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Adam’s Bridge

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The epic legendary tale of Ramayana reveals a story regarding a bridge connecting India with Sri Lanka. It does exist although encased with many misconceptions about its origins but a string of little sandy dancing lands do appear from the tip of Mannar Island to Rameswaram Island in India is known as Rama’s Bridge or ‘Adam’s Bridge’.

The bridge took its name from an Islamic tradition that the Garden of Eden was located in Sri Lanka. Sri Pada, a Sri Lankan mountain with a footprint-shaped mark at its peak, is often called Adam’s Peak, and is identified with the place where the first man fell to Earth after his expulsion from Eden. (In several Muslim hadiths, Adam is described as standing 60 cubits tall—over 90 feet!—which explains his giant footprint.) Adam’s Bridge, then, was the path he took as he journeyed to mainland Asia.

Scientists aren’t sure what formed this unusual ribbon of shoals. Is it a ridge formed by a thinning of the earth’s crust in the Palk Strait? A “tombolo” of sand deposited by ocean currents? Remnants of an ancient coral shoreline from before Sri Lanka separated from India? One ancient Sanskrit epic poem provides a more colorful answer. In the sixth book of the Ramayana, the god Rama and his monkey companions engineer a floating bridge to the kingdom of Lanka, so Rama can rescue his beloved Sita from the demon-king Ravana. As a result, Indians call Adam’s Bridge “Rama Sethu”—Rama’s Bridge. The Indian end of Rama Sethu, near the town of Rameswaram, is one of the holiest places in Hinduism and a popular pilgrimage site.