Monday, January 9, 2017

Views from the iconic Pamban Bridge in Rameshwaram

I must have been half sleepy when I was suddenly jolted to a wake by the commotion in my train compartment. As I opened my eyes and looked around trying to gauge what the noise was all about, I saw more than half of the people sticking their heads out of the window. My dad meanwhile, in all his boyish excitement, was trying his best to draw my attention – Look, Pamban Bridge!

I immediately craned my neck towards the window and gazed in awe outside. Like a beaming lady immaculately groomed in blue, she looked tremendously powerful waving gracefully and welcoming us all in, in her comforting appearance.

Soaking in...
the experience of travelling over the Rameshwaram sea.

View from the Panbam Railway Bridge from the train to Rameshwaram
Yes, it is that close!

I rushed towards the door, camera in hand, my brother tugging along, in the hope of catching a better glimpse. To our happy surprise, we found the entire door to ourselves for all the time spanning the length of India's first sea bridge and only second in length after Bandra-Worli sea link in Mumbai.

Rameshwaram sea from the Panbam Railway Bridge - train to Rameshwaram
This is how she looked from the Pamban Railway bridge.

We stood there, thrilled to have experiencing a travel on the Pamban railway bridge - an architectural marvel, a historic wonder - up close and personal, in sheer silence as if complimenting the serene beauty of the waters expanding beyond our view towards the horizons, enthusiastically admiring the shimmering riches from the concrete mass held closely in its lap by the deep blue sea.

The 2.06 km long cantilever bridge on the Palk Strait was thrown open to traffic in 1914 and despite suffering a setback for the first time in December 1964, when a severe cyclonic storm hit this part of the area is still going strong, providing the much needed rail connectivity to the pilgrim centre of Rameshwaram.

On the trail of exploring the town of Rameshwaram, we revisited our feelings of awe and wonder once again, this time by stepping foot on its relatively modern counterpart – the road bridge which was opened way later in 1988. It was terribly cloudy that day but the rain Gods showed mercy so that we could enjoy a rain free viewing experience! Here are a few snaps captured that day from the road bridge captioned with fun facts related to this iconic bridge.

View of the Panbam Railway Bridge from the road bridge in Rameshwaram

The 'Pamban bridge' today refers to both - 
the road bridge and the cantilever railway bridge -
though primarily it means the latter.

The Panbam Road Bridge, Rameshwaram

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

The first sea bridge and second longest in India - Panbam Bridge,  Rameshwaram

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.

Panbam Railway cantilever bridge,  an architectural marvel in Rameshwaram

The rail bridge is for the most part, a conventional bridge resting on concrete piers, but has a double leaf bascule section midway,
which can be raised to let ships and barges pass through.

View from the Panbam Bridge in Rameshwaram

This bridge is located at the "world's second highly corrosive environment",
next to Miami, US, making the construction a challenging job.
The location is also a cyclone-prone high wind velocity zone.

A guava seller on the Panbam Road Bridge, Rameshwaram

And here's the traveller tip: While you are at the Pamban bridge - all excited catching a glimpse of the Pamban Railway bridge and the views beyond, don't forget to buy some guavas from this man - the experience couldn't have been complete without this delightful bite!

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