Pamban bridge


Pamban bridge connects the town of Rameshwaram on Pamban island to the mainland India. This sea bridge is built over Palk strait near the southernmost part of India. It serves as a much needed connectivity to the pilgrim city of Rameshwaram. Here are few vital stats of the bridge:

Length: 2050 m

Opened: 1914

Cost of construction: Rs.7 million

Bridge type: Cantilever

To increase trade between India and Ceylon (present day Sri lanka) the British identified th need for a railway bridge on the Palk strait in 19th century. The construction ran into trouble as a railway bridge would obstruct the passage of ferries in Palk strait. In order to allow the ferries to pass beneath the bridge, a double-leaf bascule section was indeed. This section can be raised to allow the ships pass beneath it. Around 10-15 ships pass beneath the bridge every month. Until recently, levers were used manually to raise and lower the bascule section. Since its inception,the bridge carried meter gauge trains. In 2007, the Indian Railways upgraded it to broad gauge. Pamban bridge successfully withstood the onslaught of severe natural calamities like they cyclone in 1964 which destroyed the island of Dhanushkodi and 2004 tsunami. Various islands of the Gulf of Mannar can be seen from the bridge.

Pamban bridge opening to allow ships to ferry
Pamban bridge opening to allow ships to ferry

Considering that a movable bridge was built way back in 1914 in India when sophisticated methods were not available, Pamban bridge is a true marvel of structural engineering.