ASI And NIO To Undertake Underwater Exploration And Research Of Ram SetuNASA Satellite image of the Ram Setu. (Screengrab from the video) 

Last month, the Central Advisory Board on Archaeology, a body under the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), approved the proposal for an underwater exploration project to determine the age of the Ram Setu, reports The Times of India.

The research proposed by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) - National Institute of Oceanography, Goa, (NIO) will also explore the process behind the formation of Ram setu.

“The historicity and the date of ‘Ramayana’ remain a debatable subject among historians, archaeologists and scientists. It is proposed to carry out scientific and underwater archaeological studies to understand the nature and formation of the Ram Setu and its surrounding area,” the proposal note says.

Ram setu is a chain of shoals, between Pamban Island (Rameswaram Island) off the south-eastern coast of India and Mannar Island off the north-western coast of Sri Lanka.

Sindhu Sadhana or Sindhu Sankalp, the research vessels of NIO will be used in this project to collect samples of the sediment situated at 35 to 40 metres below the water level.

The study will also focus on whether there are any submerged habitations around Ram Setu.

"The proposed study will be based on archaeological antiquities, radiometric and thermoluminescence (TL) dating for geological time scale and other supporting environmental data,” Prof. Sunil Kumar Singh, director, NIO, told The Times of India.

“Radiometric technique will be used to ascertain the age of the structure which is reported to consist of coral or pumice stones. Corals contain calcium carbonate that will help us find the age of the structure and of course the period of Ramayana," he added.

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