We’ll Burn That Bridge When We Come To It


Important notice for the Indian Security Services: No Bridge burning of any kind will be encouraged or entertained during the trip.

For the purposes of further Search Engine Optimisation, here is a post about the bridges we will encounter, or nearly encounter, or wont encounter at all but are in India anyway and so count for the purposes of SEO and generally bumping out this blog. (it’s only the last two on this page we aren’t actually doing)

The big news, for those of you who are actually following this, is that we’ve ditched the Sun Temple at Konark as it’s not really relevant to the core ideals of the project. In it’s place comes the stupendous Rameswaram, which apart from having a sensational bridge connecting it to the mainland, is about as coastal as it’s possible to get.

We, well by “we” I mean my crack team of advisors, are currently digesting this year’s railway budget and it’s impact on the plan. My next missive will be a Budget Special.

Perhaps the most iconic bridge in India, certainly one of the most famous, is the Howrah bridge, which we will be floating besides on a ferry. As a result we’ll be able to get a better look at it than any of the others (it’s not actually a railway bridge anyway). We’ll be passing at lunchtime, but this is my favorite shot of it.

Howrah Bridge, Kolkata

Photo by Jishnu Nandy

As we make our way into Assam proper we’ll cross the Brahmaputra at Guwahati as we traverse the Saraighat bridge.  I couldn’t find any decent pictures of that one, so here’s a nice smilie face called Aveejeet doing a similar thing a few years back and clearly thoroughly enjoying himself.

Photo of Aveejeet enjoying the Saraighat Express over the Saraighat Bridge

It will look something like this to us

The Saraighat area marks the end point of Moghul expansion in the east of the sub-continent in the 17th century as a result of the Battle Of Saraighat, which wiki can fill you in on if you are dead interested. The locals built a bridge of boats during the battle.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Saraighat

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ahom_Kingdom

We will also be doing the magnificent  new  bridge at Rajahmundry over the sacred waters of the Godavari , which is now the 2nd longest in Asia, behind the Vallarpadam in Goa. There’s a road+rail bridge next to it out of shot, but the new one is rather super in my opinion.

Godavari Bridge, Rajahmundry

Photo by Roopesh Kohad

At the eastern most point of our odyssey we will cross the Brahmaputra at Bogibeel near Dibrugarh by ferry.  The Indian Government are building an incredible bridge here which has been rated as  a project of national importance. There’s some concern about the environmental impact of building this bridge, but it’s nowhere near finished, it certainly wont be ready when we get there.

We’re now looking to do Rameswaram and the Pamban bridge, which while it doesn’t actually hold any absolute records, is one of the most ridiculously get lost piece of engineering on the whole trip.  Rameswaram is  part of a broken peninsula which only a few thousand years ago would have formed a land bridge to Sri Lanka. Indeed the Ramayana claims that Rama built a bridge of stones, known as Rama’s bridge, which satellite photography actually supports.

Visiting Rameswaram means that along with Ghum on the Darjeeling railway which is the highest point on Indian Railways, we’re also doing somewhere which is virtually in the middle of the sea (we couldn’t find anywhere in India that was actually below sea level).

Pamban Bridge, Rameswaram

The Pamban bridge by Kals Pics, on Flickr

The longest bridge in India is the Vallarpadam connecting Kochi (Cochin) and Ernakalum, which we wont actually be doing, but we’ll come almost close enough to wave at it as we roll on up the Konkan railway on the last leg of the journey. If you can understand south Indian dialects, or just dig listening to them, here’s a youtube about it’s construction (I guess) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8XnER0rKyIE

One record breaker we will be doing though is the highest bridge in Asia, the  Panval Viaduct, again on the KR

Panval Viaduct, Konkan Railway

which looks like this from the train

Also on the Konkan, amongst many other bridges and dozens of tunnels, is the splendid Cortalim bridge over the  Zuari in Goa.

Photo by Paulthy

One bridge we wont actually be doing alas , unless I can get some people to undertake a road versus rail challenge, is the Coronation bridge at Sevoke, which was built in the 30’s (don’t you just hate it when people say “built by the British”, I would imagine very little in India was actually built by the Britishers). We’ll be crossing the rail bridge downstream which isn’t quite as Alpine in appearance.

Coronation Bridge, Sevoke

Photo by "Double Bass Player"

Another that we wont be doing is the Chenab bridge. This is mainly because it’s not actually built yet, and also because it’s on the Kashmr line which isn’t connected to the rest of the network, so we get to conveniently ignore that part of Indian Railways without having to admit to being a bunch of sissies who don’t want to risk getting beheaded.  When it’s completed it will be the highest bridge in all Asia. This is what it will look like when it’s done.

Chenab Bridge, Kashmir

Chenab Bridge, Kashmir

Now admit it. You know a lot more about Indian railway bridges than you did 2 minutes ago. Which country in Asia has the longest, the highest, and the most famous railway bridges on the continent ?.

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