Welcome to the "Believe it or Not- That's Incredible India!" series. India is home to some of the most astonishing wonders in the world. The rich culture, heritage, food, scriptures, architectural marvels and scores of known and unknown facts come together to create this multicolored melange that is India. Throughout this month, read about the various believe it or not facts about India and know what goes into the making of this incredible country!
India is full of engineering marvels that stand as a testimony to the knowledge of science and architecture held by ancient Indians. The amazing symmetry of the Taj Mahal never ceases to hold us captive. The Iron Pillar of Mehrauli is another blazing example; the art of creating a rust-free iron pillar that has withstood rain, wind and heat without degrading is a fine example of the ancient knowledge of alchemy. There are many such brilliant examples! Let me take you through one ancient and one recent engineering marvel.
The Rama Sethu-
The Valmiki Ramayan describes the construction of a bridge built between Rameshwaram, the southernmost tip of India to SriLanka by Lord Rama’s monkey brigade - the ‘vanar sena’. The bridge was said to have been built using stones that floated on water and were stuck to each other without the use of mortar or any kind of glue. This ‘Rama Sethu’ or the bridge built by Lord Rama in 5076 BCE is nothing short of an engineering marvel! How can stone float on water?
Scientists have since long tried to find out the secret of the floating stones which are found in Rameshwaram even today. The stones were initially thought to be Pumice stones but the black colour of the stones is very different as compared to the cream colored Pumice stones. The stones are also heavier. Also, the region has no volcanic eruptions and hence the availability of pumice stones in that region was very unlikely too. Some believed the stones were actually due to coral formation, but coral is made of calcium carbonate which is too dense to float on water. There’s no rational explanation about the floating stones yet.
For now, all we know is the bridge does exist (it’s even visible from space!) though there’s no clue what stone was used to build it and what kind of technology helped them build a 30 km long bridge on water. But it definitely looks like some kind of engineering marvel we aren’t aware of yet!
Bandra-Worli Sea Link-
Talking of bridges, the current day Bandra-Worli sea link is no less an engineering marvel itself! This 5.6 kms long bridge made commuting between Bandra and Worli easier and faster saving money and man hours. The eight lane bridge is almost as high as a 43-storied building. It took 2,57,00,000 man hours and 2,250 km of high strength galvanized steel wires to complete this 20,000 ton, two-cable stayed structure which weighs as much as 50,000 African elephants – a true engineering marvel!
Believe it or not- That’s Incredible India!