Rama’s Bridge: Where Modern Science And Ancient Myths Collide
Hindu tradition has long held the belief that this strip of land was a bridge built by their beloved deity Rama as described in the Hindu epic the Ramayana. It has been referred to since antiquity as “Rama’s Bridge” or Rama Setu. Rama is a popular figure in Hindu mythology. The book that chronicles his life, the Ramayana, is a time honored classic. It tells of a time when the gods flew on ships through the air and of giants and monsters that walked the earth. Researchers who have analyzed the Ramayana state that it is an overambitious work of fiction. Is that true? Or is it possible that Adam’s Bridge is actually the structure described in this Indian classic?
In the great Indian epic of Ramayana, penned several thousand years ago, author Valmiki speaks of a bridge over the ocean connecting India and Sri Lanka. The epic poem, that stretches for nearly 24,000 verses, narrates the life of the divine prince Rama and his struggle to rescue his abducted wife Sita from the demon king Ravana, the ruler of Sri Lanka.Rama, the crown prince, was forced to relinquish his right to the throne and go into exile for fourteen years. During his stay in the forest, his wife Sita was abducted by the evil demon king Ravana and taken to Sri Lanka. Rama organized an army consisting of monkeys and led them to Sri Lanka, where a lengthy war broke out. In the end, Ravana was defeated, and Rama returned home with his wife to be crowned king.In the story, when Rama’s army reaches the ocean across which lies the island of Sri Lanka, the apes construct a floating bridge across the sea by writing the name of Rama on the stones and tossing them into the water. According to the legend, the stones didn’t sink because they had Rama’s name written on them. Rama’s army then used the bridge to cross the sea towards Sri Lanka.
Adam’s Bridge between India and Sri Lanka as seen from Sri Lanka side
If you look at satellite photos of this region today, you will notice a faint hint of a connecting strip between the two countries. This so called Rama’s Bridge or Rama Setu, also known as Adam’s Bridge, is a long, twisting stretch of shoal and sandbank connecting the Indian island of Rameswaram, off the southeastern coast of Tamil Nadu, to Mannar Island, off the northwestern coast of Sri Lanka. The bridge is about 50 km long. Much of it is under water today, but centuries ago, it formed an intermittent, but otherwise solid, connecting link between India and Sri Lanka. The causeway existed as late as the 15th century and was passable on foot, as per records kept at the Rameswaram temple, until it was flooded in a storm.
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The existence of the bridge has been known in India as well as Sri Lanka since ages, as evident from the legend perpetuated by the ancient epic of Ramayana. For as long as anybody could remember, the sea separating the two countries has been called Sethusamudram meaning “Sea of the Bridge”. The 9th century Persian geographer, Ibn Khordadbeh, mentioned the bridge in his Book of Roads and Kingdoms, referring to it is Set Bandhai or “Bridge of the Sea”. The name “Adam’s Bridge” is an early-19th-century British invention —a reference to an Abrahamic myth that Adam used the bridge to cross from Sri Lanka to India.
The bridge currently named as Adam’s Bridge (most popularly known as Ram Setu) is about 18 miles (30 km) long.
The discovery of this bridge is not only important for archaeologists, but it also gives an opportunity to the world to know an ancient history linked to the Indian mythology.
Ram Sethu , the bridge made of stones built by Ram’s army that connected the mainland to the island kingdom of Lanka, actually exists, albeit now, it’s underwater.
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Rama’s army of monkeys building the stone bridge to Sri Lanka.
Landsat 7 Imagery of Adam’s Bridge. Photo credit: NASA
Rama’s Bridge: Where Modern Science And Ancient Myths Collide
Historians, archeologists and researchers in our distant past insist that civilized life began on the Earth about 5,000 years ago. They point to the fact that there is no hard evidence to support the existence of a preexisting culture prior to the rise of the Sumerians and the Egyptians. When alternative historians such as John Anthony West, Robert Schoch and Graham Hancock, proposed that structures on the Giza plateau in Egypt may be far older than currently accepted, their claims were quickly dismissed. Unfortunately for us, no written record exists which documents the date of their construction so these complex masterpieces are placed in the generally accepted timeline of human development and culture.
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But what if there was evidence? What if a structure that was clearly identified in our written and oral traditions were to be found? And what if the stories associated with that site put it unmistakably outside the generally accepted timeline? If an analysis of both the structure and the associated myths were done and they were both supported by modern science, could it change the face of history, a history we held so dearly?This just might be what has happened at a discovered site in India. Located in the Palk Strait off the Southeastern edge of India is a chain of limestone shoals. A shoal or sandbar is characterized by a long and narrow strip of land typically composed of sand, silt and small pebbles that have been deposited over time. This strip of land was once believed to be a natural formation, however, images taken by a NASA satellite has shown this land formation to be a long broken bridge under the ocean’s surface. Now called “Adam’s Bridge”, it extends 18 miles from mainland India to modern day Sri Lanka.
