Is Ram Setu Really a Manmade Construction Bridging an Ancient 20 Mile Gap? New Studies May End the Controversy
Built by a king and his army to save a queen from the clutches of a rival? Or maybe a bridge to a land which led Adam to his atonement? While both of these ideas are far-fetched, current research suggests the Ram Setu link between India and Sri Lanka is not natural as most people have been told to believe, but is a man-made bridge which is thousands of years old.
The 50-km (31-mile) stretch between Pamban Island near Rameshwaram in India and Mannar Island off Sri Lanka is normally called ‘Ram Setu’, but it is also known as ‘Adam’s bridge.’ Until now, common belief has said the bridge was a natural formation created when mainland Sri-Lanka broke off from the Indian sub-continent about 125,000 years ago. The idea of a manmade bridge existing at the site has been cast off as pure Hindu myth by many, however a show created for the Science Channel in the USA says that myth has met reality.
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The show provides perspectives and research on Ram Setu by scientists and geologists from Indiana University Northwest, University of Colorado Boulder, and Southern Oregon University. Satellite imagery shows there are formations in the area and scientists now say the limestone shoals were deliberately placed by humans – not nature. Specifically, Hindustan Times reports the researchers claim the rocks used for the ancient bridge are 7,000 years old, though the sand bar is only 4,000 years old. “The rocks on top of the sand actually predate the sand, so there is more to this story,” said Chelsea Rose , historical archaeologist and adjunct faculty member at Southern Oregon University.
Landsat 7 Imagery of Adam's Bridge (Rama Setu). Image taken from NASA's World Wind software. ( Public Domain )
A quote from the show says that the creation of the bridge is in itself a mystery,
“There are stones that have been brought from far and set on top of the sand bar in the island chain. How these stones got here is a mystery. These results suggest the structure in the satellite image is not natural but built by humans. Some scholars believe the ancient text referred to a time 5000 years ago. At this point in history, building such a long bridge would have been a super human achievement.
The Hindu ‘myth’ accompanying the bridge’s creation says the structure was “constructed by Rāma, the hero of the Hindu epic Rāmāyaṇa, to facilitate the passage of his army from India to Ceylon (Sri Lanka) for the rescue of his abducted wife, Sītā.” Vanara (ape men) are credited with the construction work. Encyclopædia Britannica provides the Muslim legend as well, in which Adam supposedly “crossed there to Adam’s Peak, Ceylon, atop which he stood repentant on one foot for 1,000 years.” Temple records claim Ram Setu was above sea level until a cyclone broke it in 1480.
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The Rama Setu being built by the monkeys and bears. ( Public Domain )
Some cultural clashes are also coming out because the confirmation of the manmade bridge has been provided by an American television channel. According to Hindustan Times, the Indian Council of Historical Research proposed an underwater study to decide if the structure was natural or manmade back in March 2017, however archaeologist and former ASI director Alok Tripathi, who submitted the proposal, said “We have not done the fieldwork. There are some formalities pending for the project to start. Our conclusions will depend on what we find.”
Aerial view of Adam's Bridge, taken while flying over Sri Lanka looking west. (PlaneMad/ CC BY SA 2.5 )
Top Image: “Lord Rama got fed up with asking a non-responding Varuna (God of the oceans) to help him and took up the Brahmastra.” (Fair Use ) Ram Setu – a natural phenomenon or perhaps a manmade bridge built to save a queen? ( Twitter)