Train tours in the highlands of Sri Lanka, is rated as one of the best train tours in the world.And of course, the majestic Nine Arch Bridge is one of the many reasons for that. The glorious Nine Arch Bridge between Ella and Demodara station is one of the engineering marvels in the early 20th century.This bridge, which is almost 100 years old, has been built with blocks of stone and cement without any strengthening iron or concrete. The giant arches take the bridge on a curved path to link to mountains. The Bridge was commissioned in 1921 under the British Government.
The bridge was built at Gotuwala between the Ella and Demodara stations during the British Colonial period. Locally it is known as ‘Ahas Namaye Palama’ meaning nine Skies Bridge in Sinhala. The name derives from the visual experience. When you stand below the bridge and look up you can see the sky through the nine arches.
The unique part about this bridge is that it is built entirely from rocks, bricks, and cement with no use of steel or metals throughout the structure. The bridge was commissioned in 1941 and the story goes that as the bridge was being planned World War I broke out. The steel and metal materials destined to be used in the bridge were reassigned to be used for military purposes. The materials were then gathered in the form of rocks, bricks, and cement to make sure the bridge construction still went ahead.
How to get to the Nine Arch Bridge in Ella
The bridge is actually quite close to the main street in Ella town. A tuk-tuk will take you there for 200 rupees or you can enjoy the walk through the jungle for 20 or so minutes. You can access from either side of the railway. The side we came down meant we had to trek down for 10-15 minutes as there was no tuk-tuk access but if you aren’t up for the trek and adventure you can literally get dropped right at the bridge in a tuk-tuk. With so many epic spots like the Nine Arch Bridge spread out over Sri Lanka, it will be my best advice to plan your trip in advance with a guide like this 10-day Sri Lanka Itinerary.
The bridge is actually close to the main street in Ella town. A tuk-tuk will take you there for 200 rupees.
You can enjoy the walk through the jungle for 20 or so minutes from Ella Town
BEST TIME TO VISIT
Sunrise is the best time to visit the Bridge. The light is stunning and you avoid the crowds. By 10 AM, it is getting busier with tourists since it is the start of their day trip tour.
TRAIN PASSES VIEW
Trains pass the bridge about 6 times a day. The exact times change all the time in Sri Lanka but there should be one every hour. Don’t worry that you have to wait that long. It’s a great place to photograph and there are small cafes where you can buy drinks and food. We recommend you to get there in the morning, around 9 AM.
REQUEST FOR VISITORS
Ella is popular among many people for its echo-liveliness and the calm-countryside atmosphere. So help us protect the area by being responsible on your visit.
Please make sure you don’t throw all those plastic bottles, food wrappers here and there. Bring trash bags and pack out everything you bring in so it can be disposed in an appropriate place. And don’t just stop with your own trash.