Myths or History ?

Have you heard of the Biblical ship NOAHs ARK and the findings of archeologists and scientists in Russia, Jerusalem, middle east and many other places. So the first question to any rational mind would be well is there something similar for Indians and Hindus as such. This rolled into a huge mass and there started my inquisitive journey into Indian Epics and their historical remains or is it simply mythology. Well I am not sure as yet but let me read the research and campaigns on some of them. Some of them are quite popular. The first that would come to my mind atleast is the current controversy on RAMA SETU (also called Adams Bridge http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adam%27s_Bridge). This too coz theres a controversy on the building of a channel that govt is aggressively pursuing while historians and certain NAVAL officers are against it so are the Hindus. Here is the website relating to the project (http://www.sethusamudram.in/). It is a vast subject I know and I may drift and loose my focus in the mid of the topic.

The Australian reports that the British Museum has hailed the discovery within a modest clay tablet in its collection as a dramatic proof of the accuracy of the Old Testament. (http://www.cathnews.com/news/707/69.php)

Well I was for a while talking to people and browsing through several books and websites to actually find something similar if not more on Indian epics and the proofs that they left on the mortal world. Here is the glimpse into the Historical research being undertaken and the findings :

Wednesday, 16 January, 2002, 13:14 GMT

Indian civilisation ‘9,000 years old’

Map, BBC

By Rajyasri Rao in Delhi

Marine scientists in India say an archaeological site off India’s western coast may be up to 9,000 years old.

The revelation comes about 8 months after acoustic images from the sea-bed suggested the presence of built-up structures resembling the ancient Harappan civilisation, which dates back around 4,000 years.

The Harappan civilisation is the oldest in the subcontinent.

Although Palaeolithic sites dating back around 20,000 years have been found on the coast of India’s western state of Gujarat before, this is the first time there are indications of man-made structures as old as 9,500 years found deep beneath the sea surface.

(Source : BBC NEWS)

ASI says the discovery will help in dating several such submerged structures there


  • Structures known for the last 40 years
  • Differences over antiquity

    — Photo: PTI


    HISTORY UNEARTHED: The wooden block retrieved from a submerged structure in the near-shore region of the Arabian Sea at Dwaraka in Gujarat.

  • (Source THE HINDU Newspaper)

    Ancient structures, under water and on land, discovered

    PHOTOS COURTESY ASI


    THE QUEST: An underwater archaeologist of the ASI examines an ancient structure off the shore of Dwaraka; a circular structure on the shore at Dwaraka; fragment of an ancient structure found underwater; remains of an ancient structure in the forecourt of the Dwarakadhish temple.

    CHENNAI: Ancient structural remains of some significance have been discovered at Dwaraka, under water and on land, by the Underwater Archaeology Wing (UAW) of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI). Alok Tripathi, Superintending Archaeologist, UAW, said the ancient underwater structures found in the Arabian Sea were yet to be identified. “We have to find out what they are. They are fragments. I would not like to call them a wall or a temple. They are part of some structure,” said Dr. Tripathi, himself a trained diver.

    Thirty copper coins were also found in the excavation area. The structures found on land belonged to the medieval period. “We have also found 30 copper coins. We are cleaning them. After we finish cleaning them, we can give their date,” he said.

    (Source The Hindu Newspaper)


    Monday, 12 February, 2001, 15:40 GMT

    Quake reveals hidden water

    A body of fresh water discovered in the western state of Gujarat may be an ancient branch of Pakistan’s famous Indus river.

    Recent satellite images have uncovered the underground water channels in a barren area of the state known for its high salinity.

    The pictures were taken above the epicentre of last month’s earthquake, in the Rann of Kutch region.

    The mythical Saraswati river is believed to have flowed about four thousand years ago.

    Map

    (Courtesy : BBC NEWS)

    Saturday, 19 January, 2002, 06:33 GMT

    Lost city ‘could rewrite history’

    Excavated Harrapan remains (Picture: North Park University)

    The city is believed to predate the Harappan civilisation

    Marine scientists say archaeological remains discovered 36 metres (120 feet) underwater in the Gulf of Cambay off the western coast of India could be over 9,000 years old.

