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Old 18th November 2019, 08:09   #1
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Default Information and bad experience of travel to Dhanushkodi Land's End

Thanks to Anoop Thomas Joy for sending this information in. Heartfelt gratitude for sharing it with other enthusiasts via this Team-BHP page!

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Myself Anoop Thomas from Kochi, Kerala working as a freelance Linux Systems Engineer. I have been an avid reader of Team-BHP for the last 6 years and the owner of a humble VW Polo 1.2MPI. I would like to pass some important information about illegal road blockage by the locals at Dhanushkodi village in Tamil Nadu as lots of our members as well as travel enthusiasts drive to Land's end (Ashoka Pillar site). The drive to Dhanushkodi was in my bucket list for a few years and I had an opportunity to execute the plan along with my brother-in-law on November 11th and 12th. So, we drove to Dhanushkodi from Kochi on 11th Morning via Perumbavur (near Kochi) - Adimaly - Rajakkad - Pooppara - Body - Theny - Usilampatty - Thirumangalam - Madurai Ring Road - Ramanathapuram - Rameshwara - Dhanushkodi. I saw someone had posted a question on Kochi - Dhanushkodi route. It may help if someone can post the route. About the route, there are some potholes till Rajakkad. The Rajakkad to Pooppara route is very good without any potholes. It's winding roads through beautiful hilly area. Then there is major construction work going on from Pooppara to Kerala border due to road widening by NHAI as these are parts of NH 49. Once the road crosses into Tamil Nadu, it is pure bliss. We didn't encounter a single pothole throughout Tamil Nadu. We took the Thirumangalam route to bypass Madurai town, which is normally chaotic.

We join NH 44 at Thirumangalam and travel north for around 6 km and take the first right turn to Madurai Ring Road after the toll booth. There are 4 lane roads till the outskirts of Ramanathapuram and then undivided roads from Ramanathapuram to Dhanushkodi. but the traffic is very less and we can easily maintain 70-80 km/h. I am adding this information so that readers planning trips to Dhanushkodi from Kerala can use the information.

Coming to the point, we reached Dhanushkodi village around 4 pm on 11th November and to our utter dismay, we see the road further was blocked using ropes and barrels used to transport kerosene, oil etc. This is the place where we see the old remains of the town and currently there is a small settlement and petty shops selling craft items, snacks etc along with huge parking space. So, around 30-40 cars, tempo travellers etc were blocked by villagers and were parked in the parking areas close to these shops. This place is exact 5 km from the Land's end Ashoka pillar point. So, we inquired at the people manning this blockage and they said road construction is going on as the roads were washed out during the recent rains. The riders on two-wheelers are crossing the barricade from the sides and only cars and big vehicles were blocked. I felt something fishy as I had read various travelogues on Team-BHP regarding recent rides by Laluks in July and some other guy very recently as well. I follow the weather pattern before I travel normally and could not find any recent rain issues at Rameshwaram. Unfortunately, none of the other travellers were protesting as most of these guys were on pilgrimage to the Rameshwaram temple and with families and they just believed what the locals were saying. So, we stayed there for another 30 minutes for any opportunity and came back to our hotel room at Rameshwaram thinking of an idea to cross the barrier. We inquired with different people at our Hotel Pearl Residency (nice hotel with good parking and food close to railway station) and came to know that the only block they knew is the police barrier, which opens around 7.30 am every morning and closes around 6 pm.

So, we decided to wake up around 6 am and try our luck. We started around 6.50 am on 12th November from the hotel and found that the police check post was already open. So, we cruised to Dhanuskodi expecting to reach the village before the usual crowd. We reached by 7 am and found few cars already parked at the same place before the barrier - 5 km before the Ashoka Pillar. So, we parked again and ask the middle aged guy posing to be manning the barrier. He said the usual rubbish about the roads being washed out by rains but no mention of any construction work. So, we are confident that these were clear lies to force people to park around their village for their monitory benefit. So, we asked whether we could walk across the barrier and they said, roads are good till 1-2 km and then there is no road as such. We were already armed to walk in case there was a blockage at the village. So, we started walking around 7.15 am and we walked around 2 km, didn't find any signs of the road being washed out or construction materials or machinery. We walked further for another half a km and found a pickup auto carrying around 10 people (villagers by their look) coming from the Land's End. Truly, we thought that they were construction workers and thought villagers blocking the road may be right. We walked further and noticed a pickup auto coming towards us from the village. We hoped to get a ride on the pickup auto and the auto driver readily agreed to take us for Rs. 50 per head one way. We hopped in and started travelling and found another guy from Maharashtra already ventured walking towards Land's end that too alone. We picked him as well and went to Lands end in the auto. As per our thoughts earlier, there was no road damage, construction or whatsoever and roads were good till the end and we could still see the parking area and related sign boards at the end. We spent some time around (10 minutes) and the auto-guy forced as us to go back and we had no other choice but to return back in his vehicle as the sun was blazing hot by then. I recorded most of the travel footage on my phone as proof and show some travellers willing to listen at the village, but we could not find anyone who were interested as the most of the folks are with family and come for pilgrimage.

