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Rama Sethu, Ram Setu, Ramar Bridge, History, Facts: Part IV
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By: V Sundaram, IAS, Retd.
May 25, 2007
expressed here are author?s own and not of this website. Full disclaimer
is at the bottom.
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Rama Sethu, Ram Setu, Adam's Bridge - Part I - History, Facts, Information
Rama Sethu, Ram Setu, Adam's Bridge - Part II - History, Facts,
Rama Sethu, Ram Setu, Adam's Bridge - Part III - History, Facts,
Rama Sethu, Ram Setu, Adam's Bridge - Part IV - History, Facts,
Rama Sethu, Ram Setu, Adam's Bridge - Part V - History, Facts, Information
Sethusamudram Shipping Canal Project
: Good Thing Done Badly!
"The Rules of Evidence are founded in the charities of religion-in the
philosophy of nature-in the truths of history, and in the experience of
common life" - Lord Chancellor of England, Honorable Justice Thomas Erskine
|| Coins constitute a
major source of information for the history of Rama Setu or Ramar
Bridge or Setu Bandhana or Adam's Bridge. The discipline or science
relating to the study of coins is known as Numismatics. Coin
collecting has existed since ancient times. It is a well known fact
that Roman Emperors were among some of the earliest coin collectors.
Coin collecting has been called the "Hobby of Kings". Numismatics
reached its apex due to the great demand for ancient coins during the
late middle Ages and the early Renaissance.
to our own country, we have remarkable epigraphically and numismatic
evidence, starting from 10th century AD, authenticating the tradition
of referring to Rameswaram as Setu Bandha Rameswaram, that is, as the
place from where the Rama Setu Bridge was built to link Bharatam and
Sri Lanka in the days of Sri Rama.
many early coins in South India bearing the inscription of "Setu" in
Tamil. We also have copper plates of Pallava Aparajitavarman (900 AD)
which indicate that Aparajitavarman went to SETUTIRTHA (Rameshwaram
and Dhanushkoti). Likewise Udayendiram copper plates of Chola King
Parantaka I (AD 907-955) refer to his adoption of the title
Samgramaraghava like RAMA. The details relating to these copper plates
have been given in the monograph titled Thiruttani and Velanjeri
Copper Plates written by Dr. R.Nagaswamy (Director of Archaeology) and
published by the State Department of Archaeology Government of
Tamilnadu in 1979.
I am presenting below these
two copper plates of Pallava King Aparajitavarman (900 AD) and Chola King
Parantaka I (AD 907-955) for visual scrutiny and understanding.
Codrington in his book ""Ceylon Coins and Currency"" published in 1924 and
Mitchiner in his book ""Oriental Coins"" published in 1978 have clearly
pointed out that the traditional design of Sri Lanka standing King Type
Copper Massa (coins) of the Jaffna Arya Chkravartis from 1284 AD to 1410
AD always bore the Tamil legend SETU. Setu coins were previously
attributed to the Setupati Princes of Ramnad. Codrington and Mitchner
attribute them strongly to the Jaffna Arya Chkravartis. I am presenting
below the obverse and reverse side of one of the coins issued by Jaffna
Arya Chkravartis from 1284 to 1410 AD. In the book, "Yaalpana Iraachchiyam"
(1992), Prof. S. Pathamanathan in his article on "Coins" notes:
Early kings of Jaffna,
sometimes referred to as Ariyacakravarti, used names such as
Segarajasekaran and Pararajasekaran, and used the epithets Singaiyariyan
(Lord of Singaingar, the earlier capital of the Kingdom of Jaffna),
SETUKAVALAN (Guardian of Setu or Rameshwaram) and Gangainadan (belonging
to the country of the Ganga). Their emblems were a recumbent bull -nanthi-,
a Saiva symbol, and the expression SETU, indicating the place of their
origin, Rameshwaram. The term Setu was also used as an expression of
Several types of coins
categorized as SETU BULL coins are found in large quantities in the
northern part of Sri Lanka. I am illustrating one of the types of these
Setu Bull Coins below. The obverse of this coin has a human figure flanked
by lamps and the reverse has the Nandi (bull) symbol with the legend Sethu
in Tamil with a crescent moon above.
P Pushparatnam in his brilliant paper ""Murukan Worship Sri Lanka: New
Archeological Evidence"" has observed:"" The Europeans first employed the
utilization of numismatics as a source for historical research in the 18th
century AD. The European officers who were in charge of the Archaeological
Survey of India and the Civil Service and other officers employed in India
in the 19th century took interest in the collection and study of coins. In
Sri Lanka, numismatics received wider attention in the 20th century. As
important as epigraphically data is, numismatics is restricted in its
content as few names or words and certain symbols in figurative form or
forms appear in them. They are very valuable to reconstruct the history of
a particular dynasty and its chronology. Evidence of the coins issued by
the Sri Lankan Tamils is now available. This period ranges from the 3rd
century BC to the 17th century AD. These throw a flood of light on various
aspects such as the ancient language, script, genesis of Kingdoms,
settlements of people, commerce, foreign relations and so on""
P Pushparatnam has analysed the following two coins issued by the Tamil
rulers of Nallur in Jaffna who ruled during 13th - 17th century AD. We can
see the inscription of the word SETU in Tamil, apart from the figures of
Nandi and Peacock.
