Happy Birthday ‘Dear Howrah Bridge’

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Kolkata: Kolkata’s iconic Howrah Bridge, which was commissioned 75 years ago Feb 3, witnessed a unique tribute on its birthday on this day. City celebrates their dear birthday Bridge’s Day.

Commissioned in 1943, it was a replacement of the pontoon bridge linking Kolkata and Howrah, over the river Hooghly. It was the fourth longest cantilever suspension bridge in the world at the time.

It stretches for 2,150 feet and rises up to 280 feet from its foundation and ranks as the sixth longest bridge in the world now. The landmark finds mention in English author Rudyard Kipling’s works. Filmmaker Shakti Samanta’s cult movie was named after the 26,500 tonne structure that ferries a lakh of vehicles everyday.

Kolkata’s famous symbol, the Howrah Bridge, was built by The Braithwaite Burn and Jessop Construction Company Ltd. The suspended cantilever structure, designed by Mr. Walton of M/s Rendel, Palmer & Triton, is an engineering marvel. The anchor arm of the bridge is 325 feet, and the length of each pillar is 468 feet.

Today, the bulk traffic comprises of cars and buses. Carrying more than 150,000 pedestrians, and approximately 100,000 vehicles on a daily basis, the Howrah Bridge, unarguably qualifies as the busiest cantilever bridge in the world.

The majestic Howrah Bridge has inspired several filmmakers to exhibit it in their films. Some of the movies that featured the Howrah bridge are Oscar award winner Satyajit Ray’s Parash Pathar, Rajesh Khanna starrer Amar Prem, Roman Polanski’s China Town, Mrinal Sen’s National Award winning Bengali movie, Calcutta 71, Academy Award-nominated film Lion, and Richard Attenborough’s Academy Award-winning film Gandhi among many others.

The glory and grandeur of the magnificent Howrah Bridge can be best viewed if visitors take a ferry ride from Kolkata to Howrah. To put it succinctly, Howrah Bridge is not only the pride of Kolkata, but a symbol by which the city is recognized around the world.

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