Our suspicion is that there is no government order for sure to block the roads as the bikers are freely allowed and only cars are targeted. We also saw a policeman (who was possibly the security personal for the crowd management) travelling on his bike towards Land's end during our return journey by pickup auto. This was possibly an agenda by the locals to get monitory benefits for their shops as no one might stop there to buy water or food as the town is just 5-10 minutes drive from the Land's end. There is no option for them to put up shops at the Land's end due to security policies.

I am writing this mail to inform fellow readers about this new development as it will be very disappointing for someone who travels by car with family to forcibly stop at the village and is not able to proceed further as walking with a family is going to be very difficult and unsafe. We thanked our lucky stars after reaching back to the hotel as it would be very difficult to walk 10 km in blazing hot sun and then travel back home by driving close to 10 hours.
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Old 18th November 2019, 09:01   #2
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Default Re: Information and bad experience of travel to Dhanushkodi Land's End

This is very sad and disheartening to know. Had read another small travelogue which also confirmed that the road was closed. Its very disappointing to know that a particular site is closed after you travel thousands of miles to visit it.
Driving with family culture has really picked up in India in the last few years and its something good especially with super highways around. However at many places, locals are still unfriendly and think that these people have eaten through their livelihood. I remember in 2013, I drove through to the Dudhsagar waterfalls in my XUV500 and all the taxi drivers were staring in anger. And I'm sure all of them would be wishing that I get stuck in the water crossing.

So this attitude of locals will take time to change. Hope for the best.

Last edited by ruzbehxyz : 18th November 2019 at 09:02.
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Old 18th November 2019, 09:28   #3
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Default Re: Information and bad experience of travel to Dhanushkodi Land's End

My friend Sunil shares his recent experience :

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I don’t think it’s a scam. I was there on Nov 8th & 9th and construction works were going on at end.

I walked till the end. No vehicles were allowed and security was taking snaps of one of the fishermen’s truck that was coming back and picked one kid and passed the message to the authorities

Also, I got a free ride by a JCB guy and not even a single vehicle allowed when I was there.
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Old 18th November 2019, 09:34   #4
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Default Re: Information and bad experience of travel to Dhanushkodi Land's End

Very disheartening indeed. It isn't debatable that locals have their world turned upside down when their surrounding suddenly becomes touristy or commercial. Their peace goes for a toss, rents go up and you have "outsiders" lapping up real estate. Not just here but world over where tourism picks up. However, that's not excuse to exploit those who come visit.

Most likely, authorities are hand in glove with this arrangement where everyone gets a cut so until this becomes big news, they'll keep this up. to Anoop Thomas Joy for putting in the effort to document this.

Someone please go tell these clowns, they'll have a bigger problem when tourists stop coming because of the inconvenience. Hope the local administration develops Dhanushkodi Land's End properly so the locals don't get shortchanged.
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Old 18th November 2019, 10:58   #5
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Default Re: Information and bad experience of travel to Dhanushkodi Land's End

There's been sea wall strengthening going on since 3rd week of October and vehicles are being stopped at the church as Klub Class quoted above.

This is not a normal road, and is subject to sand blowing over the road, sea water on the road (happened on the first few months after the road was inaugurated and about dozen people were rescued) and not to forget weather. 1964 cyclone is reason the place is a ghost town at the first place. There was a time when strong winds meant Rameswaram trains were stopped at Mandapam, not sure if this is still the case.
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Old 18th November 2019, 15:17   #6
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Default Re: Information and bad experience of travel to Dhanushkodi Land's End

As per the Hindu the stretch was closed for consturction last month. https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities...le29754481.ece.



As per Dinamalar today, tourists are allowed till Dhanushkodi end after 28 days
https://www.dinamalar.com/news_detail.asp?id=2414000
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