Historical bridges remind Srinagar of its splendid past

March 30th, 2008 - 4:09 pm ICT by admin  

By Suhail Ahmad

Srinagar, Mar 30 (ANI): Once known as the city of seven bridges, Srinagar is now left with only two historic bridges.

The bridges connected various parts of the city on either side of the Jhelum river. In the annals of Srinagar , these seven bridges were Amira Kadal, Haba Kadal, Fateh Kadal, Zaina Kadal, Aali Kadal, Nawa Kadal and Safa Kadal.

The two remaining historical bridges, Zaina Kadal and Haba Kadal remind us about the saga of architecture and construction material of yore.

Looking at the two surviving bridges, people wonder as to how these massive bridges of wood were constructed.

According to certain historians, expansion of Srinagar commenced in the 14th century and till then people lived on only one side of the river Jhelum .

The then ruler of Kashmir Zain-ul-Abideen felt the need for expanding his capital to the other side of the river.

Over the tyears, rulers built seven grand bridges locally known as ‘Kadals’. While these bridges were the lifelines for the residents of the city, they turned out to be architectural monuments.

The historic bridges of Kashmir were constructed by inter lacing wooden logs, a very rare sight these days.

All bridges of ancient style that still exists in Kashmir are similar in construction with pillars made of trunks of Deodar trees driven into the bed of the river with tons of stone and rocks dropped around them.

“The indigenous technology of interlacing of wood for construction of a bridge is very interesting in erstwhile Nalamar (link canal) there were brick bridges. Wood is not so popular or so common for rivers but in case of Jhelum wood was used as a preferred material or medium for construction. As a result these bridges came up,” said Saleem Beig, Convenor, INTACH (Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage), Kashmir Chapter.

Residents consider that the bridges have their own importance like any other monuments built by the Mughals or other rulers in India .

“These bridges hold a lot of importance like the ‘Patthar Masjid’ made in Srinagar . Earlier on the left or right side of the massive bridge we could witness big boats and the beauty was unparalleled,” recalled Farooq Ahmed, a resident from the vicinity of Zaina Kadal.

People lament that most of these historical structures crumbled either due to negligence or the need to replace them with modern concrete bridges to meet growing demands of increasing population. (ANI)

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