- West Bengal
Best Time To Visit
- After Dusk
TThe Bridge of Howrah, spans over the Hooghly river in West Bengal.
Originally, the bridge was known as New Howrah Bridge. Later it was renamed
as Rabindra Setu but till date it is still famous as Howrah Bridge. Standing
majestically over river Hooghly, the Howrah Bridge is very much synonymous
with Kolkata. Ever since its origins as a floating pontoon bridge way back
in 1879 to the eight-laned wonder today, the bridge has kept Kolkatans on
the move. Around 1 lakh vehicles and two million commuters uses the bridge
daily, which has made it the busiest bridge in the world. The rate of only
vehicle traffic over the bridge was 20% more than that on the London Bridge
18th century Calcutta and Howrah on the opposite banks of Hooghly river had
developed well as an economic and cultural centre of the British in India.
Therefore a need for a bridge was felt. So, a floating pontoon bridge was
designed by Sir Brandford Leslie. Construction of the New Howrah Bridge
started in 1937. The Howrah Bridge is the first cantilever suspension bridge
of its type. Its construction involved 26,000 MT of steel work. For certain
technical reasons, aportion of the bridge was made in England and was
shipped to Calcutta where it was assembled on the site itself. While the
bridge was being constructed a great cyclone occurred which partially
destroyed the bridge. This happened in the year 1874.
However the final cost of the bridge construction amounted to £2,500,000.
The 'New Howrah Bridge' opened for the public in 1943. A survey conducted in
1946 found out that the Howrah Bridge is busier than London Bridge and till
date it is the busiest bridge in the world.
Howrah Bridge Now
Howrah Bridge is indeed the Gateway to Kolkata. Originally it was built
with the purpose of facilitating military transportation between Kolkata and
the industrial town of Howrah during World War II. The bridge is 705 metres
long and 97 feet wide. Its best view is from the middle of the river. The
ferries here are another means of crossing the river and view the bridge.
Howrah Bridge was also the title of a Madhubala and Ashok Kumar starer
film.The bridge also has sister bridges over the river at different points,
namely the Vidyasagar Setu and the Vivekanand Setu.
Apart from its utilitarian purposes, the bridge has remained a creative
inspiration for some of the best minds in the business. From Rudyard Kipling
to James Baxter, one of New Zealand's finest poets, the bridge has
encouraged some of the finest works of poetry and prose in the English
With the passage of time, the bridge has grown old and is now facing some
stiff competition. Indeed, some find the second bridge over the Hooghly to
be more majestic.It is the ever increasing slum of Kolkata that is somehow
adding a negativity to the whole beauty of Howrah Bridge. The Hooghly river
has also turned a bit polluted. But 100 years of selfless service to the
people of Kolkata ensures that Howrah remains in a league of its own. Come
to Kolkata and set for a relaxed walk along the bridge and also rejoice
gazing in to the river.
The Ganga from the bridge, particularly in the evening gives a wondrous
view. The rippling waters and the boats are also very inviting. Howrah
Bridge truly is the pride of kolkata and will always remain one.