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Historical Records

Throughout history there have been repeated references to this bridge in various places and forms. These references point to the continuous historical references which provide credible inputs for the existence of the bridge and its usage through the ages.

The Family Tree of Rama

The lineage of Rama, both before and after him has been extensively documented, and not only in the Ramayana. Other texts, such as the Mahabaratha, the Bhagavatha and many more also refer to the lineage of Rama. Given the extensive corroboration between and within these texts, the validity of this tree can be clearly verified by cross-referencing these texts.


Inscriptions

In Hampi


Virupaksha temple


Ugranarasimha


Hampi

Krishna Raya

Inscription dated Saka 1430 (1508 C.E)

Epigrapha Indica Volume 1 1892 Pg. 363 – 366
Verse - 8

Like another sun,
who always dwelt on earth,
he, who was continually rising,
who was surrounded by poets and wise men,
who never fled from war
and who was highly famed
from the eastern to the western ocean
and from Rama Setu to the golden mountain - Meru,
killed the enemies, as the sun conquers,
the Mandehas, and shone, surpassing
the trees of heaven by his gifts.


Verse – 17

The streams of water - poured out,
at copious great gifts of various kinds,
which he performed at Gokarna, at Rama Setu,
and at all other sacred places in the world,
frustrated the eagerness of Indra,
the bearer of the thunderbolt,
who was ardently rising to
clip the wings of the mountains,
which were immersed in the ocean,
that was being dried up
by the dust of the hoofs
of the troops of his prancing horses.


Verse – 29

Seated on a jeweled throne at Vijayanagara,
King Krishnaraya, whose liberality was worthy
to be praised by the learned,
having surpassed Nriga and other Kings
in wisdom, and having bestowed abundant riches
on all suppliants on earth,
was resplendent with fame
from the eastern mountain of the west
and from the mountain of gold - Meru, to Rama Setu.

Coins

Paraantaka Chola Plates

Samskrit text in grantha script

ramie sriramatirthe kavivara nikaraih baddhasetu prabandhe kanyaatirthe jitaanaamadaritamapi dis'e mandane dakshinasyaah srirange caahis'alyaas'ayitamurabhidi s'yaamapoogaabhiraame hemnaaviryaancitena kshitipatikarot yastulaabhaarakarma

"This ruler performed tulaabhaara with gold acquired by his valour, at the beautiful Sriraamatirtha, where the ablest of vanara flocks built the bridge; at the Kanyaatirtha which subdued the southern quarters, and at Srirangam beautiful by the areca groves, where Sri Vishnu reclines on his serpent couch."


Jaffna Arya Chakravarti 1284 - 1410 CE

Obverse: Standing king with Lamp, Reverse: Seated king, Tamil legend SETU
Setu Coin

Setu Coin



Jaffna Arya Chakravarti 1462 - 1597 CE

Obverse: Standing king with crown, Reverse: Bull, SETU
Setu Coin

Setu Coin

Bull
Setu Coin
Bull
Setu Coin
Bull
Setu Coin
Bull
Setu Coin


Coin issued by Tamil rulers of Nallur Jaffna 13th - 17th century C.E.

Obverse shows head of a king - Reverse shows a Nandi with a peacock - Word Setu appears below
Setu Coin

Setu Coin



Setupati coinage, 16th and 17th century

Obverse: Sri Ganapati, seated - Reverse, in Tamil, 'Se-Tu-Pa-Ti'
Setu Coin

Setu Coin



Yaalpana Iraachchiyam 1992 Prof. S. Pathamanathan in his article on 'Coins'
Setu Coin



Travelogues

Alberuni describing Geography of India

Al – Biruni
1030 CE

Next a great bay in which Singaldib lies,
i.e. the island Sarandib (Ceylon).

On the coast is Ummalnara, then Ramsher (Rameshar?)

opposite Sarandib; the distance of the sea between them is 12 farsakh. 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 mountians of the vanara

Kitabu'l Hind - pages 92 to 102


Sethu Bandh


Marco Polo mentions Malabar Wealth & Rama's bridge

Marco Polo 1271 - 1295, Venice

    
H. G. Bohn, Translation of Marsden revised Page 380, foot note 3


The travels of Marco Polo



The Travels of Ludovico di Varthema in Egypt, Syria, Arabia Deserta and Arabia Felix, in Persia, India
Ludovico de Varthema, 1470 – 1517
George Percy Badger, John Winter Jones, 1863, Published for the Hakluyt Society, Translated from the original Italian edition. Page. 185
The Travels of Ludovico di Varthema



Asiatic Society, 1799




Asiatick Researches : Or, Transactions of the Society Instituted in Bengal



refers to the bridge called Setband, broken in 3 places

"The people call it a bridge; or otherwise it appears to have wood growing on it, and to be inhabited."


