SCIENCE IN ANCIENT INDIA Reality versus Myth-2

Was the Ram Setu really built by Lord Rama?


According to the Ramayana, Lord Rama had built a bridge to reach the
island kingdom of Lanka with the help of his vanara-sena or the army of
monkeys. Citing a satellite image of the region between Tamil Nadu and
Sri Lanka (Fig-1), the fringe groups are claiming that the mythological
Ram setu really exists and assert that it is an ancient engineering marvel.
Regarding the so-called ‘Ram Setu’ it may be stated that the Archaeological
Survey of India has concluded and even reported to the Supreme
Court of India that there is no scientific evidence that the Ram Setu ever
existed. The fringe groups have misinterpreted the images taken by the
NASA. Refuting their claims the NASA spokesman Michael Braukus said:
“The age, substratum, geological structure or anthropological status of
the ocean bed in Palk strait cannot be determined by the astronauts’
photographs. So there is no basis for these claims.” Another NASA officer
Mark Hess said, “Remote sensing images or photographs from orbit
cannot provide direct information about the origin or age of a chain of
islands, and certainly cannot determine whether humans were involved
in producing any of the patterns seen.” He added, “The mysterious
bridge was nothingmore than a 30 km long, naturally-occurring chain of
sandbanks called Adam’s bridge. NASA had been taking pictures of these
shoals for years. Its images had never resulted in any scientific discovery
in the area.” [Source: Photos no proof of Ram Setu; The Hindustan Times,
14 September – 2007]
The fact is that such naturally occurring bridges between two landmasses
occur at many places in the world (see Fig-2), and are called
Tombolo. These form because the ocean currents are impeded by the
existence of an island on the way, causing movement of suspended
matter like silt and sand from one place to another and deposition at
specific places. As waves near an island, they are slowed by the shallow


Fig-1:A satellite picture showing the submerged tombolo between the
Southern tip of India and Sri Lanka

water surrounding it. These waves then bend around the island to the
opposite side as they approach. The wave pattern created by this water
movement causes a convergence of longshore drift on the opposite side
of the island, resulting in deposition of sediments. The beach sediments
that are moving by lateral transport on the lee side of the island will
accumulate there. Eventually, when enough sediment has built up, the
beach shoreline connects with an island and forms a tombolo.
Interestingly, a few videos are being circulated on YouTube
which claim that the monkey-army built the bridge with the help of stones
that float. The videos apparently show a stone floating in water. It is
known that all stones have specific gravity greater than that of water, and
so stones cannot float. However, there are some rocks formed out of
solidification of volcanic material, where air pockets are trapped. Hence


Figure-2: Examples of tombolos in different parts of the world. Would
the proponents of “Ram-setu” theory have us believe that these were also
constructed by monkey-armies of those lands?


these rocks, called geodes, are hollow—giving them a lower specific
gravity. But even geodes have specific gravity exceeding that of water,
and cannot float—though the possibility exists that in extremely rare
circumstances such amount of air may be trapped that may make them
float. But abundance of such rocks in sufficient numbers to forma 40 km
long bridge is impossible.
Moreover, can one really build bridges with floating rocks? Won’t the
flowing water move them away and scatter them around as soon as these
are placed to float in the ocean? The fringe groups are hoodwinking the
people with such videos, shot using artificial material constituting the
“rock” (possibly fiber-glass) and/or “water” (probably some transparent
liquid with larger density).


*This article was published in the book “Science in Ancient India—Reality versus Myth” published by Breakthrough Science Society.

**Articles will be published one by one in the course of time.


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