Neriamangalam-bridge, the gateway to high ranges is a picturesque historical destination offering wonderful sights of lower areas of Ernakulam and high ranges of Idukki. The bridge was built in 1935 during the time of Travancore Maharaja and is a gateway to the high ranges of Idukki.
Neriamangalam-Bridge, Ernakulam District
The place is a village in Ernakulam district in the Indian state of Kerala, is on the banks of Periyar River. It is on the border of Ernakulam and Idukki districts. Agriculture is the predominant occupation in this area.
History – Neria Mangalam Bridge
This is the first Arch bridge in south India. The construction of the bridge started in 1924 during the reign of Sethu Lakshmi Bhai, the ruler of Travancore. Sri Chithira Thirunal Rama Varma opened the bridge for public on 2nd march of 1935
The first route from Kochi to Munnar was through the Pooyamkutty and Mankulam. All the goods including the spices from the High Range were brought to the Kochi via this road. In the heavy rains and floods of 1924, the road was collapsed.
This led to the loss of trade relations between Kochi and Munnar. Later, Sethu Lakshmi Bai, queen of Travancore ordered to build a new road between Aluva to Munnar and make bridge over the Periyar river at Neria mangalam. The construction work was completed in 10 years with the help of native people. The bridge was built in the name of Sethu Lakshmi Bai.
The Neriamangalam-Bridge, built across the Periyar river, is often referred as ‘The Gateway to the Highranges’ as it is on the way to the higher regions of Idukki district, especially Munnar. His Highness the Maharaja of Travancore made the bridge on 1935.
Highest Average Rainfall Area
Nariamangalam gets the highest average rainfall in the state of Kerala.
Now the bridge is a part of National Highway 49 which leads to Dhanushkodi in Tamil Nadu. The area gets the highest average rainfall in the state of Kerala. So this place aptly hailed as ‘The Cherrapunjee of Kerala’. The nearest town is Kothamangalam, which is about 17.6 km from Nariamangalam-Bridge.
Neria Mangalam-Ranikkallu (Queen’s Rock)
Ranikkallu (Queen’s Rock) is just after this Bridge on the way to Munnar. Here is the first hairpin bend (Switchback) on the road to Munnar. It’s a stone pillar with memorial plaques giving details of this road’s construction.
Work on the High Range Road started in 1928 and opened to traffic by the then Regent of Travancore, Maharani Sethu Lakshmi Bai, in 1931. Part of the erstwhile Aluva – Munnar Road is now National Highway – 49.
Aerial Photography: Chinju V B