June 30, 2017: Standing on the shores Tamil Nadu, Ram, an avatar of the god Vishnu, calls upon an army of warrior monkeys to help him bridge the two coastlines by building a pathway.
A team of Indian archaeologists is planning to board on an underwater expedition to explore the shallow strait separating India from Sri Lanka. There, a submerged 50-kilometer chain of limestone shoals Ram Bridge has become a pivotal fixture in the continuing debates between secular and religious India. The chief interrogation lies is Ram Bridge natural or man-made?
In 2005, the Sethusamudram Shipping Canal Project proposed cutting a path through Ram’s Bridge to open a shipping lane deep enough for cargo ships to pass through.
The plan did not get much support, particularly among Hindu groups. Protestors petitioned the government to reject the project and declare Ram Bridge a national monument. Subramanian Swamy, a parliament member, prompted the government to protect the “historic and sacred place.”
But the Archaeological Survey of India overseeing India’s heritage sites argued in an affidavit that Ram’s Bridge is little more than a ridge of sandbanks produced by sedimentation.
In 2013, the canal project was discarded and the reason being, the projected destruction of the local ecosystem, and a forecast of an increased tsunami risk. With dredging off the table, the debate over Ram Bridge was placed on hold—until now.
– by Naina Mishra of Newsgram, Twitter: @Nainamishr94