The Indian Council of Historical Research (ICHR) will conduct an underwater exploration ‘Ram Sethu Pilot Project’ in search of material evidences in a bid to find out whether Ram Sethu is man-made or a natural phenomenon.
Two week training will be conducted of 15-20 researchers and faculty of archeology, on marine archeology and underwater exploration.
So far no ministry in involved with the project, though the ICHR plans to ask for grants from the Centre.
ICHR will try to understand the development of sub continental civilization from 4th to 1st millennium BC, with the help of this project.
"There have been remote sensing studies and other reports on Ram Sethu which are contradictory. We are now looking at material evidences." said ICHR chairperson Professor Y Sudershan Rao.
Ram Sethu is a chain of limestone shoals between the Pamban Island of Tamil Nadu and Sri Lanka's Mannar Island.
“If Helen of Troy is real why not Sethu,” he said.
According to study of NASA satellite images in 2002 said that Ram Sethu is a human-made structure. But, NASA distanced itself from the claims, by saying that the images reveal nothing more than a 30-km-long, naturally occurring chain of sandbanks.
Professor S M Ramasamy of Centre for Remote Sensing Bharathidasan University led a team in 2003; he said that the land between Ramanathapuram and Pamban were formed due to the long shore drifting currents.
"As the carbon dating of the beaches roughly matches the dates of Ramayana, it is link to the epic needs to be explored." said S. Badrinarayanan, former director of the Geological Survey of India.
He said that a natural formation like that would be impossible due to the presence of a loose sand layer under corals for the entire stretch.
On the other hand, the Government of India, in an affidavit to the Supreme Court said that there is no proof of the bridge being built by Lord Ram. But in 2007, the Madras High Court said that Ram-Sethu is man-made, and asked the Central government to file and affidavits explaining, why it could not use an alternative route to create a canal instead.
Anand Shanker Singh, the member secretary of ICHR, Alok Tripathi, a professor of archeology with the Assam Central University, is the coordinator if the project and will conduct the training.
"The research scholars and junior teachers will be selected from the department of archeology of various institutions and they will be led by a team of scientists from marine institutes. We have seen that the Greek mythology Helen of Troy is in fact proven to be true. So we will speak about 'Ram Sethu' after the collection of evidences," said Sudershan Rao.