Adam’s Bridge (Rama’s Bridge)
A chain of shoals, between the islands of Mannar, near northwestern Sri Lanka, and Rāmeswaram, off the southeastern coast of India. The bridge is 30 miles (48 km) long and separates 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); thus, they seriously hinder navigation. Dredging operations, now abandoned, were begun as early as 1838 but never succeeded in maintaining a channel for any vessels except those of light draft. 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 Rāmāyaṇa, to facilitate the passage of his army from India to Ceylon (Sri Lanka) for the rescue of his abducted wife, Sītā. According to Muslim legend, Adam crossed there to Adam’s Peak, Ceylon, atop which he stood repentant on one foot for 1,000 years.