History of India is full of speculations; some believe and some don’t but owing to the unrecorded history of this peninsula many things just cannot be proved. Similar is the case with Ram Setu or what is known to the western world as Adam’s Bridge.
This bridge is located between India and Sri Lanka and extends from the tip of Pamban Island which is known by the name of Dhanushkodi to mannar island of Sri Lanka. There are many claims as to when and how the bridge was made.
If you go by Hindu beliefs and scriptures this bridge was built by the two Vanara architects of the army of Lord Ram named Neela and Nala. They were blessed with the ability of making anything float on water and they utilized their blessing in making Ram Setu with the help of the 10 million Vanaras in 5 days. In Valmiki Ramayana the procedure of how the bridge was constructed has also been mentioned but there is no mention of Nala and Neel having this ability. However, in Ramcharitmanas of Tulsidas, Nala and Neel have been shown to have the power to make stones float on water.
In contrast to this belief the scientists and archeologists claim that this bridge is just a collection of limestone shoals that has been formed due to deposition of sand and salts of various kinds. There is also said to be coral reef that has led to the formation of the bridge.
This 50 km long bridge could be passed on foot from India to Sri Lanka but due to cyclone has got submerged in water. However, this bridge separates the Gulf of Mannar from Palk Straight and makes the area not suitable for navigation. For this reason the route for the ships becomes longer.
According to Archeological Survey of India the age of this bridge has been found to be 125,000 years while the radio carbon dating suggests that this bridge is around 7,000 to 18,000 years old. There are many other studies that suggest conflicting dates for the formation of Ram Setu.
There are many historically important documents that suggest that Setubandhanam is a very ancient structure. The maps that were prepared by the Dutch cartographer in 1747 as well as the map of Mughal India show the presence of the bridge. Even in the travel log of Marco Polo the area has the names like Sethubandha or Sethubandha Rameshwaram.
This bridge has been in controversy recently as it presents a problem in passing of the large ships from the area leading to an increase in time as well as cost of the transport. For this reason it was proposed that the bridge be blasted off for the ease of transport. But owing to the widespread opposition the government did not go further.
Whether this bridge was made by Lord Rama or by the virtue of Nature its importance cannot be denied and bringing it down for any reason is not a justifiable step and it must be conserved for the geological reasons if not for the historical ones.
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