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Located between Demodara and Ella lies Sri Lanka’s “Bridge in the Sky”. This is one of Sri Lanka’s most iconic and famous Bridges. The Nine Arches bridge forms a Viaduct between the Demodara and Ella Railway Stations. The Bridges Speciality lies with the fact that it is built entirely out of Bricks, Cement and Solid Rocks without a single piece of Steel being used. It is also called “Ahas Namaye Palama”, which translates to nine skies bridge in Sinhala. The Bridge stands at a whopping 3100m above Sea Level.
The famous story of how the bridge came to be starts with a Sri Lankan named P.K.Appuhami. Born in 1870 Appuhami lived in Kappatipola. He was well-renowned ritual devil dancer and a traditional dancer.
One day he was returning home after dancing competition when he met a British Official. Though the British official was scared at first because Appuhami was still in his Devil dancer costume, the two became friends and Appuhami learned that the foreigner was there to construct a railway bridge in between the two mountains. Appuhami then offered his assistance in the matter by supplying the foreigner with labor help from the local villages.
But the construction of the bridge ran into problems when the British found they were unable to figure out a way to bridge the two hills due to the marshy ground in the bottom. After learning this P.K.Appuhami requested to take over the construction of the bridge, though initially rejected he won over there approval by working with them.
Appuhami solution to the marshy ground was to tumble large rocks on top of it to create a firm base. From there he went on to build up the bridges brick columns to finish the bridge. The British were very surprised by Appuhamis work that they doubted the bridges structural integrity. Story tells us that Appuhami swore to prove the bridges structural integrity by standing under it when the railway was first used. And then once the bridge was completed he stayed true to his words and did what he promised.
Appuhami finished the construction of the bridge within one single year at a fraction of the original cost, It is said that after he bravely stood under the bridge when it was used for the first time the Awed British men offered Appuhami the balance of the original construction costs.
If you are planning your vacation to relax and connect with nature it is definitely recommend to Take the train over The Nine Arches Bridge.