Suspension Bridge/Hanging Bridge-Punalur-Kerala | Indian Historical Monument | Photos-Facts & History

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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 support the chains which in turn supports the deck. The chains run 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 archeological monument. Maybe the ancient construction mixture of egg yolk, 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. Even though it's an archeological monument it was still open for people to walk through. maybe after the maintenance its open now in 2018, while am editing this post. 😊

Interesting bridge Fact:

When this bridge was finished in 1880, 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. Maybe the first and last bridge engineer who proved his bridge's strength like that huh!

Suspension bridge Well:

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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 support 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.

Wood Used in Suspension bridge:

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 last 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 are 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 meantime, it could be a resting and refreshing spot for the public and tourists around. This bridge has a major name in the tourism map of Kerala's archeological sites to be visited. It has an emotional attachment to the people this place Punalur, as many of them are younger generations of men who were part of this Bridge's construction and maintenance.

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..]

Hanging bridge of Punalur Kerala- Facts, and History

  • The hanging bridge is constructed during the reign of Ayilyam Thirunal as Raja of Travancore.
  • Divan Nanupilla sanctioned the project.
  • Albert Henry was the Site Engineer for the Hanging bridge of Punalur.
  • Bridge construction got sanctioned in 1871.
  • Many attempts to construct normal pillar bridge failed due to the violent and furious water discourse in the Kallada River due to its highly inclined topography.
  • Construction of the bridge got completed by 1877.
  • The hanging bridge got opened to the public by 1880
  • The bridge is majorly imported from England than being a local construction. The pillars and wood works were only done here.
  • The spans, chains etc are imported to Kollam through Sea from England, and Elephants pulled them to the Bridge site in Punalur in huge carts, taking the whole of a month for just transportation.
  • Construction material used in this very old Bridge is said to be like a mixture of burned lime shells, sand and very traditional adhesive made from animal bones. The very common mixture used in olden times were named as Surki, which is used in the construction of many old earthen dams of Kerala etc. I can't vouch on the exact contents used, but the mixture is moreover like above, and we are still amazed to see the durability and longevity of all these olden constructions still standing tall. Many of them like this Hanging bridge got converted as Archaeological Heritage monuments, but these are still usable and strong.
  • Many among the old generations who used this bridge before the new bridge came is still living in Punalur, Kerala with those old memories and experiences. 
  • Many myths are there surrounding this bridge construction and the people who participated, in the construction of this old bridge which is now standing tall as a Landmark in Kerala Tourism map.


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

As a tourist, the hanging bridge of Punalur is the first thing you may be 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 posted soon here in Pixelshots. Cya.
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3 comments:

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

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  2. 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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