Architectural splendour during The Great War, Nine Arch Bridge , Ella - Sri Lanka

Famous train journey from Kandy to Badulla is knows as one of the most beautiful train rides in the world. After visit glorious Sigiriya Rock,My kids wanted to go by train instead of a car because they would love to see beautiful waterfalls, tea estates and many more things through the opened windows. Sri Lanka doesn’t have a shortage of natural beauty.Not the like Sydney trains and Metro trains, In Sri Lanka people can sit on the carriage steps or hang out the door for photographs and for fun.We took our train called "Denuwara Menike"at Peradeniya station at 9.20am. 

After several hours journey,train stopped at Ella station at 3.30pm. We stayed a hotel close to the station and next day a vehicle was hired and went to see the top of our bucket list marvelous masterpiece Nine Arch Bridge.

The Nine Arch bridge is very close to the Ella town. Access to the place is not that much hard,you can do rail walk from Ella town. But with kids it would not be easy. There are many ways getting the bridge. We took about a 15 min hike uphill from the gravel road. Another way is the foot path through the jungle. It also just 15min walk to the bridge.

We walked along the railway track and visited the Nine Arch Bridge. Brilliant view especially with the train track. As the name says,its built using massive 9 arches and spans across an area of over 90 meters having an elevation of 25 meters.

Demodara Railway Station

The glorious Nine Arch Bridge between Ella and Demodara station is one of the Sri Lankan engineering marvels of the early 20th century. This bridge is almost 100 years old, has been built with blocks of stone sand and cement without a single piece of steel or concrete. It is located 3100 feet above the sea level, this 99.6ft high bridge is called "Bridge in the Sky" as well.

Beauty of the Bridge. 
Breathless! The gorgeous views in the Hill country are amazing! You can take hundreds of pictures from different angels ,there is a tea plantation as well. This bridge is a masterpiece of the Victorian era. I was wonder how they built that.This is one of Ella's most visited attractions.

It is a very picturesque spot provides a panoramic view of the surrounding area. This is a very good place for the people who love adventure and photography. The structure is amazing and it is worth spending time walking around.

We were not lucky enough to see a train cross the bridge but we did enjoy the walk across. Village man said just went the train before we reach there.

The Nine Arch Bridge is definitely one of the most iconic places from Sri Lanka and busiest place. But even so,you shouldn't miss it.

Definitely, you will get wondering perspective of how tall and extremely beautiful the Nine Arch Bridge actually is when you are standing under the nine arches.

Story of The Nine Arch Bridge.

There is a popular story to say. Local Sri Lankan (Ceylonese) Builder P.K. Appuhami was credited to be the main architecture of the bridge supported by British Engineers. He was born in 1870 and born and bread in Kappatipola area in Welimada. Appuhami was a traditional drummer and devil dancer (a ritual dancer).

One day, while returning home in devil dance costume, he happened to see a British officer and that officer was extremely frightened by the devilish apparition.

Sri Lankan Devil Dancers

Appuhami had introduced himself and the strange foreigner realized it was a man who wearing a costume.But later a relationship was built up between them and Appuhami agreed to help the construction of the railway by supplying labors to the Officer from local villages.

When the construction commenced on the bridge,The World War (I) began between the Europe empires and the steel assigned for this site was reallocated to Britain's War related projects at the battlefront. As a result,the work came to a standstill, leading the locals to build the bridge with stones, bricks and cement ,but without steel.

They realized that they were unable to joint a large gap between two hills without steel. It was not possible to create firm anchoring, due to the marshy ground. Securely anchoring the columns of a bridge to the ground was issue.After many failures, Appuhami requested to take over the bridge project. After rejecting the first time, they finally agreed to hand over this massive task to Appuhami.

He has started work around 1913 and got his men to topple large rocks to this gap until they filled up the bottom and then he has built the brick columns on this rock bed. He completed the work within an year and the cost of construction was lower than estimated. The British officials were so shocked that the local heroes had finished such a huge project so easily But Britishers refused to believe its structural integrity of the bridge.

At this point Appuhami sworn the strength of the structure and he assured that he will lie down under the bridge on the first train voyage across this and he was said to kept to the promise when the railway line was first commissioned. This huge nine arches and solid construction, is one of the proofs of Sri Lankans skills and technology.

The bridge is located right in the centre of the jungle and beautiful tea plantations.The locals sell king coconut and tea. There is a little cafe near the bridge as well. You can enjoy delicious Ceylon tea and corn on the cob while waiting for the train. My kids wanted to taste king coconut and they shared it with me and my hubby, it was so refreshing.

We had such a lovely time at the bridge.The Nine Arch Bridge is one of the must watch places if you in Ella. I enjoyed every minute of the walk along the rail track and through the tunnel. Another special thing is no entrance fee to this place and you can spend time there as much as you want.

I had always wanted to visit the Nine Arch Bridge but never had the opportunity but in December 2019 my family with my parents went to Ella and Badulla to visit hill country beauty. Though I have been waiting to see this for a long time and did not disappoint. The Ella Nine Arch Bridge became more popular and very famous for its similarity with the bridge towards Hogwarts in Harry Potter movies. Well worth a visit to appreciate this amazing bridge and the architectural wonder.

Demodara train loop

Train comes to the station after the loop

When you walk towards Demodara Station from Ella there is a nice train loop back under the station. If you want to see the loop nicely, you have to be there when the train is coming. Demodara Loop is a spiral railway loop that has been called “Civil Engineering Wonders" of Sri Lanka Railways. Here you can see the train passing from one side, making a loop around the mountain and then reappearing from the other side.

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Before you go

  • The best time to be there is when the train is passing. So check the train schedule before you go.There is a trains schedule on the trees around to help you make unforgettable pictures with a train on the bridge.

  • Take water if it’s a warm day and wear shoes appropriate for uneven, muddy,steep terrain.

  • If you do train traveling with kids, don’t let them change between carriages as they can easily topple.

  • Don't forget a good camera!!!

  • When you have a chance go there early so you can enjoy it for yourself without crowd.

  • Walking on the railway tracks is fine but please be careful.


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