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ICHR to study if Ram Setu is man-made or natural

Myth or truth?A file photo of dredging carried out in the Palk Straits as part of the Sethusamudram shippng canal project.

Myth or truth?A file photo of dredging carried out in the Palk Straits as part of the Sethusamudram shippng canal project.  

Exercise to determine if underwater excavation is required

The Indian Council of Historical Research (ICHR) is set to undertake an archaeological exploration to find out whether the Ram Setu is a natural or man-made phenomenon.

It will undertake the exploration in October and November, before deciding whether a detailed underwater archaeological excavation is required to probe deeper, said ICHR chairman Y. Sudershan Rao.

Also known as Adam’s Bridge, Ram Setu is a stretch of limestone shoals running from Pamban Island near Rameswaram in Tamil Nadu to the Mannar Island near the northern coast of Sri Lanka. While there are geological theories on its natural formation, many Hindus believe it was built by the army of Lord Ram to go to Lanka to wage war with its king, Ravana.

“In October and November, we will try to figure out whether more is required on this. We will also publish our findings,” Professor Rao told journalists.

The ICHR linked the excavation to a two-week session on ocean archaeology it will hold in May or June. Professor Alok Tripathi of Assam University at Silchar is being roped in to impart training to 15-20 researchers into theoretical aspects of ocean archaeology. After the training, the researchers will be roped in to undertake the excavation of Ram Setu.

The plan for a Sethusamudram shipping canal project to cut travel time for ships — as they could not cross the shallow Ram Sethu otherwise — is hanging fire as both Hindu groups and environmentalists have opposed it.

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