Since times immemorial bridges have made man overcome obstacles. Today, they are more than just natural and man-made wonders. For, travellers acknowledge them as destinations for pleasure and adventure too.
India too has its own set of such breathtaking spans, some formed by nature, while others have been built by man himself. TripAdvisor, the world’s largest travel site, brings you a list of highly rated bridges ranked based on reviews and opinions from TripAdvisor travellers.
Double-Decker Living Root Bridges, Cherrapunjee The bridges on the lower reaches of the Khasi and Jaintia hills in Meghalaya are actually extended branches of a species of the Indian Rubber tree that thrives in this warm and humid region. The trees are so adaptable that despite fast-flowing rivers and high soil erosion, they flourish, sending their roots down to the river bed. A TripAdvisor traveller describes the living marvels: “In all my travels, I have never, ever seen anything that so perfectly combines tradition and technology. It was well worth the grueling day-long trek. My only regret is not staying there longer.”
Bandra-Worli Sea Link, Mumbai As a structure, the Bandra-Worli Sea Link is likened with 'Frisco's Golden Gate; in terms of utility, the Sea Link is part of the West Island Freeway Project to de-congest Mumbai's western coastline. It opened in 2009. Mumbaikers have waited for this bridge for a long time, but the experience and the time it saves today has been worth while. As TripAdvisor travellers say: "... Awesome… to drive by at night with the bridge all illuminated and sparkling... It is (the) most wonderful place in Mumbai. We feel we are swimming on the Arabian Sea. Even the air is wonderful and refreshing."
Howrah Bridge, Kolkata If you are travelling to Kolkata by train, the Howrah Bridge (or Rabinra Setu) is the first sight you will catch of a city seeped in its British-era history and modernity. A Wonder of India, the bridge spans the River Hooghly and bears testimony to the engineering brilliance of the Raj era. It is the world’s sixth-longest cantilever truss bridge -- with no pillar or nuts and bolts in between. According to TripAdvisor travellers, it is “a memory of old Calcutta maintained beautifully till date... Amazing to see how it was built when no major cranes or mechanical means were available!" A dusk visit to the bridge, with the shimmering lights of the city reflected on the river, little boats at a distance, and the flower markets underneath the bridge is a must-have experience.
Annai Indira Gandhi Road Bridge, Rameswaram Locally, it is known as Pamban Bridge, connecting the holy island city of Rameswaram in Tamil Nadu to rest of India. Driving down the bridge is an experience in itself, with water and beach on both sides of the tail-end of the road. There is a parking ban on the bridge but travellers often stop by to behold fleets of local fishing boats riding the blue waters of the Gulf of Mannar. TripAdvisor travellers say the bridge is the “most beautiful spot in India... The view of the Bay of Bengal and Rameswaram is mind-blowing... a breathtaking view... you see Palash eagles gliding with the fierce sea breeze gracefully and periodically taking a plunge to catch a fish”.
Laxman Jhula, Rishikesh Another engineering marvel, the suspended iron bridge was built in 1939 between two places that Lakshman -- Lord Rama’s younger brother -- is said to have crossed the Ganga on jute ropes. There’s a panoramic view of the mighty river that the bridge gives. Lakshman Jhula marks the old route to the shrines of Badrinath and Kedarnath some kilometers away. “… love crossing the bridge on foot so that I can feel the sway. Also, the Ganga provides a great pastime... gives a marvelous view of the river, ghats across both sides and of the hills. While crossing just stop for a minute… feel the vibrations of the bridge... a thrilling experience,” say TripAdvisor travellers.
Saraighat Bridge, Guwahati The rail-cum-road, two-tier bridge over the Brahmaputra connects the Northeast to the rest of the country. It celebrated its Golden Jubilee only last year. The bridge derives its name from a place on the north bank of the Brahmaputra, famous for the battle between the Mughals and the Ahoms in 1671. Despite its age and the huge volume of vehicular traffic it endures, an IIT-Guwahati study has found the bridge’s all 11 pillars stable and strong. TripAdvisor travellers suggest a visit to the bridge during sunrise or sundown: “The beautiful view of the river and nearby mountains makes it worthwhile; especially, when the sun is about to go down, and the sky changes its color to all forms of different shades.”
Mathur Aqueduct, Kanyakumari Mathur Aqueduct or Thottipallam (literally, hanging bridge) is result of the Sixties’ drought relief measures in Tamil Nadu. One of the highest and longest such man-made marvels in Asia and voted one of the Seven Wonders of India, the aqueduct over River Parazhiyar has awesome sights of the Mathur hamlet. The bridge is not far from Kanyakumari, the Thripparappu water fall and the 16th Century Padmanabhapuram Palace in Thuckalay across the border in Kerala. TripAdvisor travellers acknowledge the bridge: “While walking on the bridge, you feel that you are walking in heaven! A must-visit place. The breeze… is so good and the scene totally green that you hate to leave the place.”
Mahanadi Barrage, Cuttack The barrage is significant in controlling floods and providing water to Odisha’s former capital, the chief attraction being a road bridge giving passers-by a spectacular view of a gushing Mahanadi. According to a TripAdvisor traveller, “If you happen to have a look (at the river) during the floods, especially in July, Jannat is the word.” The bridge is close to the Bhattarika Temple, a pilgrimage destination with Puranic significance, and is famous as a picnic spot. A traveller says the Mahanadi Barrage is a haven for food lovers, with “local snacks available with a number of hawkers” and “a variety of fresh fish being sold on the pavements of the road bridge”.
Coronation Bridge, Siliguri Part of India’s colonial history, the bridge signifies the coronation of King George VI in 1937. Spanning River Teesta with Darjeeling and Jalpaiguri on either ends, the striking pink structure is also known as Bagh Pool and Sevoke Bridge. There have been calls to declare the Coronation Bridge a heritage site as it is one of the few remaining spandrel-arch bridges, an architectural design dating back to the Roman Empire, in the country. TripAdvisor travellers say the bridge is an “excellent example of British design and architecture”. They say a view of the Teesta, “from either side of the bridge… is really awesome! When you look at the valleys, it feels like you have come in some exotic international location”.
⁺The ranking was determined based on the highest average rating of all the attractions listed as bridges on TripAdvisor.
Check out the photographs of these places taken by TripAdvisor travellers at: