February 8, 2023 5:36 am

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Suspension Bridges - Adding to the Aesthetic Beauty of U’khand

Suspension bridges continue to be a key attraction for tourists that come to Uttarakhand in significant numbers

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Morbi bridge collapse in Gujarat has put the suspension bridges in the media glare for the wrong reasons, but for Uttarakhand, these trustworthy suspension bridges are a tourism trademark and an excellent means of physical communication atop hilly meandering rivers. 

Adding to the aesthetic beauty of Uttarakhand, Suspension bridges continue to be a key attraction for tourists that come to the state in significant numbers. Hung from metallic wires, these suspension bridges are supported by towers at each end and give an excellent view of the river. Suspension bridges that dot over the Ganges, particularly in the Garhwal region of Uttarakhand have been the lifeline of the villagers that face a tough geographical terrain.

More than a century old Lakshman Jhula of Rishikesh has always stood to be an icon as far as suspension bridges in the country are concerned. Shivananda Jhula, popularly known as Ram Jhula, also in Rishikesh, to the more recently constructed Dobra Chanti Bridge in Tehri, the suspension bridges have been the cynosure of all eyes. 

Identified as the Yoga capital of the world, Rishikesh has always attracted pilgrims domestically and abroad for a long time. Besides the historic Lakshman Jhula, Shivananda Jhula and Janki Bridge have been the other attraction. The recently constructed Janki bridge over the Ganges in Rishikesh, another suspension bridge, has been added to the famed list of suspension bridges. Pilgrims take back home fond memories of these suspension bridges. 

Lakshman Jhula

Identified with Lakshman, the younger brother of Lord Ram, this hanging bridge was initially constructed with jute ropes over the Ganga River. It was later converted into a metallic bridge around 1930. This suspension bridge which is around hundred and thirty-seven meters in length has always been an attraction for tourists. As the bridge has started ageing, efforts are on to restore it taking into account the required safety standards. Due to its age, the bridge has been presently closed for traffic movement and a new suspension bridge is proposed to be built in its close vicinity. 

Shivananda Jhula, popularly known as Ram Jhula

Named after the holy sage of Rishikesh, Shivananda Jhula is another major suspension bridge over Ganga in Rishikesh. The doctor turned Saint, Swami Shivananda was a philanthropist and internationally acclaimed spiritual preacher, who worked for the betterment of mankind for a long. This two-hundred-twenty-eight-meter-long bridge over the Ganges is two kilometres downstream to Laxman Jhula. It is also known as Ram Jhula. Lord Rama, the elder brother of Laxman. The bridge connects Muni Ke Reti with Swargashram and was constructed with the help of the Shivananda Ashram Divine Life Society in 1980. 

Janki Setu

This is the latest bridge to be added to the list of suspension bridges in Rishikesh. The third suspension bridge over Ganga in Rishikesh is named after Goddesses Janki, wife of Lord Ram. The bridge again links Muni Ke Reti with Swargashram and is over the Ganga river. It is in close proximity to Ram Jhula. It has pathways meant for both pedestrians and two-wheelers. This two hundred seventy-four meters long bridge was inaugurated in 2020. 

Dobra Chanti 

It is certainly an engineering marvel in the country. The nation’s longest motorable suspension bridge is in the Tehri district of Uttarakhand. Dobra Chanti suspension bridge connects Pratapnagar town with the district headquarters at New Tehri and is constructed over Tehri lake of the famous Tehri Dam. Inaugurated in 2020, this 725-meter-long, Dobra Chanti suspension bridge continues to be a major source of tourist attraction. 

Bajrang Bridge ( Construction in progress) 

It is another suspension bridge proposed over Ganges river, which will come in close vicinity to Laxman Jhula. As the very nomenclature suggests, the bridge is named after Lord Hanuman. It will be the first glass-floored bridge in the state. State-of-the-art technology is expected to be put to use for the construction of this suspension bridge, which is expected to be completed next year in 2023. 

Jhula Pul Ramnagar

Another famous suspension bridge of Kumaon. This over-a-hundred-year-old bridge is over the Kosi River. It falls near the famous Garjiya temple. The bridge is a big tourist attraction as it also falls near the tiger-famous Corbett National Park. The bridge is a bird watchers’ delight due to its sylvan surroundings. 

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Jotirmay Thapliyal
Jotirmay Thapliyal

The writer has over two decades of experience in journalism that includes long stints with The Tribune and The Pioneer. Has acumen for political reporting. Keeps a passion for covering forests, wildlife and environment.

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