 m (2,360 ft)2011RoadUttar Pradesh
Howrah BridgeHooghly River705 m (2,313 ft)1943RoadWest Bengal
Garmukteswar Bridge Yamuna River671 m (2,201 ft)1901Rail-cum-RoadUttar Pradesh
Lav Kush Barrage Ganges River621 m (2,037 ft)2000RoadUttar Pradesh
Naini Bridge[28]Yamuna River610 m (2,000 ft)2005RoadUttar Pradesh

E. Sreedharan

started his career as a Probationary Assistant Engineer in the Southern Railways. He also worked at the Bombay Port Trust as a trainee for one year.

In 1963, E. Sreedharan was put in-charge of the rebuilding of the Pamban Bridge, because a tidal wave carried away the part of the bridge that connected Rameshwaram with Tamil Nadu. He completed the construction of the bridge in only forty-six days though he was given six months to do the same. This achievement was admired quite a lot.

He was the Managing Director and Chairman of the Cochin Ship Yard and he was the one who commissioned Rani Padmini, the first ship built by the yard

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Dhanushkodi: A ghost town hopes to come alive

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Last updated on: August 07, 2015 16:54 IST
50 years after a cyclone wiped it out, Dhanushkodi is slowly finding its feet. A tourist attraction precisely for its desolateness, road connectivity could soon transform it. Saisuresh Sivaswamy, who spent a few hours there, comes back enchanted. Photographs: Saisuresh Sivaswamy

As the doughty, packed to the gills Mahindra 4WD vehicle bounces along the tracks left by others of its ilk, along the undulating sand dunes leading up to the seaside, you strain your eyes to see the desolate yet mesmerising sights outside.
It is just sand dunes, as far as the eye can see, in various shapes and grey shades. But on the horizon is a sliver of silver that expands as you weave across towards it, into the glorious sea that is at times green as emerald and suddenly azure as a clear summer sky.

The sand and the sea. Photograph: Saisuresh Sivaswamy/
Just as the waters of Indian Ocean and Bay of Bengal merge here in many hues, Dhanushkodi is where legend, faith and macabre recent history mingle to form a skein of emotions as you gaze across the severe, sere, landscape.
Legend has it that Ram crossed over to Lanka to rescue his wife Sita from Ravan's clutches from here. This is where he built the Ram Setu, with floating rocks (one of them is under lock and key in a temple in the ghost town), to cross over to Thalaimannar, a few kilometres across the Palk Straits.
Legend further tells that on his successful return he destroyed the bridge with the tip of his arrow on the request of the new king of Lanka, Vibhishan, thus immortalising the town's name (dhanush + kodi meaning end of a bow).
Political parties may squabble over the legend's veracity but for the local folk this is all part of history, just as there are spots associated with Ram and his life in distant Ayodhya. On the way from Rameswaram to Dhanushkodi is the Kodhandaramar temple, where Vibhishan is said to have surrendered to Ram and anointed king of Lanka.
The association with Ram, and the proximity to Rameswaram, where the ancient warrior-king is said to have prayed to Lord Siva before embarking on his journey to Lanka, vest the town with divinity.
For most devotees who visit the eponymous Siva temple in the temple town, a visit to Dhanushkodi, around 25 kilometres away, is a must, a bath in the ocean not advised owing to the treacherous waters but still indulged in.
Lore has it too that a pilgrimage to Kasi/Varanasi/Benaras is incomplete without praying at Rameswaram.

The church destroyed in the cyclone 50 years ago. Photograph: Saisuresh Sivaswamy/
But growing up in Tamil Nadu in the 1970s-'80s it is not distant happenings or the power of faith that you remember the town for but a horrid December night from 50 years ago.
When a furious cyclone swept the then bustling town, people, buildings, everything into the all-devouring oceanic maws, the metres-high tidal waves even swallowing up a whole train with all 115 on board.
It was something that stays seared into your memory the way only a nightmare can.
What about the people on the train? What were their last thoughts as their carriages were yanked into the sea by forces beyond comprehension?
What of the townfolk, did anyone survive? What is the place like today?

