The Indian queen of bridges, the Pamban Bridge is regarded as the engineering miracle, that counts more than 100 years of existence. The notable bridge is actually the first Railway sea bridge in India. Apart from this, it has a double leaf bascule section in the middle, that opens up allowing the passage for ships and boats. It’s no wonder why it attracts so many tourists of all over the world, as its structural design and the view that it offers is completely stunning.
The Significance of The Bridge
The Pamban Bridge is located in the entrance of the Pamban Island, which is also called Rameswaram Island, in Tamil Nadu state, in South India. Known as «Pamban Palam» in Tamil dialect, this bridge has considerable importance due to the fact that it comprises the railway connecting point of the Rameswaram island with the Indian peninsula’s mainland. Moreover, the only way to reach the island, until 1988, was by crossing the bridge. Then, a road bridge was built parallel to the first, permitting the passage of the vehicles and the walkers too. Usually, the name Pamban Bridge relates both to the railway and the road bridge. Today, the two bridges stand proudly over the Indian Ocean in the mid shores on Pamban and Mandapam.
Constructed in 1914, the Pamban Bridge was designed by the brilliant German engineer Scherzer. However, already in the 19th century, the British Administration suggested plans for a sea bridge construction, in order to raise trade with Sri Lanka. No sooner than the second decade of the 20th century, the first Indian bridge was built in only 3 years. For the most time, it carried meter-gauge trains, when eventually it was modernized to carry broad-gauge trains, practically bigger than the standard ones. The bridge rests on 143 piers, made of cement and it is considered a cantilever bridge, as it uses horizontal beams, the cantilevers, to support the main part of the bridge. At the same time, it is also known as a bascule bridge, because of its two lifted leaves that allow any kind of boat and ship, like cargo and container ship, to cross the bridge through the sea. It’s remarkable that each leaf weights over 400 tonnes and it was lifted manually by laborers on each side. The «Scherzer rolling lift span» was named after its designer and it was synchronized later. As you can imagine, the maintenance of this massive complex bridge is not an easy issue, as this region is considered the second most corrosive environment after Florida, inclined to cyclones and the strong winds. However, the glorious bridge overcame many obstacles, even the catastrophic cyclone storm of 1964, whilst it was renovated in only 46 days. Therefore, it’s not a coincidence why it is nominated for the UNESCO’s Heritage List.
The Breathtaking View
The Imposing bridge may offer you the most spectacular view of the Rameswaram and the nearby islands. Imagine a train journey on the railway bridge, marveling the colossal structure and the breathtaking view while traveling. Watch the sight of the Kunthukal Beach, the park at Mandapam shore, the Vivekananda Memorial Hall. Besides, keep in mind that the island’s principal town is famous for its pilgrimage centre, attracting plenty of tourists to visit the Ramanatha Swamy temple. You can come too. The only thing you have to do is to cross the Pamban Bridge.