Sacred Bridge

The Lord of the sea pointed a long, lucent finger at a monkey who stood behind Rama. He said, “That vanara is Nala. He is Viswakarman’s son, and he carries his father’s genius in his blood. Let Nala build a bridge across my waves. I swear it shall not sink and it will bear the weight of the army of vanaras when it marches over me. I bless you, Rama of Ayodhya.”

The above passage is from The Ramayana in a translation by Ramesh Menon. Rama is trying to figure out how to get his army across the sea from India to Sri Lanka, where the demon, Ravana, has his wife, Sita, prisoner. I bring this up because there is currently a controversy brewing about digging a shipping canal between India and Sri Lanka. Currently the ocean floor between Indian and Sri Lanka is very shallow which doesn’t allow for cargo ships. But I find it quite amazing that there is this shallow land bridge between the sub-continent and the island. This ancient epic of India describes an event that could of actually happened. However, Indians are currently taking sides, those who are in favor of digging the trench and those who state that this is a sacred site and should not be meddled with. This issue is actually calling into question the existence of Rama and the entire Ramayana, which sounds utterly silly to be debating. This BBC article gives a nice synopsis of this interesting event. Apparently NASA has established that there was once a man-made bridge built between India and Sri Lanka, this article gives details.

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