Sunday, May 3, 2009

Adam’s Bridge aka Rama’s Bridge

Adam's Bridge, also known as 'Ram Sethu' meaning "Rama's Bridge", is a chain of limestone shoals, between the islands of Mannar, near northwestern Sri Lanka, and Rameswaram, off the southeastern coast of India. Hindus believe that this bridge was built by Rama incarnation of Lord Vishnu to rescue his consort Sita who was abducted to Lanka by Ravana, as mentioned in the Ramayana.

Many historical inscriptions, coins, old travel guides, old dictionary references, old religious maps indicate that this structure is considered sacred by Hindus.

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Rama's Bridge as seen from the air

In 2001, the Government of India approved a controversial multi-million dollar Sethusamudram Shipping Canal Project that aims to create a ship channel across the Palk Strait by dredging through a portion of this causeway. Some organizations oppose this project using current alignment based on religious, economic and environmental grounds.

NASA distanced itself from the claims saying that what had been captured was nothing more than a 30 km long, naturally-occurring chain of sandbanks called Adam's bridge. It also clarified that, "The images reproduced on the websites may well be ours, but their interpretation is certainly not ours. Remote sensing images or photographs from orbit cannot provide direct information about the origin or age of a chain of islands, and certainly cannot determine whether humans were involved in producing any of the patterns seen". Prof. N. Ramanujam, Head, Post Graduate Department of Geology and Research Centre, V.O. Chidambaram College, astrophysicist Jayant Narlikar and a group of professors of Madurai Kamaraj University stated that Adam's bridge is a natural geographical feature which formed some 17 million years ago. In addition, Archeological Survey of India, with out carrying out studies itself, has said that the structure is natural.


NASA satellite photo of Adam's Bridge, Sri Lanka to the left.
Below another NASA photo

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Unbridgeable Myths: The mixing of myth and history is not the prerogative of the Hindu Right. For Dravidians, the Ram Setu has far less resonance than the myth of Lemuria known as Kumari Kandam in Tamil literature. On the lines of the Aryan theory, a section of Tamils has believed and sustained a Dravidian theory about 'Lemuria'.

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