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Lost in Time : The Less Explored Pamban Island and the Rameswaram Island | Travelogue

The land of temples, picturesque locales, architecture, and the home of the 'Missile Man' of India - welcome to the Rameswaram Island!

Rameswaram island
We take you through a town lost in time, Dhanushkodi in Rameswaram island. Wikimedia

Rameswaram, September 15, 2017 : Off the eastern coast of Tamil Nadu, some 500 km south of Chennai, lies Pamban Island. Seemingly a stone’s throw from neighboring Sri Lanka, this is an island steeped in historical significance, and with some of the most resilient people alive.

One of the longest sea bridges in the country, the iconic Pamban Bridge connects the mainland with the island, also known as Rameswaram Island. With breathtaking views of the Bay of Bengal, the journey to the island over this bridge rewinds one to colonial times, when it was built by the British to improve trade relations with Ceylon (now Sri Lanka).

Built in 1914 as India’s first-ever sea bridge, the 6,700-foot structure is in itself an engineering and historical marvel that has withstood several of nature’s furies — from storms to cyclones.

Rameswaram island
An overview of the Pamban Brindge. Wikimedia

The bridge initially ran up to the southeastern tip of the island, Dhanushkodi, now a ghost town. After a cyclone hit it in 1964, Dhanushkodi was washed away by the sea and is now a mere skeleton of the town it once was.

Remnants of its railway lines, church and the devastated dwellings of people can still be seen, though in very poor shape.

From the tip of the region, cell phone networks welcome one to Sri Lanka.

Visible from here is the Adam’s Bridge — a former land link between India and Sri Lanka, now undersea — that is also known as Rama Setu, the bridge believed to have been built by Lord Rama’s army to rescue Sita from Lanka.

Nambavel, a 50-year-old, says there can be no other home for him than Dhanushkodi, of pristine waters and picturesque views of the Bay of Bengal. Three generations of his family have lived here. Although the deadly cyclone forced many to migrate to villages around, some 50 families, including Nambavel’s, refused to leave.

“This has been our home for as long as we’ve known. We grew up playing in the sea water, then learnt to make our living through fishing or running petty shops,” Nambavel told this visiting IANS correspondent.

Rameswaram island
Residents of Dhanushkodi refuse to abandon their small town; for them the “sea is everything”. Wikimedia

“Even as many people we know migrated to nearby villages, there’s no home like Dhanushkodi for us — the sea is everything,” he said.

With sea levels rising around the world due to global warming, the region is constantly threatened by nature. But that does not deter Nambavel: “Even if another cyclone is close, most of us would like to be here, a land we’ve grown up in.”

Surrounded by sea and sand, the town cannot grow any crops and has no provision for electricity due to the wind velocity in the area. It is only the solar panels, an initiative of late President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam who hailed from Rameswaram, that light up the shacks of the few residents.

With Rameswaram considered one of the holiest places for Hindus, a majority of visitors make temples the focus of their travels.

Aiming to showcase the rich cultural and historical heritage of the island, apart from the much-visited temples, Utsa Majumder, the General Manager of the newly-launched Hyatt Place, Rameswaram, is working extensively on various itineraries that uncover the untrodden places in and around the region.

“There’s a lot more that the Rameswaram Island can offer than just the temples it is mostly known for. We want people to know that Rameswaram can be an experiential destination and not just a pilgrimage spot,” Majumder told IANS.

“From historic places that have stood the test of time to some incredible architecture and engineering like the Pamban Bridge, there’s a lot a tourist can see here,” she added.

The hotel offers these itineraries to travelers according to their interests, allowing them to explore different facets of the region, along with menus that present the cuisines of the land — from kuzhi paniyaram (rice batter dumplings) to kara kozhumbu (a spicy tamarind gravy).

Rameswaram Island
Local cuisine at Dhanushkodi. Wikimedia

The region also celebrates its much-beloved son Abdul Kalam. His two-storeyed house on Mosque Street is filled with thousands of his books and is always bustling with people.

