Adam’s Bridge is a chain of limestone shoals that stretch between Rameswaram, off the Southeastern coast of Tamil Nadu in India and Mannar Island, off the Northwestern coast of Sri Lanka. It is evidence that suggests that there was once a connection to India by land. The British named the sandbanks Adam’s Bridge after the theistic legend, which asserts that Adam, the first man on earth, used this as a bridge to reach Adam’s Peak in Sri Lanka where he stood repentant on one foot for 1,000 years.
The Ramayana rescue trail
The Indian epic Ramayana on the other hand speaks of a bridge over the ocean connecting India with
Sri Lanka. The epic attributes the credit of building the bridge to the ape army that was assisting Rama in his war against Ravana to save Sita. Sri Lankans believe that the bridge was a construction of Ravana employing floating rocks, the rocks made of weightless corals, and the bridge was a collapsible structure made to cross the sea to reach India, when required.
Adam’s Bridge is 30km long and separates the Gulf of Mannar from the Palk Strait. The surrounding sea is believed to be very shallow ranging from three feet to 30 feet deep depending on the place with sandbanks changing shape and shifting with the tide. The ride to the sandbanks takes at least 45 minutes. It is a long stretch of sand protruding out into the water. The sand is a rare shade of black and pale gold with intricate designs made from the waves constantly lapping at the shore. Travelling higher, the ground is covered with tall grass and colourful plants that hug the sand.
A sandbank is no larger than a small playground and could be encircled in no more than 15 minutes. There are 16 sandbanks altogether, out of which eight belong to Sri Lanka and eight to India. On a very clear day one could spot the Indian flag on the last of the Indian sandbanks of the Adam’s Bridge.
Adam's tomb – place of worship
Found on the Island of Mannar is ‘Adam’s Tomb’, a place of sanctity, supposedly to be the tombs of Adam and Eve. It is an Islamic place of worship. Beyond a small wooden platform lies two long cylindrical structures on the sand covered with green cloth. The tomb of Adam is supposedly 40 feet long and Eve’s 38 feet. By the side of the two tombs is a replica of a sail boat, which the Muslims believe transported the first woman and man to Talaimannar in 786 BC.