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Ram Setu, Biruni, and other thoughts

Rama's Bridge. A subset of Landsat 5 TM true color composite of Rama's bridge or Ram Setu (referred by British cartographers as Adam's Bridge). Path 142 Row 54; Bands 742 (RGB); Resolution 30 meter. Original image acquired on 6 February, 1988 at 4:42:00 GMT.


In Ram Setu case, appearing for the government, senior advocate Fali S Nariman said: “If you want to go strictly by the religious scriptures, the Padma Purana states Lord Rama broke the bridge after rescuing Sita. And according to the Hindu faith, something that is broken cannot be worshipped.”

The distance from Panjayavar to Ramsher (Rameshar, Rameshwaram?) is 40 farsakh, that between Ramsher and Setubandha 2 farsakh. Setubandha means bridge of the ocean. It is the dike of Rama, the son of Dasaratha, which he built from the continent to the castle Lanka. At present it consists of isolated mountains between which the ocean flows. Sixteen farsakh from Setubandha towards the east is Kihkind the mountain of the monkey. Every day the king of monkeys comes out of the thicket together with his hosts, and settles down in particular seats prepared for them. The inhabitants of that region prepare for them cooked rice, and bring it to them on leaves. After having eaten it they return into the thicket, but in case they are neglected, this would be the ruin of the country, as they are not only numerous but also savage and aggressive. According to the popular belief, they are a race of men changed into monkeys on account of the help which they had afforded Rama when making war against the demons; he is believed to have bequeathed those villages to them as a legacy. When a man happens to fall in with them, and he recites to them the poetry of Rama and pronounces the incarnations of Rama, they will quietly listen to him; they will even lead on the right path him who has gone astray and give him meat and drink. At all events, thus the matter stands according to popular belief.
- India by Al-Biruni, page 100-101
Abridged Edition of Dr. Edward C. Sachau's English Translation
Edited with Introduction and Notes by Qeyamuddin Ahmad,
Second Edition
Third Reprint 1995

farsakh: a persian unit for measuring distance that equals three and a half to four miles

Abu Raihan Muhammad ibn Ahmad, a Muslim of Iranian origin, commonly known as Al-Beruni, born A.D. 973 at the outskirts of Khawarizm (modern day Khiva in Uzbekistan), wrote Kitabu'l Hind in around 1030 during the reign of Sultan Mahmud. He was the first person to document Hindu beliefs regarding Setubandha, now known as Ram Setu.


A temple in middle of no where with a plastic water tub just outside its door. Inside the tub a pockmarked floating stone of Lord Rama, a holy stone brought all the way from Ram Setu, a remnant of the holy bridge, a stone known as Pumice, a volcanic stone formed when molten lava cools down rapidly trapping too many air bubbles inside.

Drop this stone in water and, unlike 1 and 5 rupee coins that keep it company in the tub, the stone keeps breaking the surface of water.
Air seeks air.


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  1. Well, the only way to solve the issue of Sethu Bandhana is to collect the floating stone, check its composition ( biogenic or volcanogenic), in any case, date it.
    I'm a geologist worjing on the evolution of Mannar gulf. Quite interesting features have come up in my studies. And so i too got trapped with enthuse on this Sethubandhana issue. Never from the point of EPICS ( because the dead wont come back and dead cant feed feed empty stomachs), but from the point of Holocene Geology.
    Can this epic give any idea about this coast, during the said time?
    It would be wonderful if we could trace out the geography of Mannar gulf from EPICs.....


  2. And recently i get a pumice from Rameswaram!!!!! But i doubt its naturality!!!!

    Soon i'm organizing a field to track out the chances of pumice occurance in and around the island.

    Interestingly,i came to know that pumice exist in mannar water.
    Well, i'll post the truth,once i secure ( recover) them personally ( and very soon)!!!


  3. We usually forget what happened yesterday. But assumes out and records the events which are quite old.
    Geologists in India ascribed 3.2Ga for the Peninsular rocks, but hardly said anything on the age of Corals in Rameswaram!! And had we ever rethought about the Darwinian concepts ( which were based on field oriented studies) on corals?
    We need to think about why corals exist between the deltas of Vaigai and Tamaraparani rivers and nowhere in southeastern India?

  4. Well, recently i have organized a field work along Rameswaram in search of flaoting stones. Lucklyi got a few. Let me analyse it using FESEM and the result will be shared too.

  5. Biju,
    Thanks for the interesting comments! And you have a really wonderful site!


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