The Ram Setu or Adam’s Bridge

As we all know, ‘Ram Setu’, otherwise called as Adam’s Bridge what I’m talking about, is the fabled bridge built by the Vanar-Sena (Lord Hanuman’s monkey army) of Ramayana across the Bay of Bengal, to enable the travel to Lanka, in order to rescue mata Sita. This bridge is believed to as one of the oldest man-made bridge which signifies it as a fact than that of a myth. However, it is still a debate whether Ramayan has been a reality too! Ramayan is one of the popular epics of Hindus that believed to have happened in Sat Yug in India where there was a very pure and righteous soul called Rama. He was born as a prince who later became the ‘Maryada Purussottam’, an exemplary personality to society with his moral and spiritual values.

The Ram Setu is his creation according to Ramayan when he was attempting to visit Lanka in order to rescue his abducted wife from Lanka’s King Ravana.

The bridge was made up with a chain of limestone shoals that float in water, the trace of which is still clearly visible with the help of satellite photos. Ram Setu connects India to Lanka, present day Srilanka from the point of Pamban Island of Tamil Nadu, India coast to Mannar Island of Srilanka. The length of this bridge is approximately 48 kilometers. According to the epic, when lord Rama wanted to cross the ocean in order to reach Lanka, the ocean lord asked his team of Vanar Sena to put stones on the water surface after writing Lord Rama’s name on them and thus they floated. This way they could cross the ocean and reached Lanka. However, the scientific version is a bit different. Here’s what scientists have to say.

The floating stones rest atop a thin strip of sand also known as ‘sandbar’.

These are the areas where the water runs very shallow, almost knee deep, thereby generating a faint picture of a thin route untill the Mannar Island of Sri Lanka. The interesting fact now is according one historical archaeologist Chelsea Rose and an adjunct faculty member at Southern Oregon University, the sandbar is only 4,000 years old, while the rocks are 7,000 years old. The fact that the rocks predate the sand, adds volumes of speculations to the story. Although not scientifically confirmed, this theory is a possible proof of the Ramayana’s existence. Also, the floating rocks seen in the Pamban Island of Tamil Nadu, are said to be age old rocks made up of a volcanic eruption-residue. Due to the quick heating and cooling after the eruption, these rocks have uneven pore formation, making them light enough to float instead of sink.

Geologically, the water and Marine Resources group of the space Application Centre (SAC) of the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) concludes that Adam’s Bridge comprises of 103 small patch reefs. There have been a few studies under “Project Rameswaram” by the Geological Survey of India (GSI) that included dating of corals, indicating Rameswaram Island of Tamil Nadu had evolved beginning 125,000 years back. Radiocarbon dating of samples in this research suggests the domain between Rameswaram and Mannar may have been exposed approximately between 7,000 and 18,000 years ago.

Presently, navigation to the Ram Setu between the two islands is hindered because of the shallow water levels although small boats are still active in those areas. Recently the Government of India (GOI) has approved the Sethusamudram Shipping Canal {roject in that area that intends to make a ship channel across the shallow ocean floor near Dhanuskodi, tip of Pamban Island. The channel is expected to cut over 400 kelometers, around 30 hours of shipping time off the voyage around the island of Srilanka.

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