Adam’s Bridge Shoals Between Sri Lanka and India (රාම සේතු පාලම)

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National Park Size18,990 hectares (46,925 acres)
Main attractionSand Banks, shoals and small islands

Adam’s Bridge, also called Rama’s Bridge, or Rama Sethu is a sting of shoals between Mannar Island, off the northwest coast of Sri Lanka, and Rameswaram Island, off the southeast coast of India. The so-called 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 many of the shoals are less than 4 feet (1 metre) deep; thus, they seriously hinder navigation. Dredging operations carried out in the early 19th century did not succeed 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. Multiple theories exist regarding the formation of the bridge. One theory suggests that the Palk Strait and the Gulf of Mannar were once part of the Kaveri River basin. Due to long-term tectonic movements, the outline of the region including Adam’s Bridge formed, and the particular shapes of these landforms contributed to coral growth. The coral trapped sand, which led to a discontinuous shoreline that is now called Adam’s Bridge. Another theory suggests that longshore currents dumped sand in a more or less straight line, and coral then accumulated over these sand deposits. Studies by the Geological Survey of India have dated the coral at Rameswaram Island to 125,000 years ago. The sea level in the region is believed to have oscillated significantly, and the sand deposits may have formed during one such period of low sea level when the sea bridge was exposed. Other studies suggest that Adam’s Bridge was formed only about 3,500 years ago.

Ravana, one of the most powerful rulers of the world reigned the island of Lanka according to one of the great Indian epics, Ramayana believed to be written in the 4th century BC by Valmiki in India. Ramayana paints Ravana as a tyrant of the Raksha Tribe who exercised mighty power over gods, demons and humans. However, he is considered one of the most powerful Emperors of Lanka by the Sri Lankans.

As per the Ramayana epic, Sita was the wife of Rama, the heroine of the story. One one day Rama and Lakshmana (half brother of Rama) wounded a Raksha (demon) princess who tried to seduce Rama. She returned to her brother Ravana, the ten-headed ruler of Lanka. In retaliation, Ravana devised a plan to abduct Sita after hearing about her incomparable beauty. Ravana disguised himself as an old beggar, kidnapped Sita and brought her to the land of Lanka on his flying chariot known as Dandumonara (pushpaka vimanaya). Ravana hid Sita in several places in his kingdom as per the legend where Rama, the hero of the story finally managed to defeat Rama with a monkey army led by the monkey Hanuman and rescued Sita.

Most Indians and Sri Lankans believe that the epic Ramayana is woven around a real king who ruled over Sri Lanka over 4000-6000 years ago. The country is full of places which are linked to Rama, Sita, Hanuman and Ravana. Most Hindus believe that Adam’s Bridge is the remains of the bridge made by Hunuman for its army and Rama to cross to Lanka. This is the reason this string of shoals is called Rama Sethu, meaning Rama’s Bridge.

The name Adam’s Bridge comes from the Islamists who came as traders to Sri Lanka. They believe this was the bridge used by Adam when he crossed between Sri Pada Mountain (Adam’s Peak) and India. They believed that Cane and Able of biblical stories were buried on one of these islets (Pratt, 1892).

The edge of Adam’s Bridge can be reached by crossing Mannar Island and driving up to the edge. On a clear day, first few islets can be seen from the shores of Mannar.

Adam’s Bridge National Park

Considering the unique bio environment these islets create, UNDP recommended a marine national park surrounding the shoals in 2014. In May 2015 the Sri Lankan government announced the national park covering part of Adam’s Bridge, an extent of 18,990 ha (46,925 acres) as the Adam’d Bridge Marine National Park (Rama Sethu Marine National Park). The Indian section of Adam’s Bridge is part of the Gulf of Mannar Marine National Park of India.

The park is situated along the migratory path of birds visiting Sri Lanka, with the sand dunes of Adam’s Bridge serving as breeding grounds for species like the brown noddy. The shallow waters surrounding the sand dunes are home to diverse fish and aquatic grasses. Additionally, dolphins, dugongs, and turtles can often be spotted in the sea surrounding the park.


  • Pratt, M.L. (1892) People And Places Here and There : Vol II India. Boston: Educational Publishing Company.

Also See

Map of  Adam’s Bridge National Park

Please click on the button below to load the Dynamic Google Map (ගූගල් සිතියම් පහලින්)

The map above also shows other places of interest within a approximately 20 km radius of the current site. Click on any of the markers and the info box to take you to information of these sites

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Travel Directions to Adam’s Bridge National Park

From Colombo to Adam’s Bridge From Anuradhapura to Adam’s Bridge
Through : Chilaw – Puttalam – Mannar
Distance : 290 km
Travel time : 6.5 hours
Time to Spend : about 30 mins
Driving Directions : See Google Maps here
Through : Medawachchiya – Mannar
Distance : 145 km
Travel time : 3 hours
Time to Spend : about 30 mins
Driving Directions : See Google Maps here


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