Old British Built Hanging Bridge,Punalur tookupalam,one of two Indian Vehicular Suspension Bridges built by British engineers

punalur hanging bridge,tooku paalam,only south indian hanging bridge,one of two british built Indian hanging bridge,tookupalam of kerala built in 1877,vehicular hanging bridge of kerala indiaThe Hanging Bridge of Punalur,Kerala, the only vehicular hanging bridge of Kerala and the second one in India built by the British. This old hanging bridge is now under the authority of archeology department, and is under maintainance.
The construction and engineering of this hanging bridge marvel dates back to 1877, by a British engineer named Albert Henry. The bridge is situated across river Kallada and joins the Kollam -Chengotta state highway which is now NH 208, starting from Kollam and ending at Thirumangalaom in Tamilnadu. This snap is taken from one of the entrance of the hanging bridge.

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A suspension bridge usually has the suspension pillars, the weight or load bearing portion called deck, suspension cables[chains, multi stranded cable, linked bars etc]

This ancient hanging bridge of Kerala is built of linked bar chains which are bolted with huge nuts and steel rod hangers which joins the chains with the deck.

Two pillars supports the chains which inturn supports the deck. The chains runs through the top part of the pillars and the deck is laid through the pillars and supported at both ends of the bridge .

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The bridge is said to be a non-cement construction. I cant give you the exact mixture which replaced cement in this hanging bridge Grandpa. May be the ancient cosnstruction mixture of eggyolk, jaggery, lime etc which is used in the construction of River-dams like Mullaperiyar and ancient Palaces of Kerala. However the bridge still stands tall without any major fitness issues.

When this bridge is finished people were afraid to use it seeing its hanging nature. The engineer Albert Henry passed in a country boat through the river under with his family while six elephants were made to walk through the bridge. May be the first and last bridge engineer who proved his bridge's strength like that huh!

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Inside view of one of the Four wells seen on both sides of the hanging bridge. The two ends of the twin steel bar chains which supports the bridge are anchored into these wells. The chains are made to pass through the pillar tops, basements on bridge entrances and finally fixed deep inside these wells. It seems like the Wells are interconnected too but am not sure about it.

In olden times the wooden planks used in the bridge deck is from some peculiar tree in the forest named Kambakom. It is known to last for much time and is strong. But later in the renovation process of this hanging bridge much corruption was done by the lovely officials and replaced the old worn platform planks with some cheap type of timber and it doesn't lasted much time after the luxurious renovation CORRUPTION.  The works are started again to beautify  the bridge and surroundings and hope this time things will be done right.

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The steel bars are being painted and wooden planks are to be fitted onto the steel deck structure of the bridge as before. Anyway there is no more vehicles to be allowed through for another parallel bridge is already built for transportation long before while the road was expanded.

Now the authorities are trying to keep the bridge as a monument with archaeological importance. A small garden and resting place is going to be built around the bridge and in mean time it could be a resting and refreshing spot for the public and tourists around.
The present state of the hanging bridge is just the steel skeleton, seems got just painted. The bridge pillars are getting cleaned as part of beautification, a small grass lawn and some flowering plants around, cast iron gates are guarding the entrances and some night lamps are fixed around. As you can see the sand, cement and timber like debris are all around as part of the works going on. About the finishing time! Hmmmm.. sooner i think. [GOD Knows..]

The photos are taken with Samsung GT S5620 cellphone camera of 3MP in landscape modes.

As a tourist the hanging bridge of Punalur is the first thing you gonna get attracted to on the way to Thenmala-the first eco tourism spot in India. We were also on a one day trip to Thenmala dam, eco-tourism spots and Palaruvi waterfalls which are obviously going to be served here in pixelshots ASAP. C ya..


R Sudhir Kumar said...

Very Good shots for a moblie camera. I have seen this bridge many a time, Unfortunetly misplaced the photograps. A well written post. Congrats!

shreenithi said...

My Great Grand Father Shri Appavoo Nadar @Appavoo Contractor( Cundraku) was involved in the maintainance of this bridge during the British Raj.His son and my maternal Grand uncle Shri Appavoo Sundaram lives in Punalur.His INDIAN OIL petrol pump and motel are on the northern side of the bridge.Sudar Lal my uncle runs the show there.Drop in to meet one of the most hospitable guys around.

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