William Fordyce Mavor 1807, University History Ancient & Modern Oxford University Page.216


Charles O'Conor 1819 Earl of Bertram Ashburnham, British Museum, J. Seeley Page 107


Arnold Hermann 1833, Historical researches into the politics, intercourse, and trade of the principal nations of antiquity. Translated from the German Oxford University Page 89


William Yates 1846, A Dictionary of Sanscrit and English, designed for the use of private students and of Indian colleges and schools, Baptist Mission Press, Page 821


Thomas Horsfield 1851, A catalogue of the mammalian in the Museum of the Hon. East India Company, East India Company Museum


Charlotte Speir Manning George Scharf 1856, Life in Ancient India Oxford University Page 117


Clements Robert Markham 1862, Travels in Peru and India, Murray - Page 423



Adam's Bridge also called Rama's Bridge, chain of shoals, between the islands of Mannar, near northwestern Sri Lanka, and Rameswaram, off the southeastern coast of India. The bridge is 30 miles - 48 km, long and seperates the Gulf of Mannar - southwest, from the Palk Strait - northeast. Some of the sandbanks are dry, and nowhere are the shoals deeper than 4 feet - 1 m.

Geologic evidence suggests that Adam's Bridge represents a former land connection between India and Sri Lanka. Traditionally, it is said to be the remnant of a huge causeway constructed by Rama, the hero of the Hindu epic Ramayana to facilitate the passage of his army from India to Ceylon - Sri Lanka, for the rescue of his abducted wife, Sita. According to Muslim legend, Adam crossed there to Adam's peak, Ceylon, atop which he stood repentant on 1 foot for 1,000 years.

C. W. Nicholas raises a vital question,
did the Pamban passage exist before 1549 ? Was it an artificial work ?
A straight rocky barrier, presenting a wall-like
appearence on the northern side.

Sandstone formations consisting of large masses of rock with a flat upper surface, now stretches for about 6,000 feet between the Indian mainland and Pamban island.

Through a 200 feet gap in the great dam runs the Pamban passage. The rocky barrier is a natural and partly artificial causeway over low, sandstone based isthmus



Nala Setu Bridge - a summary view
Travelogue references
Al – Biruni1030 CE
Marco Polo1271 CE
Ludovico de Varthema1470 CE
Asiatic Society1799 CE
William Fordyce Mavor1807 CE
Charles O'Conor1819 CE
A J Valpay1825 CE
Arnold Hermann1833 CE
William Yates1846 CE
Thomas Horsfield1851 CE
George Scharf1856 CE
Clements Robert Markham1862 CE


The above Historical Records goes to show that the bridge has been regularly mentioned by various travellers to this region over the past 1000 years.

This goes to prove that there is a consistent record of the bridge and more importantly, the history of the origins of the bridge is also consistent with the notes of travellers to this area.

Maps


French map of South India showing ports and their controllers Guillaume de Lisle, 1723, Carte des Cotes de Malabar et de Coromandel - source: David Rumsey collection




Malabar Bowen Map - Netherlands 1747 - Ramancoil




Map produced by James Rennel 1st Surveyor General East India Company Father of Indian geography pioneer in map making 1st January 1788




Ceylon - Ceilon Leupe catalogue 17th century, Netherlands.

Zoomed image to ther right
Kaart van de zuidelijke punt van Voor-Indiλ met Ceilon en de Adamsbrug



Copper plater - Sri Lanka Archeological Department

Zoomed image to ther right


C. D. Maclean Report

C. D. Maclean Report

Government Gazette

The then Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, Dr. M. Karunanidhi, in his foreword to the Ramanathapuram District Gazette of 1972, has stated that the information given in the Gazette is authenitic, reliable and has been compiled as an encyclopaedic reference material for reasearchers.

The Gazette goes on to clearly speak of the 'Adam's Bridge' as 'Sethu Palam' and 'Rama Sethu' and calls it as 'tiruvanai' meaning Sacred Dam in Tamil. It also states that this is called the 'Ramar Palam' because it was built by the 'Kuranguppadai' or 'Vanara Sena' and it was in use till 1480 A.D., when it was washed away in a storm

These statements in the Gazette clearly bring forth that the Govt. and the then Chief Minister, accept and acknowledge the tradition that this bridge as per the local legends was indeed built by the 'Vanara Sena'.