Talk about Indian mythology or Indian history and you will see the buzz around the famous Ram Setu bridge. The bridge is the shoal chain between India and Sri Lanka, and there has been a debate over whether the Ram Setu or Adam’s bridge is man-made or natural. 
Before jumping to the question, let’s first get acquainted with the Ram Setu bridge a little more.
 
The Ram Setu Or The Adam’s Bridge is actually a chain of limestone shoals between Rameshwaram, India, and Mannar Island, Sri Lanka. The length of the limestone bridge is 48 km.
 
In a study titled ‘Project Rameswaram”, the Geological Survey of India stated that between 7,000 and 18,000 years ago, the islands of Rameswaram, India, and Talaimannar, Sri Lanka were exposed. If we include the dating or corals, it can be said that the Adam’s Bridge or the Ram Setu was formed around 500-600 years ago.


The famous Ram Setu bridge is called Adam’s Bridge for a specific reason, per a few early Islamic sources. According to the sources, there is a mountain in Sri Lanka known as Adam’s Peak. Supposedly, this is the region where biblical Adam first appeared on the planet. After the expulsion from the Garden of Eden, Adam crossed from Sri Lanka to India through this bridge. This led to the name, “Adam’s Bridge”.

 
Valmiki’s Ramayana, a Hindu epic, first mentioned the famous Ram Setu bridge. It is mythologically believed to be constructed by Lord Rama’s Vanara Sena (an army of monkeys). Nala, a vanara from the sena, is considered the chief engineer behind the bridge who instructed other members of the sena to build the bridge. The bridge was constructed to help Lord Ram reach Lanka in order to rescue his wife Sita from Raavana.
According to the mythological legend, floating stones were used to build the bridge. The name of Lord Rama was engraved on all the stones while making the bridge, and this made the bridge unsinkable. Moreover, Lord Rama prayed to the ocean surrounding the bridge for a path to Lanka.
 
 
Despite the strong belief of most of the Indian population on the mythological significance of the bridge, there is no scientific proof stating that the bridge is man-made. Up to the 15th century, the bridge was reportedly passable on foot. As per the temple records, the bridge was entirely above sea level till 1480. However, natural calamities entirely immersed the bridge in the shallow sea. 
Thus, it can be said that the Ram Setu or the Adam’s Bridge is a bridge made of natural limestone shoals.
The GIS and remote sensing analyst at World Resources Institute, Raj Bhagat Palanichamy, tweeted regarding the formation of the Ram Setu bridge and disregarding the notion that it is man-made.
#Thread:

Since many had asked this, Writing a short thread on the formation between India and Sri Lanka

Usually many get deceived by “static” satellite images and believe that the Tombolo section as permanent relics of a man made bridge. pic.twitter.com/TEzvgwqnTc

#Thread:

Since many had asked this, Writing a short thread on the formation between India and Sri Lanka

Usually many get deceived by “static” satellite images and believe that the Tombolo section as permanent relics of a man made bridge. pic.twitter.com/TEzvgwqnTc

Deeper ocean currents don’t enter the section between Sri Lanka and India because of the Cont Shelf. The sea surface in this section is dominated by longshore currents in two directions – one from Gulf of Mannar and other from Palk strait and they are in opposite directions pic.twitter.com/TyyDmklhSL

Longshore currents bring a lot of sediments. And at the meeting point of the currents they settle and form these islands. Notice in the satellite images below how these islands change a lot owing to current direction, tides, etc. This is just a short term timelapse (<4 years) pic.twitter.com/pkMJuVHcm5

The sediment deposition is a gradual process and has been happening over long time. In the last 30 years, we can notice the changes in the Pamban Island near Dhanushkodi where the islands in deeper section had been volatile whereas sand closer to Pamban have been consolidating pic.twitter.com/ENrBSm9Del

In the past sediment accretion has led to new beach formations and has led to depression formations which are now dominated by salt pans across the east coast. pic.twitter.com/Dz4N4QECcg
Interestingly, some evidence also states that the rocks on the bridge are 7,000 years old, while the sand is only 4,000 years old. This proves to be a shred of slight evidence to support that the bridge may be man-made.

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