The news of the closure of the 96-year-old Lakshman Jhula, the iconic suspension bridge across the Ganga, has come as a disappointment for the local residents as well as the tourists since it is one of the most visited sites in the town. The Uttarakhand government has ordered the immediate closure of the Lakshman Jhula in Rishikesh after a PWD report stated that the bridge is in a distressed state, which may lead to a mishap.
However, the closure can pose a challenge to the local administration in managing pilgrims during the upcoming Kanwar Yatra, which begins on July 17.
Meanwhile, once the 136-metre long bridge is closed, the residents of Tehri Garhwal and Pauri Garhwal will have to walk another two kilometres to Ram Jhula to cross river Ganga. The bridge was built by the Public Works Department (PWD) in 1923, which maintains it till date.
“The bridge was built 96 years ago because people wanted to commute between two districts and visit the religious places located there,” a PWD official said, adding that it was the only hanging suspension bridge in the state at that time.
The official added that the rich mythology associated with the bridge made it extremely popular among the tourists. “It is widely believed that Laxman, the younger brother of Lord Rama, had crossed river Ganga from the same route where the bridge now stands majestically,” the official added.
Temples, markets, hotels, and ashrams have sprung up in the vicinity of the Jhula and the entire area is a renowned attraction in Rishikesh.
The official also said that various Bollywood songs have been shot on the bridge and its adjoining areas in the past, with many foreigners visiting the place to shoot documentaries and short films too.