    The vast city – which is five miles long and two miles wide – is believed to predate the oldest known remains in the subcontinent by more than 5,000 years.The site was discovered by chance last year by oceanographers from India’s National Institute of Ocean Technology conducting a survey of pollution.(Courtesy : BBC NEws website)


    The whole model of the origins of civilisation will have to be remade from scratch

    Graham Hancock

    The ramayana conference hosted by Leiden University, here is a link to the conference online but that is largely on interrelationship and mutual influence of text, sculpture, folklore and performing arts. http://www.iias.nl/iiasn/iiasn6/south/ramayan.html

    Look at Ramayana in various interpretations and as it shaped in various countries :
    http://www.azibaza.com/lecture/ramayana.htm#2

    NASA satellite photo of Adam's Bridge—oblique, Sri Lanka to the left

    Apart from what has been described in the two epics Ramayan and Mahabharat and other Indian texts the existence of Rama Setu has been confirmed by several foreign travelers including the Venetian traveller Marco Polo (1254-1324), cartographers, the images released by NASA and Isro, and the maps prepared in 1747, 1788 and 1804. Also the Manual of the Administration of Madras Presidency mentions both Adam’s Bridge and Rama Setu. It also says that the Setu was used for pedestrian traffic between India and Sri Lanka until 1480.

    DWARAKA and its Eploration by the NIO (National Institute of Oceanography) is a wonderful tale that can take us back into the mystic past that could also add a chapter or two in the Human history. An unexplored till date but will have no option but to consider the existence of a Saraswathy civilisation (Gujarat, Pakistan) or the recent Tungabhadra civilisation (Andhra Pradesh) are an eye openers. Here are the pictures of underwater exploration :

    (http://www.nio.org/projects/vora/project_vora_1.jsp)

    The 2nd aspect is work by other agencies describing small-scale stone ruins near the Gulf of Kuutch, at the present-day town of Dwarka, as the remains of the ancient, fabled city of Dwarka – so well described as the abode of Lord Krishna of Mahabarata fame. The city is said to have been completely transgressed by the sea and this is vividly described by Arjuna, Krishna’s main disciple in the “Mahabaratha Epic”. The puzzling aspect which is incoherent is the location of city of Dwaraka. The temple we see today is hardly 900 years old. The area all around is dry, void of vegetation, and with brackish water. Krishna is supposed to have maintained a huge army of men, animals like Elephants, Horses, etc. There are absolutely there are no trees or foliage or fresh water for a big army. So it strikes a discordant note about the location. But the submerged metropolis of the Gulf of Cambay has strong, powerful flowing rivers, lots of trees and foliage and huge township of truly ancient times. So probably the metropolis in the Gulf of Cambay could be the “Dwaraka City” of Mahabarata fame.

    I found this Podcast by one Mr Kalyana Raman a bit interesting.

    (http://poduniversal.blogspot.com/2007/05/adams-bridge-also-known-as-ramar-bridge.html)

    So is there something called a Setu between India and Srilanka. If yes that might change the whole perception of Human evolution theories as well as the civilisations and their antiquity. Archaelogist will have plenty to say using their scientific method. Historians also will play a role in determining the antiquity of human civilization in Asia. However, I believe it is important that we also factor in mythology and oral tradition in the equation of truth. This is because many ancient traditions have had their stories and creation myths that just did not make sense. For example, there was a Native American group that spoke of a “Big Fish”. Well, this idea seemed near impossible because the group lived in a desert far away from any ocean or lake. It turns out that Archaelogist soon found Whale bones inside of a deep cave. They discovered that there were actually Whales present in the region because it was once covered
    by water. Study Joseph Campbell and the importance of Myth. Yes, it doesn’t always measure up to scientific scrutiny. However, there is plenty of truth still there.

    Map of Adam's Bridge and environs

    Map of Adam’s Bridge and environs

    What is the Sethusamudram Shipping Canal project?

    Sethusamudram Ship Channel Project (SSCP) envisages dredging of a ship channel across the Palk straits between India and Srilanka?, says the Sethusamudram Corporation?s website. ?The project will allow ships sailing between the east and west costs of India to have a straight passage through India’s territorial waters, instead of having to circumvent Sri Lanka. Two channels will be created – one across Adam’s Bridge (the chain of islets and shallows linking India with Sri Lanka) South – east of Pamban Island and another through the shallows of Palk Bay, deepening the Palk straits. The total length of these two channels would be 89 Kms. ?

    http://www.rense.com/general30/nasa.htm

    Look at what some of my fellow bloggers feel on the actual relavence and existence of the Setu bandan or Rama Setu :

    NASA has taken pictures of the Adam’s Bridge between India and Srilanka. They have corroborated what we Indians have been telling since time immemorial. That the Adam’s bridge is actually the Ram Setu, built by Lord Rama’s faithful ‘vaanar’ soldiers. They say that the structure is man-made and dates back to about 1,700,000 years. That’s the tredha yuga, by mythology. (http://nilesh.org/weblog/2002/09/adams-bridge/)

    While the NASA clarified :

    “Remote sensing images or photographs from orbit cannot provide direct information about the origin or age of a chain of islands, and certainly cannot determine whether humans were involved in producing any of the patterns seen,” said NASA official Mark Hess.

    NRI websites like Indolink.com and the Vaishnava News Network had run a story earlier this week saying that “space images taken by NASA” had revealed “a mysterious ancient bridge in the Palk Strait.” The story gained currency when it was picked up, unquestioningly, by the PTI.

