The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has cleared a research proposal involving the Ram Setu. According to a Times of India report, the project involves an underwater exploration that will determine the age of the setu (bridge) and how it was formed. The research will begin this year itself.
The project was approved by the Central Advisory Board on Archaeology, a body under the ASI. The project was mooted by the CSIR-National Institute of Oceanography, Goa.
The Ram Setu is a chain of shoals between Pamban Island (also known as Rameswaram Island) in Tamil Nadu of India and Mannar Island in Sri Lanka. According to past geological evidence, the structure is a former land connection between India and Sri Lanka.
According to Professor Sunil Kumar Singh, director, NIO, the study will be based on archaeological antiquities, radiometric and thermoluminescence dating to geological timescale and other supporting environmental data, the TOI report said.
The radiometric technique will be used to determine the age of the 48-km-long bridge. The project assumes both religious and political significance. According to Ramayana, a 'vanar sena' had originally built the bridge over the ocean to help lord Ram cross over to Sri Lanka to rescue his wife Sita.
The NIO will use its research vessels, Sindhu Sadhana or Sindhu Sankalp to collect samples of sediment core 35-40 below the water level.