Whenever anyone visits Kolkatta or even mentions Kolkatta, Two things comes in our mind One is Howrah Bridge and another one is Rasogulla. One is important for travelers another one for dessert lovers. Howrah Bridge tops the list of places to see in the city of Joy. With the changing times, many things are changed like landline phone changed to mobile, bullock carts and trams of yesteryears have been succeeded by SUVs cars, metro trains, AC buses, Luxury cars but still, not a single thing changed about Gateway of Kolkatta, Howrah Bridge. Every true blooded Kolkattan calls it Howrah Bridge. Howrah Bridge a National Architectural icon, is a massive steel structure considered as a 6th longest cantilever bridge of its type.The bridge was originally named ‘new Howrah bridge’ because it replaced a pontoon bridge at the same location. It was renamed as Rabindra Setu after the Bengali poet Rabindra Nath Tagore famous first Indian and Asian Nobel Laureate. It extends across the Hooghly river and connects Kolkatta and Howrah, main railway station of the city and busiest railway station of India. Howrah bridge or Rabindra Setu is a popular symbol of Kolkatta and West Bengal.
History of Howrah Bridge:
How It began:
Before the Howrah bridge, there was a proposal to build suspended girder bridge Many options considered like a tunnel, floating bridge, arched bridge and transport4ers bridge.
Origins of Howrah Bridge:
Origins of structure can be traced back to 1871 although original construction started in the 20th century. With the passage of Howrah bridge act Govt of Bengal took the decisive step to construct permanent crossing at river Hooghly.
Prior to construction of this architectural marvel, a pontoon bridge stood rather floated at this site. This bridge has limited load carrying capacity so this bridge was eventually replaced.
Impact of World War 11:
Initial construction stalled due to world war 1st. global tenders were invited and lowest bid quoted by a German company.Due to increased hostilities, their tender canceled instead tender awarded to India’s Braithwaite Burn and Jessop Construction Company Limited.
Building the Howrah Bridge:
Construction of bridge took 6 years, starting in 1936. The bridge was finally opened to the public a year after its completion 1943. Construction of Howrah Bridge was much ahead of its time.Very few people are aware that during world war 11, in 1942, a bomb was dropped on Bridge, but it missed the target.
10 Amazing facts about Howrah Bridge:
The bridge attracts tourists for numerous reasons.
1.It’s in the Top Ten list:
The Howrah bridge stretches across 705 meters and width of 71 feet, not including 14 feet footpath on both sides. At the time of construction, Howrah bridge is 3rd longest cantilever bridge in the world. Now in 2018, it’s 6th longest bridge of its type in the world.
It is a cantilever bridge that spans over Hooghly river. A cantilever bridge is that which is constructed using cantilevers, structures that project horizontally into space and supported only on one end.
3. Without nuts and bolts:
It is hard to believe but it is a fact. the timeless bridge spread across the river Hooghly doesn’t have a single nut bolt and screw to join huge metal formations. The gigantic metal bridge was constructed by riveting metal shafts.
The bridge deck hangs from panels points with 39 pairs of hangers. Yes, it is a hanging bridge. There are no pillars in between the bridge despite being the 6th longest bridge of its type in the world. amazing isn’t it?
5. First Crossing:
The first transport which completed the journey across Hooghly river on the newly opened bridge is Tram. Use of tram was discontinued on the route from 1993 because of heavy load on the bridge.
6. Forgotten Tribute:
In honor of First Asian Nobel Laureate, Rabindranath Tagore the bridge was renamed as Rabindra Setu in 1965. Bengalis are immensely proud of their heritage and cherish memories of Tagore that’s why this is named after Rabindra Nath Tagore by our government. But still, Howrah Bridge is more convenient and tribute is forgotten mostly by people.
India had proved its brilliance in the world and Howrah bridge is standing tall to speak volumes about it.Since its birth over 100 years ago, Tata steel is very much a part of India history and heritage being at the forefront of India’s industrial revolution.With almost 90% of the steel used on the bridge being manufactured by Tata Steel, Howrah Bridge is the testament to innovation and steely determination. Out of 26500 tonnes of steel, Tata Steel provided 23500 tonnes of steel made exact to British specifications. Tata Steel created TISCROM, India’s first high tensile steel after breakthrough research and manufacturing ingenuity.
8. Record Breaking Traffic:
Apart from bearing stormy weather of bay of Bengal region, It successfully bears a daily weight of a traffic of 150,000 vehicles and possibly more than 4000,000 pedestrians. Steamers boats run under this iconic Howrah Bridge from one side of the Hooghly river to other.This traffic count makes it busiest cantilever bridge of the world. Eight lanes of the bridge carry buses, cars, auto rickshaw, all sort of two-wheelers, taxis, pedestrians and animals across the bridge making it one of the fascinating experiences to be had on a bridge.
9.Renovation of bridge:
Since its inception, Kolkatta port trust is the custodian of the bridge. It carries out elaborate repair and maintenance work for the restoration of the bridge. Rabindra Setu painted by KoPT in December 2004. 26500 liters of aluminum paint used to paint a surface area of 22 lakh square feet. On October 2008, 6 high-tech surveillance cameras were placed to monitor the entire structure at different places on Howrah bridge.
The bridge has been not only a part of history, literature, and art but also a significant part of popular culture be it commercial cinema magazine art, or caricature.The Howrah bridge has been shown in numerous films from different languages like Hindi Bengali Tamil Malayalam such as DoBigha Jameen, Howrah Bridge, China Town, Teen Deviyan, Yuva, world-famous films Richard Attenborough Gandhi, Paar, Raam Teri Ganga Maili, City of joy, Bengali Night, Shadow of time.The list is never ending and still goes on.
11. 75th anniversary or Platinum jubli of bridge:
On February, 2018,8 Howrah bridge celebrated its platinum Jubli. To mark the 75th anniversary Kolkatta port Trust has announced that there will be soon thousands of LED lights decorate the Bridge. There will be different shades of light on different days of the week.
Famous Mullick ghat Flower Market:
The biggest flower market of Kolkatta and West Bengal located on the south-east of Howrah Bridge. This 130-year-old flower market lies beneath the Howrah bridge. This Flower market is business Mecca for flower marketeers across Bengal.
Places to see around the Howrah Bridge:
1.Kolkatta Port Trust
4.Howrah Railway Station
6. Botanical Garden
10. Millineum Park
13. Birla Planetarium
20.Kali temple of Dakhsineshwer
22. Mahabodhi Society
23. Marble Palace
24. Nakhoda Mosque
25.St Paul’s Church
Howrah Bridge is considered Gateway of Kolkatta. This iconic bridge is the photographers delight never disappoints anyone be it amateur or an experienced lensman. On its 75th anniversary, Kolkatta port trust decorated the bridge with banners everywhere. Currently, Howrah bridge is lit up every day at 6 pm in the evening and the lights are slowly dimmed towards the night.The construction of Howrah Bridge was much ahead of its time.The iconic bridge completes its 75 years of bridging generations on February 3, 2018. the Howrah bridge changed the skyline of Kolkatta even as it becomes an iconic symbol of the city of joy.
Address: Howrah, West Bengal, 700001
Total Length: 705 meters
width: 71 ft (21.6 m) with two footpaths of 15 ft (4.6 m) on either side
Height: 82 m (269.0 ft)
construction completed: 3 February 1943
Location: Howrah, Kolkatta, West Bengal
Crosses: Hoogly river
Managed by: Kolkata Port trust
Design: suspension type balanced cantilever and truss arch