ultramarinus – beyond the sea

NINE ARCHES BRIDGE, Ella, Sri Lanka, 2019.12.13

Day 9 (2 of 4).

Also called the Bridge in the Sky, the Nine Arches Bridge in Demodara near Ella is the most well known colonial railway viaduct in Sri Lanka.  The 300 ft long viaduct was built in 1921 by a Ceylonese builder with consultation from British engineers.  Rumours said that steel was not available during construction because of the broke out of World War One.  As a result, the construction was completed using only solid stone and cement.  Today, the Nine Arches Bridge has become a popular tourist attraction thanks to its dramatic setting and its proximity to Ella.

01We followed a sign and reached a quiet path.  A cafe owner came for help and pointed us to a narrow descending path that led to the famous railway bridge.

02Before finding our way down to the bridge, we stopped at a lookout for photographs.  The rumbling sound from afar and the gathering of tourists near the bridge signified that a train was approaching.

03A few times each day, tourists would gather by the bridge to welcome the approaching train.

04At one end of the bridge, we found ourselves taking photos from a tea farm among many other tourists.

05Obviously the bridge spans over the valley with nine arches.

06On top of the Nine Arches Bridge, tourists take pictures from the tracks.

07From the other end of the bridge, we walked uphill to reach another lookout and get a nice look of the bend of the bridge.

08Everyone to and from Ella would need to walk through a railway tunnel.

09Many tourists see walking through the tunnel as a unique experience and a photo opportunity.

10Despite there were only a handful of trains passing through each day, we still had a slightly uncomfortable feeling while walking through the tunnel, as if a train could appear suddenly from the other end.

11Beyond the tunnel, we continued to walk on the tracks for about half an hour.

12Passing by a number of railway signage as we approach Ella.

13At last, Ella station was in sight.

14After all the track walking, we finally saw the sign that everyone, both locals and tourists, ignored, “Walk on the Railway Line is Prohibed.”

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