English News

  • youtube
  • facebook
  • twitter

Watch: Indian swimmers in droves cross Palk Strait renewing India-Lanka cultural ties

On March 17, Sucheta Deb Burman became the first woman to complete a two-way swim across the Palk Strait (All images courtesy: High Commission of India in Colombo)

As many as 41 swimmers have swam across Palk Strait between India and Sri Lanka in recent months with a relay team consisting of 10 men and 5 women covering the 29-Km distance between Thalaimannar and Dhanushkodi in just over 11 hours on Friday.

Thalaimannar, the westernmost tip of the Mannar island in Sri Lanka, is almost connected to the Dhanushkodi in Rameshwaram, the easternmost tip of the peninsula of Southern India by a reef of corals submerged in the Palk Strait.

The narrow channel of sea formed by Palk Strait and the Gulf of Mannar separating the two countries has witnessed a string of record-setting swimming feats in recent times.

On March 17, two records were made on the same day as Sucheta Deb Burman became the first woman to complete a two-way swim. Sampanna Ramesh Shelar rescripted the one-way record between Talaimannar and Dhanushkodi, breaking the previous record by around three hours by covering the Strait in 5 hours and 30 minutes.

Five days later, Satish became the first person to paddlle both ways across the Palk Strait, covering a total distance of 58 Kms in 18 hours and 25 minutes.

Palk Strait Sri Lanka

Last year, Jiya Rai, a student of Navy Children School in Mumbai, and daughter of a senior sailor of the Indian Navy, brought laurels to India by swimming across the Palk Strait from Thalaimannar to Dhanushkodi in 13 hours and 10 minutes.

A child with Autism Spectrum Disorder, Rai achieved the feat at the age of 13 years and 10 months, becoming the youngest and fastest female swimmer in the world to swim across the Palk Strait. The record was earlier held by Bula Chowdhary who swam the distance in 13 hours 52 minutes in 2004.

Quite significantly, as the swimmers continue to set new marks, the Sri Lankan Navy provides search and rescue cover in Sri Lankan waters while the Indian Navy and Indian Coast Guard provide similar support in Indian waters.

palk strait sri lanka

In the 13th century, Mathottam or the ‘Great Port’, on the north-western coast fronting the Arabian Sea was the most important trading port of Ceylon.

Mannar is a place of importance due to the 30-km Adam’s bridge or ‘Ram Setu’ which is a chain of limestone shoals that appear during low tide as a narrow ridge of sand and rock, connecting Rameswaram to Thalaimannar.