Nine Arches Bridge

Nine Arches Bridge

The Nine Arches Bridge, also known as the Bridge in the Sky, is a viaduct bridge that connects the Demodara and Ella railway stations in Gotuwala. A trip to Ella would be incomplete if you did not see the iconic Nine Arches Bridge.

BY Palitha Weerawansa
PUBLISHED ON May 8, 2021 | LAST MODIFIED ON May 25, 2021

Stone bridge Ella

The stone train bridge, built by local builders, spans 91 m (300 feet) at a height of 24 m (80 ft) and is located between Ella and Demodara stations.

How to get to the Nine Arch Bridge

You have several options for getting to the train bridge. To get to the famous hilltop viewpoint, take the road towards Little Adam's Peak and turn left at the small colored Hindu temple.

The most direct route is to walk along the track from Ella town until you reach a tunnel. After passing through the tunnel, you will arrive at the Nine Arch Bridge.

The quickest way to get to the Nine Arch Bridge from Ella is to take a tuk-tuk for 300 LKR (2 USD). To save time, ask them to drop you off near the tunnel and walk the remaining distance to the bridge.

Route to Nine Arch Bridge

Train times at the Nine Arch Bridge

Trains pass under the bridge about six times per day. In Sri Lanka, the exact times change all the time, but there should be one every hour. Don't be concerned about having to wait that long. It's a beautiful location for photography, and there are a few small cafes nearby where you can get drinks and food. We recommend that you arrive early in the morning, around 9 a.m.

Best time to visit the Nine Arch Bridge

The best time to visit the Bridge is at sunrise. The light is beautiful, and you can avoid the crowds. By 10 a.m., it is becoming increasingly crowded with tourists, as it is the start of their day trip tour.

History of the Nine Arch Bridge

The most famous story is about a man named P. K. Appuhami, who lived in Melimada's Kappatipola area. Appuhami, who was born in 1870, was a well-known traditional drummer and devil dancer (a ritual dance form). Appuhami was spotted by a British official one day as he returned home glumly after losing a competition. At first, the man was terrified of the devilish apparition (Appuhami was still dressed in his dance costume), but he soon warmed up to him. Appuhami assisted the strange foreigner by supplying him with labor from the local villages after learning that he was in his area to build a railway.

However, the railway construction did not go as planned. They discovered that they couldn't bridge a large gap between the two hills because there was a quagmire in the valley in between. Because of the marshy ground, it was impossible to create firm anchoring. When Appuhami learned of this, he asked to take over the bridge project. While he was initially rejected, they later agreed because he had gained their trust through his assistance and friendship. According to legend, Appuhami began working on the bridge in 1913. He solved the problem of the unstable ground by tossing massive rocks into the air until a firm bed of rocks was formed. He then built the bridge's brick columns over this bed and proceeded with the construction.

Appuhami's construction methods proved to be so intuitive and cost-effective that he completed the entire project, which was supposed to take many years, in a single year at a fraction of the original cost planned. The British officials were so taken aback by the savage's ability to complete such a massive project so quickly that they refused to believe its structural integrity. When the railway line was used for the first time, Appuhami is said to have sworn to the strength of the structure by saying he would prove it by lying under the bridge. When the track was finished, he kept his promise, impressing the officials with his accomplishment.