Hindu tradition has long held the belief that this strip of land was a bridge built by their beloved deity Rama as described in the Hindu epic the Ramayana. It has been referred to since antiquity as “Rama’s Bridge” or Rama Setu. Rama is a popular figure in Hindu mythology. The book that chronicles his life, the Ramayana, is a time honored classic. It tells of a time when the gods flew on ships through the air and of giants and monsters that walked the earth. Researchers who have analyzed the Ramayana state that it is an overambitious work of fiction. Is that true? Or is it possible that Adam’s Bridge is actually the structure described in this Indian classic? A number of pieces of evidence support the claim that Adam’s Bridge is the same one described in literature. Rama, according to the Ramayana, was sent into exile because of a promise his father had made many years before. Rama was joined by his brother Lakshmana and his wife Sita. Through the course of a number of unfolding events, Sita is kidnapped by the 10-headed demon-king Ravana. Rama, in an attempt to rescue Seta, assembles an army which includes a large group of ape men, the Vanara. It is discovered that Sita is being held captive on the island of Lanka. Rama, unable to move his massive forces of ape men across the ocean, is advised by the sea god to build a bridge across the water. Rama enlists the help of the Vanara for its construction. The Vanara build a causeway between the mainland to Lanka, constructing it of rocks and boulders, which are described as resembling mountains. The building project is said to have lasted for five days and to have been 100 leagues in length. The bridge, once completed, allowed Rama to transport his army of Vanara across the ocean to Lanka. Once there, Ravana is killed and Sita, Rama’s wife, is returned.According to Hindu tradition, Rama lived during the Treta Yuga, a period of time that began 2,165,000 years ago and extended until about 869,000 years ago. On the surface, this claim seems absurd. One assumption that is often made is that Rama and the many characters that fill the Ramayana are men and women as we currently know them. This however does not explain individuals like the 10-headed demon-king Ravana and other strange individuals who inhabit the Ramayana’s pages. If you let go of the belief, just for one moment, that the figures described in this epic tale were human as we currently know them to exist, you will see how only in this light will all of this make sense.
To begin our assessment as to the validity of the claim that Adam’s Bridge is the same one talked about in myth, let us first look at the bridge itself. Dr. Badrinarayanan, the former director of the Geological Survey of India performed a survey of this structure and concluded that it was man-made. Dr. Badrinarayanan and his team drilled 10 bore holes along the alignment of Adam’s Bridge. What he discovered was startling. About 6 meters below the surface he found a consistent layer of calcareous sand stone, corals and boulder like materials. His team was surprised when they discovered a layer of loose sand, some 4-5 meters further down and then hard rock formations below that. A team of divers went down to physically examine the bridge. The boulders that they observed were not composed of a typical marine formation. They were identified as having come from either side of the causeway. Dr. Badrinarayanan also indicates that there is evidence of ancient quarrying in these areas. His team concluded that materials from either shore were placed upon the sandy bottom of the water to form the causeway. With the creation of this engineering marvel revealed, we will turn our attention to additional evidence that supports its connection to the Ramayana, in particular its claim to have been constructed during the Treta Yuga. Earlier we asked you to suspend your belief about the nature of the individuals portrayed in the Ramayana. And it is not to the gods, the monster nor the main character Rama that we would like to draw your attention, but instead to the Vanara, the ape men, who constructed the bridge for Rama. The Vanara, according to the Ramayana, were the children of the gods, who were born in the form of the ape. The gods sired the Vanara just after Rama’s birth in order to help Rama in his war against Ravana. Who were these ape men? Could the stories of the Vanara we find in myth be describing our earliest ancestors? Are they talking about us, mankind? It is entirely possible. Around 2.5 million years ago (just prior to the opening of the Treta Yuga), human evolution took a major leap with the introduction of the genis “Homo”. Homo habilis were the first group of primates that were able to utilize tools. By about 1.8 million years ago, Homo erectus and Homo ergaster made their debut. Homo ergaster was found primarily in Africa, while Homo erectus was located in Eurasia. Studies of these two species suggest that Homo ergaster had a smaller cranial capacity while its cousin Homo erectus a larger one. Studies of Homo erectus’ skeletal structure indicate that Homo erectus was robust, which suggests that they were stronger than contemporary man. In addition to these physical changes, sites were the bones of Homo erectus have been discovered show evidence that these early men lived in small communities, living in huts as temporary shelters, wore clothes and created stone tools. In a nutshell, they began to display early signs of civilization, a trait that had not been seen before in any other primate group. These “ape men” literally did live during the Treta Yuga. Are the Vanara of myth our ancestors?