Sunday, February 17, 2013

A walk on the bridge to Rameshwaram

Let's walk today

Rameshwaram Bridge
Thousands of years ago, at the about same place Rama instructed his military of monkeys to build the bridge. And Rama walked over that bridge ……
When I wrote my post about Rameshwaram; several people asked me more about my walk on the bridge to Rameshwaram.
Here is the details about that memorable walk.
And this post is dedicated to all those who love to walk and laugh.
I always loved this bridge and wanted to walk over it for the sheer joy to be a part of this scene. When we took passenger train from Madurai to Rameshwaram and it passed over this bridge at about 10Am so I though why not to watch this train from the road bridge.
At 8AM we took a bus from Rameshwaram market to Pamban. It was a half hour journey in the sand dunes and occasional cluster of casurina bushes. We got down at Pamban market and we wanted to have our breakfast before our walk. Pamban is a very small fishing village where you breath salt and fishy air.
Pehle pet pooja phir kaam dooja.
When it comes to food my wife is very clean conscious so she rejected all restaurants there. It was a very tiny market. 2-3 restaurants and a path leading to railway station and then to fish market where boats unload their catch in the evening.
Finally she agreed to eat in a restaurant that was run by a very poor lady but it was acceptably clean. If you get down from the bus and walk towards railway station. Make a first right and you will find this restaurant on your right side. It is barely about 5-6 feet wide 7-8 feet long. We ate idli and dosas and it was delicious that I have no words. We kept on eating and probably ate all her food and then when it came to pay; she asked for 25 rupee and my heart cried that we were robing that poor lady. My wife paid her 100 rupee (that lady cried). My wife love to visit restaurant run and operated by women I suggest you to do the same. Never mind if the place if poor but woman keeps the place clean and cooks clean food. I have observed it hundreds of times. A woman never tolerate dirty place.
Well Sir; it was some food and happy place; this Panbam. But we are here to walk over the bridge and watch the train that brought us to Rameshwaram.
So are you with me. Let’s begin our walk.
WE will walk. US and YOU.
It appears that bridge is far away (no symptom of bridge anyway) so I ask the folks at the road and anonymously they all says that THE bridge begins after 1km. No problem; 1 km is no big deal but air is fresh, sky is blue and water is near. God is happy on us. Rama was here and we are here. We walk but 1 km was overstatement. Road begin rising after first bend and sea is visible. We climb and then railway line crosses the road. I’d rather say that bridge has begun NOW. But as village folks said it was to be still about a 1km further because we only came 100 yards from Pamban.
It is still morning. Air is the freshest possible. We are surrounded by blue water. We had the best possible food. Vies are superb. Temperature is perfect. Sun is gently.
What else you want from The Creation.
We feel like walking.

Fishing village at the bottom of the bridge

Nobody else will be walking over this bridge except us and you.
I walked this bridge 3 times and I didn’t see anyone else. Of-course if a bus is passing over the road bridge and then a train happen to pass then the bus stops on the demand of passengers. As the train is gone they are gone.

On the bridge ramp

Bridge is visible. Road is climbing to meet it and a fishing establishment is below us. Lots of conch. It is a big conch (Shankh) industry in Panbam. Shankh that make big sound. Before visiting this area I always thought that conch are made of dead animals but it turned out false. Conch are made of live animal. Live animal is pulled out from the water and dried off and then cleaned. After that I have nothing to do with conch. I threw away the conch I had in my home and will never buy another.
Sorry to spoil your fun (Halwa mae balwa) but it very enjoy-full and vivid.
I guess you want to watch the activities in the fishing village so we all hang over the railing on the bridge like wet socks and looking below.
So much is going on in the villages. 2 guys are struggling to drag a huge fish. Women are cleaning fish. Sea shore is rocky and railway line is already on the bridge over the water but road bridge hasn’t begun yet. We are still on the ramp and it is about 100 feet high already. Tons and tons of conch are drying. People are cleaning dried conch. Children are playing with fish. A lot is happening under us and everything to do with fish.
Well Sirjee … I don’t eat fish. I am vegetarian. Enough for my curiosity and I must move. You can meet me on the top of bridge; on the opposite of the draw section of the bridge around 10AM or you will miss the train.
Who cares about the train; you are in the state of esctacy anyway.
I am Punjabi; in Punjab we call it Tunn.
We are Tunn and you are Tunn. All Tunn.

Picture take from the train
OK Sirjee we are on the highest point of the bridge and; Wow! Wow! Wow! Our train is appearing on the horizon. So we all are here now.
Train is growing up under us. Now buses are stopping from the both sides on the demand of the passengers. Whereas we were alone on the bridge and now all of a sudden there are hundreds of people. It is traffic jam now and nothing is moving.
Time came to stop. Everybody is looking at the train.
Train came and went and people came and went. We are alone again.
Scenes are great at both sides. At our right side in the South we can see the fishing village of Panbam and miles of Rameshwaram Island. On our left side in the north we can see miles far away of scenic Tamilnadu coast.
We walk for about an hour. There are foot paths on both side and we are walking. Rarely anyone walks on this bridge. Public buses are extremely cheap in Tamilnadu anyway.
Now bridge has ended but esctasy stays. On our left side is a private beach resort and glass bottom boats are available to show you the the bottom of water; fishes etc.
But I am a freeloader. I love anything that God gave us for free. We are thirsty and ask for drinking water at the resort as they happily let us drink it from their earthen pot and we again resume our walk.
Right side there is ocean after you cross railway line.
I just love it. Waves are crashing at the rocks. Let’s lie down on the rocks and relax. You better sit a bit away but I will sit near the water.
Wow! a huge wave came and soaked me from head to feet. Lucky that I got my lungi in my backpack. I dry myself with it and then I wear it and spread my clothes on the bushes by the railway line so t hey dry in the whistling wind.

We must stay here till my clothes dry; anyway nobody wants to leave such a serene place.
Goddamn it! My clothes are dried in just 10 minutes.
A train is coming we are watching the train and whole train is watching us.
Wind is as it will throw us in the ocean.
It is now 2PM and let’s hit the road again. We walk on the road towards Mandap; but now walk is not much appealing so we decide to return back to Rameshwaram.
We wave a bus going towards Rameshwaram and it stops.
In 45 minutes we are back to Rameshwaram.
I love Rameshwaram too.
So My Dear Sir, how was your day?

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