Ram’s Bridge

28 03 2006
Off late I have been in the exploration mode. No, it doesn’t mean that I am travelling to all corners of the country, but rather I’ve been exploring the world on Google Earth. I explored the entire Indo-Pak and Indo-China border areas and the Indian coastline from West Bengal to Gujarat. I must say that in all the coastlines on the eastern, southern and western parts of the country I felt that the Gujarat coast was intriguing. With swampy Kutch region towards Pakistan, the coastline creates an open mouth shape and it flanked by various inhabited and uninhabited islands. But the most intriguing aspect of the Indian coastline is the Adam’s Bridge in Tamil Nadu.

Take a look at this picture on the right taken from Google Earth (Click photo to enlarge). Look below the yellow line joining Indian and Sri Lanka. If you look carefully, you will find a cluster of rocks creating a bridge like formation connecting these two countries. This is known in the modern world as Adam’s Bridge though the Indians also know it as Ram’s Bridge. Some more pictures of this bridge can be found here.Legend has it that when Ram was going on the conquest of Lanka, the demonic kingdom, he had to build a bridge to link the Indian mainland with Lanka. He with the help of the army of monkeys built a bridge of rocks under the supervision of Nala, son of the architect-god Vishwakarma. The bridge of rocks was supposed to float on water but the gods anchored it to the sea bed, thus forming a cluster as is seen from the satellite image.

Most Hindu groups claim it as fool-proof evidence of the fact that the events described in Ramayan actually took place and scoff at claims of scholars that Ramayan and Mahabharat were nothing more than fictional stories.

Some may ask why this mythical bridge is known as Adam’s Bridge when it is claimed to have been built by Ram. The answer can be found in Christian mythology which believes that the biblical Garden of Eden was located in modern day Sri Lanka.

Archaeological studies of the area around the bridge are still under progress and some archaeologists claim that the bridge is no more than 3500 years old. Some studies have found that sea levels in this region rose by up to 20 metres to reach the level of today, thus corroborating the above theory. This 30km long stretch is being regarded as the oldest evidence of a man-made structure across the sea.

In recent times in an effort to develop this region for tourism, the Indian and Sri Lankan governments have started the Setusamudram Shipping Canal Project to create a shipping channel across the Palk Straits. The idea is to cut down shipping travel time by up to 30 hours and 400 kms as this canal project aims to prevent the ships from going all across the Sri Lankan island to cross over to the Bay of Bengal.