    Gulf of Khambhat on the right. Image NASA Earth Observatory

    Gulf of Khambhat on the right. Image NASA Earth Observatory

    Discovery of Dwaraka
    The search for the lost city was going on since 1930’s. Marine Archaeology Unit (MAU) of the National Institute of Oceanography, took part in this search in 1983. This search was carried out in the coastal waters of Dwaraka in Gujarat.

    Between 1983 to 1990 was discovered, the well-fortified township of Dwaraka, that extended more than half a mile from the shore. The township was built in six sectors along the banks of a river. The foundation of boulders on which the city’s walls were erected proves that the land was reclaimed from the sea.

    Dwaraka extended upto Bet Dwaraka (Sankhodhara) in the north and Okhamadhi in the south. Eastward it extended upto Pindara. The general layout of the city of Dwaraka described in ancient texts agrees with that of the submerged city discovered by MAU.

    National Institute of Oceanography, Goa, India

    Dwarka in Gujarat, one of the important religious places for Hindus, attracts tourists from all over the world due to the fabulous architectural planning of the Dwarkadhish temple. According to scriptures the town was associated with Lord Krishna and it was submerged soon after his departure to his heavenly abode. Pargiter (1904 & 1922), a noted historian, was the first to suggest that Dwarka was located near the Raivataka mountain and he has also mentioned that it was constructed on the remains of Kusasthali. Pusalkar (1943 & 1945) has even accepted that modern Dwarka was the original Dwarka of the Mahabharata period. However, many scholars have claimed different places in Gajarat as the original Dwarka. (http://www.nio.org/projects/vora/project_vora_1.jsp)


    Offshore exploration: Dwarka

    Sri Atul Sethi says:

    “There is sufficient evidence available now to suggest that Krishna was indeed a historical figure, who lived about 5000 years ago. This evidence is not just literary but also archaeological, geographical as well as astronomical,” he claims.

    According to Rajaram, we now know more about Krishna than about any other ancient figure with the arguable exception of Rama. Even about Rama, there is significant information available to prove that he was a historical personality, claims Pushkar Bhatnagar, author of the book, Dating the era of Lord Ram.

    Using recent planetary software, it has been possible to verify that these planetary positions actually took place precisely as specified in the Ramayana. Not just a stray event but the entire sequence of the planetary positions as described by Valmiki at various stages of Rama’s life can be verified today as having taken place,” Pushkar Bhatnagar says.

    Geographical evidence for the epics is also abundant, says Bhatnagar. There still exist many places like Rameshwaram, Kishkindha, Kurukshetra, Hastinapura etc where the visits of Rama and Krishna are part of local folklore, he says.

    But, why is there not much archaeological evidence that points towards their existence? Because such an effort has not been made in India and systematic excavations have never been carried out, says historian Nandita Krishnan.

    “Nobody believed that Homer’s Iliad was a true story till Troy was discovered after extensive archaeology. Unfortunately, the sites of the Ramayana and Mahabharata have now been built over many times and it may never be possible to excavate extensively either at Ayodhya or Mathura,” she adds.

    Lack of archaeological evidence is no excuse for denying the existence of history, sums up Bhatnagar. “If the buildings of that time over 7000 years ago do not exist today, can we just infer that civilisations and personalities of that time also did not exist?”

    Courtesy :Article written by Sri Atul Sethi appeared in Times Of India on March 11, 2007.

    In discussing the dating questions historian A. L. Basham says: “According to the most popular later tradition the Mahabharata War took place in 3102 B.C., which in the light of all evidence, is quite impossible. More reasonable is another tradition, placing it in the 15th century B.C., but this is also several centuries too early in the light of our archaeological knowledge. Probably the war took place around the beginning of the 9th century B.C.; such a date seems to fit well with the scanty archaeological remains of the period, and there is some evidence in the Brahmana literature itself to show that it cannot have been much earlier.

    SARASWATHY RIVER
    For 2000 years, between 6000 and 4000 B.C., the Saraswati flowed as a great river. R. D. Oldham (1886) was the first geologist who argued logically pointing to the great changes in the drainage pattern of the rivers of Punjab and western Rajasthan converting a once fertile region into a desert. According to geological and glaciological studies, the Saraswati was supposed to have originated in Bandapunch massif (Saraswati-Rupin glacier confluence at Naitwar in western Garhwal).

    6 thoughts on “Myths or History ?

    1. Mahesh Khanna T

      wow .. what a research you made Veeru .. this is very interesting and thanks for letting me to learn more abt it in a glance.

    2. Pavan

      Veeru, u rock. That’s a v.interesting topic u brought n also v.interesting findings. All I’ve to say is, without fire there’s no smoke.

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