A Visit to Nine Arch Bridge
The Nine Arch Bridge is a man-made masterpiece conveniently located a few kilometres from the bungalow and is one of the most celebrated attractions in the country (you have probably come across images when planning your holiday). Built 3,100m above sea level, amidst the Central Highlands, the Nine Arch viaduct forms a crossing between the Demodara and Ella Railway stations.
The route from Demodara to Nanu Oya (in Nuwara Eliya) is considered by some as the most picturesque train ride in the world! Visiting the bridge is a unique experience and a beautiful place to take pictures, but it also has an interesting story behind it. The bridge was planned in the 1920s when the British ruled Sri Lanka. However, British engineers ran into a major shortage of steel due to WW1 and could not continue. In stepped P.K Appuhamy, a local, who told them that he would build the bridge using local artisanal knowledge, and materials like cement and rock. And so, he built the bridge in half the time and at a fraction of the cost and surprised everyone. However, the British engineers were quite sceptical of the soundness of the structure because it had been built without an ounce of steel.
To attest to the strength of the structure P.K. Appuhamy is recorded to have said that he will lie at the bottom of the bridge when the first train rode across. The bridge is now over a hundred years old and spans 91 metres. The train tracks that pass across the bridge are the same tracks that lead up to the famous ‘Demodera Loop’, which you can see from the comfort of the pool deck at Nine Skies. The best time to visit is early in the morning when it is less crowded, or when a train is scheduled to pass over the bridge. It is a lot busier at this time, but you can get some great pictures of the famous Yakada Yakaor ‘Iron Devil’ steam train. Fun Fact: The bungalow’s name is a nod to the nine-arch viaduct, through which it is possible to see ‘nine skies’ when looking up through the arches.