Pamban Bridge: India's First Sea Bridge - Rameshwaram

Book Now
Untitled Document
Book Here

It is an engineering marvel that evokes awe! Few can forget a train journey on the Pamban bridge, connecting Rameswaram island to the mainland.

With 143 piers, spanning 2 km between the mainland and the island, it is the second longest sea bridge in India after the 2.3-km Bandra-Worli sea link on Mumbai's western coast.

Come February, the Pamban bridge, commissioned in 1914, will turn 100 and officials of the Southern Railway's Madurai division have lined up several programmes spread over a month to mark the occasion.

Efforts were taken for the construction of the bridge as early as the 1870s with the British administration planning to expand trade connectivity to Sri Lanka, then Ceylon.

However, the construction of the rail bridge commenced only by 1911 and it was commissioned on February 24, 1914.

German engineer Scherzer designed the central part of the bridge that opens up to allow ferry movement. On an average, 10 to 15 boats and small ships pass beneath the bridge every month.

The Pamban bridge was the only link between Rameswaram and the mainland until 1988 when a road bridge, running parallel to it, was built. Earlier, it used to transport hundreds of pilgrims everyday to the temple in the island.

The railways decided to close down the metre gauge rail as part of its gauge conversion plans. In fact, the railways had proposed to make it this line a unigauge, but then President A P J Abdul Kalam suggested that it be strengthened and converted into a broad gauge rail.

Following it the new broad gauge line was thrown open for traffic in 2007.

In 1964, the bridge survived a major cyclone that flattened Dhanushkodi, a thriving port town.

E Sreedharan, the man behind the construction of the Delhi Metro, played a major role in bolstering the bridge within 46 day

The bridge was further strengthened in 2009 for running goods traffic.

Indian Railways is vying to bring the bridge in the Unesco's world heritage list

As India's first sea bridge, it has also become a tourist attraction by itself as people watch in awe when the two leaves of the bridge open up to let ships to pass through.