The Indian government has given permission for an underwater research project to determine the origins of the Ram Setu.
Ram Setu, also known as Rama’s Bridge or Nala Setu, is a 48 km long chain of limestone shoals between Rameswaram Island, off the south-eastern coast of Tamil Nadu and Mannar Island, off the north-western coast of Sri Lanka.
Ram Setu holds prominence in the sense that the Setu was supposed to have been built by the army of monkey warriors led by Lord Ram.
Lord Ram had crossed the Ram Setu to reach Lanka to rescue his wife Sita, who was held captive by Ravana.
The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) in collaboration with the National Institute of Oceanography (NIO) Goa will conduct the study.
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.
The research that is likely to start this year will help determine the age of the Ramayana period and focus on the process behind the formation of Ram Setu.
It will also try to determine the existence of any 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.
“The proposed study will be based on archaeological antiquities, radiometric and thermoluminescence (TL) dating for geological time scale and other supporting environmental data,” a report quoted NIO director Sunil Kumar Singh as saying.
The agencies engaged in the study will collect samples of the sediment from 35 to 40 metres below the water level of the Ram Setu.