1964 Storm Pamban Bridge Was Damaged





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Published on Feb 1, 2011

This is the continuation of, WDM Snakes Onto Pamban Carefully - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pk0Xk4...

This bridge was damaged in the 1964 storm. The disaster did not take place on Pamban bridge as is popularly believed now, but at Dhanushkodi end of Pamban island which is 28 km away from Pamban bridge.

Pamban bridge is listed in the Top 10 Most Dangerous Railroads in the world - http://www.mostinterestingfacts.com/t...

Pamban Bridge Playlist - http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=...

After the 1964 cyclone, the girders of Pamban bridge were replaced and an anemometer was installed. When the wind speed crosses 55 km per hour, signals on the bridge send out an automatic warning to approaching trains.


Dhanushkodi is a town at the southern tip of Tamil Nadu, situated in the South East of Pamban, about 18 miles (29 km) West of Talaimannar in Sri Lanka.

Before 1964, Dhanushkodi was a flourishing town town with pilgrims, travelers, fishermen, tourists and others. A cyclone with a wind velocity of 270 km/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 and a train carrying 115 people submerged under water killing all of them. Following the disaster, the Government declared it as ghost town and unfit for living.

Only a few fisher folks now live there.

The railway track got covered by sand dunes and was abandoned -- nobody lives there and the train services were no longer considered viable.

The train (the No.653 Rameswaram to Dhanuskodi) was fully submerged by sea water due to a heavy storm and tidal waves nearly 20m in height.

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' 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 official death count was about 128, but the number of unreserved passengers could not be determined.

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.


In the instant case it is understood from reliable information that the Railway authorities had weather report anticipating the storm but still the top bureaucracy did not want to cancel the train but forced the Driver to take the train across the rising sea waves. The driver, it is learnt, took the train after conveying his apprehensions as he was working there for decades.

The tragedy could have been avoided if only the Railway authorities had taken note of the weather report and canceled Train No.653. But when the calamity struck it was termed by the Railways as "ACT OF GOD".


Former President of India, Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam, who hails from Rameshwaram island, has remembered that event in his autobiography Wings of Fire - "I was about six years old when my father embarked on the project of building a wooden sailboat to take pilgrims from Rameshwaram to Dhanushkodi, (also called Sethukkarai), and back. He worked at building the boat on the seashore, with the help of a relative, Ahmed Jallaluddin, who later married my sister, Zohara. I watched the boat take shape. The wooden hull and the bulkheads were seasoned with the heat from wood fires. My father was doing good business with the boat when, one day, a cyclone bringing winds of over 100 miles per hour carried away our boat, along with some of the landmass of Sethukkarai. The Pamban Bridge collapsed with the train full of passengers on it. Until then, I had only seen the beauty of the sea, now its uncontrollable energy came as a revelation to me".

Hindu scriptures says that at the request of Vibeeshana, brother of Ravana and ally of Rama, Rama broke the Sethu with one end of his bow and hence the name Dhanushkodi, Dhanush meaning Bow and Kodi meaning end. It is also said that Rama marked this spot for Setu with one end of his famous bow. A series of rocks and islets found in a line are shown as remnants of the ancient Setu also called as Rama's Bridge. It is said that Pilgrimage to Kashi will be completed only after the worship at Rameswaram besides a holy bath in Dhanushkodi at the Confluence of Mahodadhi (Bay of Bengal) and Ratnakara (Indian Ocean). Setu is Sanskrit word to denote bridge or causeway.


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