Adam’s Bridge, also known popularly as Rama Setu is made of lime stone shoals and has been constructed between Pamban Island and Mannar Island. This bridge is of 18 km long and separates Gulf of Mannar from Palk Strait. This bridge is of historical importance as it is said that it was built by Lord Rama to save Sita with the help of monkey kings from King Ravana in Lanka. The sea separating India and Sri Lanka is called as Sethusamudram and this bridge has been mentioned in India’s ancient epic, Ramayana. Besides being of historical importance, this bridge is also the important site for Sethusamudram Shipping Canal Project, whose main objective was to dredge the whole stretch in order to make it navigable and also for the creation of fishing and shipping harbors in coastal areas. It has been claimed that the successful completion of the project would shorten the traveling distance about 350 nautical miles and also reduce sailing time. But owing to the religious belief of the Hindu community, the project has been opposed by large sections of people in India. Also from the point of view of Environmentalists it was claimed that the project completion of Sethusamudram would lead to destabilization of natural habitat and would destroy flora and fauna in the locality. It was hence, decided by Indian government to preserve this ancient possession as world heritage symbol which would result in saving and protecting this natural bridge from complete demolition. It was also decided by the Indian government and Marine Biosphere association to consider Ram Setu as ancient monument which should be preserved for our future generations along with other pilgrimage sites and temples surround the region. For example, Shivalinga at Rameswaram was worshipped by Lord Rama itself before constructing this bridge to save his wife, Sita from demon king, Ravana of Lanka.
According to the texts of Ramayana, this bridge, Rama Setu was built in 5 days under the leadership of Nala, son of Viswakarma, (legendary builder of Devas) with the help of Vanaras (ape men) who uprooted trees, stones from nearby locations. It was also believed that the stones were written on the surface with Lord Rama’s inscription which made afloat on the sea. This was another splendid marvel of this bridge, Rama Setu.
Hence, owing to divine and religious origin, the Sethusamudram project was opposed by all sections of people throughout India as Lord Rama was worshipped both in North and South India. Owing to this reason, Rama Setu can be considered as symbol of National unity which should henceforth be preserved and protected by us.
Though this bridge, Rama Setu has become political controversy, it still attracts tourists from various parts of the world. To view this tourist destination, visitors engage jeep to reach Dhanushkodi and from here, they rent boats or ferries to reach this exotic destination. It is impossible to travel through road as Dhanushkodi has lost road connection in the year 1964 owing to a cyclonic storm that destroyed the entire coastal town of its beauty and tourist importance. After the picture sent from NASA, this bridge has gained tourist importance and has made every tourist eager to see thus making it as ‘must see destination’. It is said that Ram Setu bridge had been used by people in the locality till 15th century. But due to increase in level of sea in due course of time, this bridge became partly submerged thus making it difficult for the people to cross it. In the recent years, this spot has been receiving more visitors and pilgrims considerably which has led to spark of tourism growth in Rama Setu bridge and its surrounding localities.
Even though this bridge has received more controversies Hindu pilgrims around the world are eager to visit this ‘must see destination’ due to traditional and religious bond and also to see the engineering skill of ancient civilization which has build the same.