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The land bridge (shallow coral formation), popularly known as ‘Adam’s Bridge’ and reputed to be the remains of the bridge built by Lord Rama, is only 3,500 years old and not 1.7 million years old, according to the findings of the Centre for Remote Sensing (CRS) of Bharathidasan University, Tiruchi. A CRS team led by Dr S. M Ramasamy engaged in unraveling the geological processes that took place along the Tamil Nadu coast during the last 40,000 years has come up with starting facts.

A NASA satellite picture had brought the existence of a stretch of land bridge into sharper focus. According to mythology, the ‘bridge’ was built by Ramah 1.7 million years ago. But NASA didn’t give any credence to this claim. Some reports had mentioned that it was only a coral reef dating back to 1.7 million years. Historians, too, don’t subscribe to the claim linking this stretch with Ramayana. Besides the NASA pictures, those snapped by Indian Remote Sensing satellites also showed the Adam’s bridge, between Dhanushkodi in the west and Talaimannar in the east.

Detection of bundles of ancient beaches – between Thiruthuraipoondi and Kodiyakarai-in satellite pictures and carbon dating of such beaches showed that Thiruthurajpoondi beach dates back to 6,000 years and Kodiyakarai to 1,100 years.

This indicated that the sea was near Thiruthuraipoondi 6,000 years ago and reached Kodiyakarai around 1,100 years ago. The IRS satellite picture also showed that the beach at Thiruth uraipoon continued up to Ramanatha puram and further down to Thoothukudi, three km from Manamelkudi, 2.5 km west of Thondi and 3 km from Devipattinam.

Carbon dating of ancient beaches found west of Uchichipuli in Ramanath puram district put their age at 3,500 years. These were clear examples that the sea had receded from Thiruthurai poondi and Kodiyakarai as well as from Ramanathapuram to the west of Unhchipuli, around 3,500 years ago. The sea may have receded to Pamban only during this period.

Because of such divergent littoral currents, there remained a current shadow zone between Dhanushkodi and Talaimannar and hence the sand brought by the currents had been dumped in a linear pattern in the current shadow zone. Corals might have accumulated over these linear sand bodies, later on Ramasamy said.

So the land bridge is only the sand, which had begun accumulating in the current shadow zone 3,500 years back, and continues to the present day. Therefore, the age of the Adam’s bridge could only be 3,500 years old, he asserted.

But, as the carbon dating of the beaches roughly matches with the dates of Ramayana, its linkage with Ramayana needs to the explored, Ramasamy said. One thing that must be appreciated is the knowledge of our ancestors on the land-ocean configuration, he added.

The New Indian Express, Madurai.