Close to the turn off to the Madu Church, lies and old hanging bridge across the Malwathu Oya in the area of Kunchikulama. The bridge is over 100 meters along and held by two strong cables with steel sheets laid across. Such bridges are called Hanging Bridges or Suspension Bridges. In Sinhala they are called Sangili Palama or Ellena Palama.
This tourist attraction can be reached by taking the road to the left 1.5 km before the road to Madu Church when traveling from Medawachchiya. There is a small bill board just before this road showing the directions to the hanging bridge.
Traveling 800 meters on this road you will come across an ancient disused Steel Arch Bridge built across Yoda Ela. Yodha Ela is a 13 km long canal built by King Dhatusena (459-477) which diverts water from Malwathu Oya and feeds Yoda Wewa.
A new six bay concrete arch bridge over the Yoda Ela has been built in 2013. You can get a good view of the five arch flow control grinite bridge from here. One you pass it, you will see the flow control bridge and the Steel Arch Bridge at right angles. Then you will cross over a small Sapaththu Palama (Causeway) over the stream which carries exess water back to Malwathu Oya. Another 600 meters passing this bridge will bring you to the Hanging Bridge.
A new concrete bridge as well as a Sapaththu Palama has been built across Malwathu Oya below the hanging bridge making it redundant. The floor of the bridge is laid with steel sheets on short wooden beams. Some of the wood seems to have rotten away and some places can be sloped towards the river. Therefore walking across should be at own peril.
Map of Kunchikulam Hanging Bridge
The map above also shows other places of interest within a approximately 20 km radius of the current site. Click on any of the markers and the info box to take you to information of these sites.
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Travel Directions to Kunchikulam Hanging Bridge
Route from Medawachchiya to Kunchikulam Hanging Bridge
|Through : Mannar Road|
Distance :47 km
Travel time : 45 – 60 mins
Time to spend : 30 mins
Driving directions : see on google map