What's left of the railway tracks. Photograph: Saisuresh Sivaswamy/
Till the disaster, Dhanushkodi was like any other Indian town. It had a port for traffic to and from Sri Lanka; it had a railway station, a post office, hotels, the usual urban accoutrements you will find in any town of that vintage.
Pamban, the island in Ramnad district which houses Rameswaram and Dhanushkodi, was connected to Mannar in the mainland via a railway line. And regular trains would ply between Madras Egmore and the tip of the island, disgorging and collecting men and materials from the ships from Thalaimannar that would come calling at the port.
Today, all that is left of the town are skeletons of what was, and a splattering of hutments occupied by the fishermen families who continue to live there.
After the December 23-23, 1964, cyclone the town was declared 'unfit for occupation' and it doesn't look like anything has changed on the ground.

The 'tempos' that ferry you to and fro Dhanushkodi. Photograph: Saisuresh Sivaswamy/
To get to Dhanushkodi you will have to drive down from Rameswaram, from where a clutch of 'tempos', as the ancient Mahindra 4WDs are called, ferry you till land's end, the south-east corner of Pamban island
Traffic is regulated, so even if you have a 4WD of your own you will need to register it at the checkpoint at Mukundarayar Chathiram where all tempos, waiting for passengers, are grouped.
Once upon a time there was no regulation and movement was easy. But once Sri Lanka's Tamil ethnic problem began to intensify, this was where boatloads of Tamil refugees would alight, and as the militancy in the island-nation grew virulent the authorities moved in, clamping down on any illegal entry.
On a clear night, it is said, the lights of Thalaimannar can be seen.
The road from Rameswaram goes beyond the barricade at Mukundarayar Chathiram but no vehicles are allowed beyond this point. One can walk all the way on this road, which looks like a good half hour's trek. There are stalls selling vaazhakkai bajji (coconut fritters), sugarcane juice and such. Fried fish is also sold here, but usually in the evenings, we are told.
This point is, for those who don't wish to undertake the short but time-consuming drive in decrepit vehicles to land's end, known poetically as Arichal Munai in Tamil (or, Erosion Point), the walk along the coast will do fine. But if you decide to go all the way, remember, some tempo drivers really pack it in, like ours did, and charge Rs 100 per head, otherwise the norm is Rs 150. They are also open to hiring out their vehicles for smaller groups but on fixed payment, say, around Rs 2000.
If your driver is a voluble man, like ours was, you will get a running commentary of the scenery on the way. 'There, that was the track there that got blown away.' 'Here, you can see the tracks from that night.' All this is in first person, like he was witness to that traumatic night from 50 years ago.

The mesmerising Arichal Munal or Erosion Point. Photograph: Saisuresh Sivaswamy/
The locale is perfect for film shootings, and as if on cue our man rattles off a list of directors who have shot here, starting from Mani Ratman in Kannathil Mutthamittal and including many others.
Arichal Munai is mesmerising and inviting. There are a few stalls here, selling the usual souvenirs (shells, and more shells, in all shapes and sizes), water, lime juice etc.
The right setting for a chilled beer given that the sun is glaring down at you, you tell yourself, but alas, no luck with the spirits. Although, judging from the odours emanating off a group, where there is a swill, there is a way.
After spending around 30 minutes at the waterfront – really, if you are not swimming, how long can you withstand the afternoon's scorching sun even if the view is breath-taking?
The tempo trundles to the village some distance away. Which is when the reality of what happened that night 50 years ago hits you.
The church, its roof blown off, silhouette dominant, stands like a silent sentinel over the destroyed homes around, and there's a small temple next door. A little further is what our driver-guide says was the railway station.
The water tank was next door, what is left of it are the columns, pointing an accusatory finger at the skies.

The water tank near the the railway station. Photograph: Saisuresh Sivaswamy/
There are a few hutments where fisher-folk live, there's a local school with classes till the eighth standard. Kids try to sell shells to visiting tourists for Rs 10 a pop.
The tourist traffic is constant, through the year except during the rains, and amounts to a few thousands. The numbers are expected to go up exponentially once the sanctioned road from the Mukundarayar Chathiram till Arichal Munai becomes a reality, by next year.
There are earthmovers clearing the way for it, and there's an air of expectancy among the locals that with connectivity their lives too will improve.
Hotels will come in, so will electricity and regular water supply, schools and hospital… And a ghost town will finally be laid to rest.
Dhanushkodi needs to snap out of it, 50 years is enough time to grieve.
But for now, everyone is grim-faced on gazing at the remainders of what nature's fury can do, and the return journey is sombre.