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Ram Setu, Dhanushkodi – Myth or Reality?

Credits: Charith Gunaratna, Flickr

Science or miracle? Natural or Man-made? Stones or Corals? There’s hardly a soul in India who hasn’t heard of the legendary Ram Setu, which forms a part of the epic tale of Ramayana. The tug of war between the good and the evil – Rama and Ravana, where justice prevailed and ‘dharma’ was victorious is a tale passed down several generations. A king turned deity, Lord Ram needs no formal introduction. Neither does his victory against the demon king Ravana.

Ram Setu: A Bridge that binds legends

A link that led to the battle of epic proportions between the Indian king against the Lankan ruler, Ram Setu is the bridge that binds legends. The importance of this bridge is unparalleled for India, and it goes miles when it comes to defining the relationship between India and Sri Lanka. Let’s explore this magnificent myth together that is nestled in the town of Dhanushkodi!

Credits: Wikimedia Commons

The tale begins after the abduction of Seeta, Lord Ram’s wife. After Ravana kidnaps her and flies to his Lankan kingdom, Lord Ram is left grasping at straws. A ferocious sea separates him from his wife. His army of Vanaras (apes/monkeys) are left helpless and saddened at their Lord’s dismay. After praying for several days to the god of the sea, Lord Ram finally gets his audience.

Ram Setu Bridge: A blessing by the God of Sea

The God of Sea tells him to build a bridge; every stone should be etched with Lord Ram’s name, and the stones won’t sink. Lord Ram and his army do as they’re instructed, and miraculously, the stones remain afloat, thus helping them to construct the bridge to Lanka. This is the popular myth and the story behind Ram Setu Bridge, Setu translating to ‘bridge’. Most of us know this story, however, scientific evidence has cast some new light on this bridge of myths. 

Ram Setu

A man-made phenomenon

Ram Setu or Adam’s bridge was declared to be man-made by scientists and geologists. After new evidence was provided by NASA, this 30 km long bridge which was constructed 1.2 million years ago, went against the then-popular belief that it was a natural phenomenon, created by the corals. The sea separating India and Sri Lanka is called ‘Seethusamudram’ or the ‘sea of the bridge’.

A sacred link between India and Sri Lanka

The bridge was said to be passable on foot till 1480 because the sea was extremely shallow in that area. However, a storm increased the water level and flooded the channel. The aftermath resulted in the sinking of the bridge and made it impossible for people to travel by foot. The present-day location of Ram Setu or Adam’s bridge starts from the tip of India’s Pamban bridge and ends at Sri Lanka’s Mannar Island. 

A String of Coral Formations?

Some scientists also believe that the bridge is nothing but a string of coral formations, attributed to natural causes. However, that does not really explain how these found their way into the Ramayana tale! Did our ancient ways enable us to see from space?

Ram Setu

Ram Setu is said to be visible from Dhanushkodi, a place in Rameswaram in Tamil Nadu. This bridge, although mythical or not, is a long severed tie between India and Sri Lanka. Its importance is unequivocal in establishing the geographical importance of the two countries in ancient times. In Sri Lanka, the Adam’s Bridge is a source of great interest for the tourists.

Adam's Bridge
Credits: Charith Gunaratna, Flickr

It is undeniable that this man-made wonder can finally be a positive bridge that connects India and Sri Lanka. So, it cannot be denied that this bridge holds tremendous importance for India. In the coming years, with scientific developments, there might be more concrete evidence to validate the long and perilous journey Lord Ram took to Lanka.

Curated by Yashodhaan Burange