The Centre is planning to conduct a research to find out whether Ram Setu, a limestone bridge between south India and northern coast of Sri Lanka is man-made or natural. Indian archaeological researchers and historians will carry out this underwater discovery in search of evidence.
This bridge is also known as Adam’s Bridge. According to mythology, Lord Rama’s army built this bridge to cross the ocean to rescue his wife, Sita from Ravana, the king of Lanka.
The Indian Council of Historical Research (ICHR), a body under the HRD Ministry will carry out the “Ram Setu Pilot Project” in October. But before the research, they will conduct a two-week training of 15-20 researchers and faculty of archaeology. ICHR Chairman Y Sudershan Rao confirmed this.
Member secretary of ICHR, Anand Shankar Singh said former director of Archaeological Survey of India, Alok Tripathy who is a professor of archaeology at the Assam Central University, Silchar is the coordinator of the project and will conduct the training.
This ancient bridge runs from Pamban Island near Rameshwaram in south India to Mannar Island off the northern coast of Sri Lanka. The researchers will collect material from the area to study the origin of the Setu.
Mr. Rao said, “There have been remote sensing studies and other reports on Ram Setu which are contradictory. We are now looking at material evidence.”
There are many contradictory theories about the origin of the bridge. NASA satellite images in 2002 said it is a man-made structure, though NASA itself distanced from this controversy said the images revealed nothing more than a 30-km long chain of sandbanks.
A team led by Professor SM Ramasamy, Censor of Remote Sensing (CRS), Bharathidasan University, Tiruchi said in 2003 that the carbon dating of the beaches matches the dates of Ramayana. An affidavit from the government in 2007 said there was no proof that the bridge was built by Lord Rama.
Rao stated, “ICHR would like to address this vital issue relating to our ancient past which may help us to judge the historicity and chronology of our great civilisations as reflected in our epics and other literature.”
Comparing this to Helen of Troy, he said, “We have seen that the Greek mythology Helen of Troy is in fact proven to be true. So we will speak about ‘Ram Setu’ after the collection of evidence.”