Leonard Wolf, husband of the
great English novelist Virginia Wolf (1882-1941) worked as a British Civil
Servant in Ceylon in the first decade of the 20th century. In one of his
early News Paper articles, he has referred to the widespread use of old
Setu Coins (with letters in Tamil) in circulation in Jaffna.
RAMA SETU BRIDGE IN
India is rich in ancient inscriptions. They form a priceless resource base
for the study of India's cultural, religious, social and linguistic
heritage. Through the centuries, in all parts of the country, inscriptions
were etched, engraved, pecked, or even sometimes carved in bas-relief on
stones or on the rock-faces of cliffs and hills. They were also inscribed
on temple walls. Epigraphy is the study of such texts, the science of
deciphering and interpreting them.
Rashtrakuta literature is the body of work created in Sanskrit and Kannada
languages during the rule of the Rastrakutas of Manyakheta, a dynasty that
ruled the southern and central parts of the Deccan, India between the 8th
and 10th centuries. The period of their rule was an important time in the
history of South Indian literature. During that period famous scholars
wrote on secular subjects such as mathematics, history, political science
We find the most common reference to RAMA in early Rashtrakuta
inscriptions in a verse that began appearing commonly at the end of the
citation on land-grants from the early 9th century onwards in the
Apart from Rashtrakuta Inscriptions, I am citing below a few other
1.""Common to all kings is the SETHU OF DHARMA: you should abide by it
moment by moment. Again and again Ramabhadra implores all future kings to
do the same"" (Epigraphica Indica 23.212 - a record of AD 807)...
2.Tiruvalangadu plates of RAJARAJA COLA I (CE 985-1014) describe the king
as surpassing RAMA in military prowess and crossing the ocean with his
powerful army and subduing the king of Lanka...
3. In the temples of Orissa dated from 7th to 10th centuries, RAMA is
represented and described both as an avatara of Vishnu as also the hero of
the Ramayana narrative which includes a pointed reference to the
construction of Rama Setu Bridge with graphic details.
4.Hampi inscription of Krishnadevaraya Saka 1430 (1508 AD) in Epigraphica
Indica refers to the glory of RAMA SETHU.
5.In a Copper Plate of the 11th century, issued by the CHALUKYA dynasty of
Kalyana, we find the expression "from the Himalaya to the Setu Bridge"
(Ind. Antiq. i. 81), i.e. the Bridge of Rama, or "Adam's Bridge," as our
maps have it today.
T Satyamurthy, formerly Director of Archaeology, Government of Kerala, in
a seminal essay titled ""Palk Strait to Gulf of Mannar-an Archaeological
Exploration"" has observed ""Separating the Gulf of Mannar on the South
from the Palk Strait on the North is a chain of islands, reefs, shoals and
shallows, consisting of island of Mannar, Ramar Bridge also known as
Adam's Bridge, the island of Pamban. Significantly the Strait is flanked
by two ancient temples Ramanatha Temple and Tiruketesvara Temple on Indian
and Sri Lanka Sides respectively. In Indian Side, it attains importance
because of its association with Ramayana Epic and equally on the other
Side also the MANTAI is significant as the place is associated with
Mandothari, the daughter of Mayon and wife of Ravana.... Thus it is clear
that both the ends at Palk Straits in India and the Gulf of Mannar were
culturally united for centuries...Had they used the Ramar Palam known as
Adam's Bridge or Naval Boat to reach the other end? Was it possible to
navigate safely in between these ends? These are some of the problems that
require further proof....there can be no doubt that the Romans during
their long period of friendly trade with Ceylon from the 1st century to
3rd centuries made regular use of Mannar Passage on both outward and
return voyages. Evidences of using the Palk Strait for navigation in the
ancient period could not be established. It is now obligatory to marine
Archaeological Investigators to thoroughly scan the area to find out the
nature of path way between the Palk Strait and the Gulf of Mannar"".
Dangerous enemies of Hinduism and Eternal India today like Mrs Ambika Soni,
T R Balu and Karunanidhi, are using the shifty language of dirty party
politics to deny the existence of Rama Setu Bridge. Their strange language
is full of Maya and falsities of self-illusion and deliberate delusion of
others, which almost immediately turns all true and vivid phrases into a
"Pseudo-Secular Jargon", so that the masses of people whom they mislead
may fight in a cloud of words without any clear sense of the thing they
are battling for.
(To be contd...)
V Sundaram, IAS, Retd.
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