Kamatibaug in Vadodara is being restored to its original glory piece by piece. After the revival of the toy train,the musical fountain as well as the duck pond,it is now the turn of the magnificent Suspension Bridge that once stood in the garden that was built and gifted by Maharaja Sayajirao Gaekwad III to the people of the city. The Vadodara Municipal Corporation (VMC) is now in the process of re-designing the bridge that will be constructed on the lines of its original.
The Suspension Bridge at Sayajibaug in Vadodara,which spanned over the Vishwamitri river flowing in a winding path through the park,was the most modern in construction. It was built using the European technology available in the days when Maharaja Sayajirao III had envisioned the park. It is believed that the bridge was damaged part by part and stood only until 1965.
Municipal Commissioner Manish Bharadwaj says the engineering team of VMC is studying the original structure in order to be able to create a design accordingly. The engineers are still in the stage of preparing their drawing after which we will consult external experts to check the feasibility of the model while making it as close to the original as possible, he says.
Bharadwaj says that the new bridge will be very close to its original site. However,it might connect a part of the park to the zoo within the premises of the garden. We will try and connect the park to the zoo once the model is ready. It is in the planning stage and we hope we will be able to begin work soon, he says.
Not many have seen the hanging bridge that is more popularly referred to as the jhoolta pul,which regular users of Kamatibaug speak about. An expert,who has been the caretaker of the garden for several years during his tenure at the corporation,says,No one even found traces of the bridge after 1965. As it was not maintained,it may have fallen apart. The association of morning walkers,who have been campaigning against any commercial exploitation of the park,have joined the VMC in reconstructing the bridge.
Dipak Mehta,who is spearheading the Save Kamatibaug crusade,says,We are happy that these steps are being taken to restore the park to its original glory. The hanging bridge has not been seen by anyone in the last two generations and it will surely be a treat for everyone when it is ready.