Pamban Bridge: Interesting Facts About a Century Old Sea Bridge of Rameshwaram

Engineering can make anything possible and Pamban bridge situated at Rameshwaram is the best example of some fine and skilled engineering work. Constructed more than 100 years ago in 1914, Pamban Bridge still a piece of marvelous workmanship. 

Pamban is a town in Rameswaram, Tamil Nadu. It is at the west edge of Pamban Island and is a popular fishing port.  Pamban railway station is the first station on the island for pilgrims traveling to Rameswaram. The 2 Km Long Pamban Bridge connecting Rameswaram island to the mainland. 

Here are 10 Interesting facts about India’s one of the best engineering structures Pamban Bridge:

1. India’s first sea bridge

Rameswaram Pamban Bridge spanning 2.06 km between the mainland and the island. This is an engineering marvel constructed with 143 piers located 12.5 meters (41 ft) above sea level. This is the first bridge in India built over sea. It was the longest sea bridge in India until the opening of the Bandra-Worli Sea Link in 2010.

pamban bridge length

2. Bridge opens up to allow ferry movement

This is the main feature that makes Pamban Bridge more interesting and unique. German engineer Scherzer designed the central part of the bridge that opens up to allow ferry movement and closed to pass the train. Approx 10 to 15 boats and small ships pass beneath the bridge every month.

pamban bridge rameshwaram

3. Commissioned on February 24, 1914

During the British Era, the Plan for a bridge to connect Island to mainland was suggested in 1870. The primary goal of the British Administration to construct Pamban Bridge was to seek ways to increase trade with Sri Lanka or Ceylon. The construction of this bridge began in August 1911 and was opened on 24 February 1914.

Pamban Bridge History

4. Turned 100 in February 2014

Pamban bridge turned 100 in February 2014. Officials of the Southern Railway’s Madurai division organized several programs spread over a month to mark the occasion.

5. Link between Rameswaram and the mainland

Until 1988, This Pamban bridge was the only link between Rameswaram and the mainland. A road bridge running parallel to it was opened in 1988. Earlier, it used to transport hundreds of pilgrims every day to the temple in the island.


6. Survived a major cyclone

During its 100 years of long journey, it faced several cyclones. But In 1964, the bridge survived a major cyclone that flattened Dhanushkodi and damaged the Pamban Bridge too.  

On 23 December 1964, an estimated 7.6 m (25 ft) storm surge struck the island, it swept out the passenger train killing all 150 passengers on board.

Metro Man E Sreedharan, played a major role in bolstering the bridge within 46 days.

7. Shooting Of Movies

Tamil movie Kannathil Muthamittal (2002) was filmed at the Pamban Bridge. Some parts of the Bollywood Movie Chennai Express are too shoot on this bridge.

8. Vying for Unesco’s world heritage list

Pamban bridge was further strengthened in 2009 to enable it to carry goods trains. Indian Railways is vying to bring the bridge in Unesco’s world heritage list.

9. Tourist attraction

Being India’s first sea bridge, it has also become a tourist attraction by itself. People come to watch in awe when the two leaves of the bridge open up to let ships pass through.

10. New Pamban Bridge

The Indian Railway Minister Piyush Goyal announced that a new railway bridge will be constructed near the old Pamban Bridge at a cost of Rs. 280 crores. The project is expected to completed by December, 2021.

This new dual-track bridge is planned to be constructed in automotive mode, allowing two ships to pass this bridge at the same time.  New Pamban bridge will enhance convenience of pilgrims visiting the holy site of Rameswaram. It will be India’s first Vertical Lift Railway Sea Bridge.

How to Reach Pamban Bridge:

By Air

Madurai is the nearest Airport which is around 120 km distance from Ramanathapuram. Thoothukudi is another airport which is around 145 km distance from Ramanathapuram.

By Train

Rameswaram has a railway station which is around 1.3 km from the Ramanathaswamy temple.

By Road

You can find public/private transport from Ramanathapuram and Rameswaram.

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