September 10, 2017

St. George's Bridge - A heritage bridge of Chennai

If you are from Chennai, you would have definitely traveled via Periyar Bridge, the river bridge which connects Anna Salai of Island Grounds area with the rest of Anna Salai that starts with the Hindu office. Do you know that this bridge which is named after the Dravidian political leader has heritage value?

The East India Company acquired the land that was located in the north west direction of St. George's Fort. They used the land to produce salt. In those days, Madras had a river called Elambore river which has become a part of Buckingham Canal now. The Elambore river and the Cooum river were joined with a channel and thus the land became an island. Later, the land was used for military activities. In order to connect the island with the city, few bridges were built. The bridge which is called as Periyar Bridge is one among them.

It is not known when this bridge was first constructed. The historians believed that the year of construction should be sometime between 1715 CE and 1718 CE. This bridge was built to connect the Island with Triplicane as well as to connect the Fort with St. Thomas Mount. Originally, called as the Triplicane Bridge, it was damaged by floods in 1721 CE. Before completing the repair works, it was damaged again by flood.

In 1746 CE, it appears that the English had brought down the Triplicane bridge when the French army under la Bourdonnais invaded Chennai. In 1805 CE, a new bridge was built in the same location but of a different alignment. It's a beautiful multi arch brick masonry bridge. There are totally eleven arches in this bridge. Now, it was named as St. George's Bridge. For a short period, it was named as Willingdon Bridge. In the late 1970s, the bridge was named after E.V.R.

Happy travelling.

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