- Mar 24, 2009
New Delhi: The government has given its nod to an underwater research project to determine the origins of the Ram Setu, a 48-km-long chain of shoals between India and Sri Lanka.
Ram Setu, also known as Rama's Bridge or Adam’s Bridge or Nala Setu, is a chain of limestone shoals, between Pamban Island, also known as Rameswaram Island, off the south-eastern coast of Tamil Nadu, India, and Mannar Island, off the north-western coast of Sri Lanka.
The bridge holds religious significance because of the Ramayana - one of the two major Hindu epics of ancient India.
The Central Advisory Board on Archaeology, a body under the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), approved the proposal for the underwater exploration project last month.
Study to focus on process behind Ram Setu formation
The study, which will be conducted by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and National Institute of Oceanography (NIO) Goa, will help determine the age of the Ramayana period and focus on the process behind the formation of Ram Setu. It will also help find out whether there are any submerged habitations around Ram Setu.
“The historicity and the date of ‘Ramayana’ remain a debatable subject among historians, archaeologists and scientists. It is proposed to carry out scientific and underwater archaeological studies to understand the nature and formation of the Ram Setu and its surrounding area,” reads the proposal.
As per reports, the research is likely to begin this year itself in view of the upcoming Assembly elections in Tamil Nadu.
NIO director Sunil Kumar Singh said that the proposed study will be based on archaeological antiquities, radiometric and thermoluminescence (TL) dating for geological time scale and other supporting environmental data, TOI reported.
Sindhu Sadhna to be used for underwater study
The research vessels of NIO, Sindhu Sadhana or Sindhu Sankalp, will be deployed in this project to collect samples of the sediment from 35 to 40 metres below the water level.
Launched in 2014, Sindhu Sadhna is India's first-ever indigenously built research vessel equipped with a number of laboratories for data collection, echo sounders, acoustic doppler, profiler, autonomous weather station and air quality monitors.
The ship carries a host of other latest world-class equipments in the field of ocean technology and research and can stay underwater for nearly 45 days.