A Rs 15-crore memorial to India’s “Missile Man”, inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on July 27, has also grown rather quickly as a tourist attraction. The memorial houses a copy of the last speech Kalam delivered at IIM-Shillong on July 27, 2015, a number of pictures of his meetings with world leaders, and a host of other objects.

As an island that is yearning to receive a boost to its tourism, even a bottle of water bought from a shack in Dhanushkodi goes towards supporting a family.


Reaching there: Flights to Madurai, the nearest airport, from all major cities. From Madurai, Rameswaram can be reached in 3 hrs 30 min (160 kms) by road.

For the picturesque views from a train, pick one that is available almost every hour to Rameswaram from Madurai Railway Station.

Stay: There are four-star, three-star hotels and smaller lodges in the town.

Best time to visit: October to March as the temperatures drop and stay between 20 to 30 degrees C, making travel easier. (IANS)


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How Did A Common Man Become Tamil Nadu’s Weatherman ?

The Tamil Nadu weatherman is famous for his correct predictions

Pradeep John is the face behind popular Tamil Nadu Weatherman Facebook page. newsexpress
Pradeep John is the face behind popular Tamil Nadu Weatherman Facebook page. newsexpress

By Ruchika Verma

  • Tamil Nadu weatherman is a common man who predicts the weather
  • His weather forecasts are based on his knowledge of rain and are accurate
  • His page, Tami Nadu weatherman is very famous

We don’t pay much attention to the weather news. It is one of the most ignored sections of newspapers and Television news. Weather forecast seems mundane to most of us. However, it is not mundane anymore. There is a weatherman in Tamil Nadu who takes weather seriously and the world takes him seriously as well.

We often ignore weather forecasts, but Tamil Nadu's weatherman takes it seriously.
We often ignore weather forecasts, but Tamil Nadu’s weatherman takes it seriously.

This Tamil Nadu weatherman has an almost cult-like following in the southern state. Pradeep John is a self-proclaimed lover of rain and although he does not have any degree in meteorology, he provides weather information which is followed more closely than Met Department’s.

Pradeep’s Interest In Weather 

Tamil Nadu’s weatherman’s interest in weather began when he was 12 years old and witnessed his first cyclone in Chennai.

Also Read: 10 Famous Indian Scientists Who Made A Difference

The floods of 2015 in Chennai was a turning point for Pradeep. During this flood, Chennai witnessed its worst rainfall in over 100 years and people were in a state of panic. When they wanted some guidance and information about the heavy rainfall, the activity on Pradeep’s Facebook page increased rapidly. His posts on the predictions of rainfall went viral and he became an overnight sensation.

Pradeep witnessed his first cyclone in Chennai when he was only 12 years old.
Pradeep witnessed his first cyclone in Chennai when he was only 12 years old.

Here is the list of Pradeep, the Tamil Nadu weatherman’s reports which were spot on: 

On 6th August 2017, Pradeep put out a message regarding an intense 15 minutes rain. And just like his post mentioned, many parts in Chennai received rainfall for only about ten to twenty minutes that day.

Another post made by the Tamil Nadu weatherman was about the Runners of Jawadhu Ultra Run, on 6th August 2017. And it turned out to be true too.

Tamil Nadu Weather Facebook is one of the most popular weather forecast pages in India. WESH Home
Tamil Nadu Weather Facebook is one of the most popular weather forecast pages in India. WESH Home

On 4th June 2017, during India vs. Pakistan cricket match, many weatherman followers asked him for his weather forecast, and like always Tamil Nadu weatherman predicted a sunny day with really light rainfall which again came out to be true.

Also Read: Cyclone Vardah in Chennai, Government issues Red Alert

The Tamil Nadu weatherman is famous for his correct predictions which are concise and easily understandable by the common people. He has a huge social media following which is not seeing any signs of reducing. Tamil Nadu weatherman facebook page is the most famous page about weather forecasts in India today.