Destroyed by time and fanned by myths – Adam’s Bridge
With a cursory study of large-scale maps, we will see that beautiful Sri Lanka is separated from the Hindustan peninsula by the relatively wide Polk Strait, about 100 km long. The distance for an ordinary person is quite serious, but the scrolls kept in local temples speak of a land passage between the flowering Ceylon and the mainland that existed until the 10th century.
Some surviving manuscripts indicate the legendary Adam’s Bridge as a strip of land. According to ancient chronicles, the priceless path was destroyed entirely by 1480 after a series of powerful hurricanes and earthquakes.
Satellite images clearly show the location of a 30 km long shoal between the islands of Mannar and Pamban, the width of which varies in places from 1.5 to 4 km. Normal passage exists here only for small ships between Rameswaram and Cape Ramnad.
In other places, the depth of the strait ranges from half a meter to 1.25 m. At low tide, dozens of tiny islands protrude on the water, which, according to legend, are the remains of the divine Adam’s Bridge.
According to the Ramayana epic, people under the leadership of Emperor Rama, together with the monkey army of the Vanaras, worked to create the Setubandhanam passage. The allies sought to fight the demon Ravana who had taken refuge in Sri Lanka, who risked stealing his beloved wife from Rama. In Islam, the chain of shallows is also considered a sacred path. According to Muslim parables, it was here that Adam, expelled from Paradise, walked in search of Eve after his fall from the blessed Garden of Eden.
Today, the historical passage is a terrible problem for sailors, forcing them to bypass a large island along a long 400 km arc, while losing more than a day of time. Attempts to deepen the strait run into resistance from religious citizens and environmentalists.
After constant breakdowns of dredgers and a strong storm, the last work was interrupted without a serious result. Now an alternative option is being considered for the construction of a canal in the vicinity of the village of Mandapam, during the implementation of which the remains of the Adam Bridge are practically not affected.