Online edition of India's National Newspaper
Saturday, Dec 24, 2005
Google



Tamil Nadu
News: Front Page | National | Tamil Nadu | Andhra Pradesh | Karnataka | Kerala | New Delhi | Other States | International | Opinion | Business | Sport | Miscellaneous | Engagements |
Advts:
Classifieds | Employment | Obituary |

Tamil Nadu - Others Printer Friendly Page   Send this Article to a Friend

Memory of the disaster still lingers

C. Jaishankar

Giant waves triggered by cyclone ruined the entire Dhanushkodi town in 1964

Dhanushkodi: This southernmost historical coastal town of Tamil Nadu, was once a bustling coastal town with pilgrims, travellers, fishermen, tourists and others. But, now the ravaged Vinayaka Temple, wrecked post office, devastated railway quarters and passenger toilets and other few buildings look as mute witnesses of 1964 cyclone that shook not only the Tamil Nadu but the entire nation.

It was on December 24, 1964, giant waves triggered by cyclone ruined the entire Dhanushkodi town.

Those were times with poor communication. There was no TV, Internet and other advanced communication networks. Pamban Rail Bridge, which connects the mainland with Pamban across Palk Strait, was an only way to reach Danushkodi besides water transports.

Train tragedy

As predicted by the Meteorological Department, Madras, heavy rain started lashing the Rameswaram Island from December 22, 1964. There was no news about the fate of a passenger train, which started its `last journey' from Pamban to Dhanushkodi at 11.55 p.m. on December 22, 1964.

The tragedy came to light only on December 25. It was shocking news for the country that the cyclone ravaged entire Dhanushkodi and the whole train with nearly 200 passengers on board got submerged in water while entering Dhanushkodi.

The railway station was washed away. The bathing gate at Danushkodi, which is holy place for the Hindus, was a heap of ruins. Among the wrecked were the famous Thanjavur Raja Chatram and the Ramanathapuram Raja Chatram. More than 500 corpses were strewn all over the Island.

Harrowing scene

"No body should see the harrowing scene that I witnessed during 1964 cyclone. Even after 41 years that bad memory has continued to reminiscence my mind. Though rain heavily on that day, it was 20-foot giant waves rose from the turbulent sea along with strong wind caused the irreparable loss of lives and properties," recalls 80-year-old `neechal' Kali, who had a miraculous escape from the cyclone by clinging to a post.

"Those were happier times. Dhanushkodi had a railway station and jetty on the coast, from where travellers were taken by Irvin, Goschen, ferries owned by Southern Railway, to Talaimannar in Sri Lanka. But now tourists have to pay a hefty sum to reach Dhanushkodi just to see some devastated leftovers. When the country is seeing all round development, why can't the Governments come forward to reconstruct the glory of the past? he asks.

Printer friendly page  
Send this article to Friends by E-Mail



Tamil Nadu

News: Front Page | National | Tamil Nadu | Andhra Pradesh | Karnataka | Kerala | New Delhi | Other States | International | Opinion | Business | Sport | Miscellaneous | Engagements |
Advts:
Classifieds | Employment | Obituary | Updates: Breaking News |

Sivananda Orphanage


News Update


The Hindu Group: Home | About Us | Copyright | Archives | Contacts | Subscription
Group Sites: The Hindu | Business Line | The Sportstar | Frontline | The Hindu eBooks | The Hindu Images | Home |

Copyright 2005, The Hindu. Republication or redissemination of the contents of this screen are expressly prohibited without the written consent of The Hindu