Ram Sethu, also known as Sethusamudram and Adam’s Bridge is a stretch of limestone shoals that runs from Pamban Island near Rameshwaram in South India to Mannar Island off the northern coast of Sri Lanka.
It formed part of a land bridge that joined Sri Lanka to the continent of Asia during the last ice age.
Hindu believers hold it as the structure that Lord Rama and his army of apes and monkeys built to reach demon king Ravana’s Lanka.
There are different geological and religious theories behind the origin of the bridge, one of which even says that Sri Lanka was a part of Indian landmass and that the calcareous rectangular blocks are testimony of Lanka breaking away from the mainland about 1,25,000 years ago. It was the site of the proposed Sethusamudram Shipping Canal Project by the Government of India for dredging the entire straits to make it navigable by large ships and create fishing and shipping harbours in the coastal areas because today, ships bound for India’s eastern coast have to circle around the entire island of Sri Lanka to reach Tuticorin, Chennai, Vizag, Paradip and other ports. It has been claimed that that the successful completion of the project would cut travelling by about 350 nautical miles and will save 10 to 30 hours’ sailing time. It will bring down shipping costs and add to India’s exchequer in the form of transit fees.
As the Hindu believers hold it as the structure that Lord Rama and his army of apes and monkeys built thus because of this religious belief, the project has been condemned and opposed by a wide spectrum of the Indian people.
Environmentalists claims that completion of this project would destroy and destabilize the flora and fauna of the in the nearby locations. They have also claimed that most modern ships carry much higher loads but only ships with tonnage up to 30,000 tonnes would be able to use the canal.