Ulapane Fool’s Bridge (Upside Down Bridge) – උලපනේ මෝඩයාගේ පාලම (උඩ යට පාලම )
This awkwardly named Fool’s Bridge lies across the mighty Mahaweli River in the town known as Ulapane in Matale. The uniqueness of this bridge is the side arches generically found on steel bridges are built at the bottom of the bridge. Thus this is known as the “Fool’s Bridge” or the “Upside Down Bridge”.
This bridge has been built on or around 1904 by the British when this area was cleared for tea plantations for use of horse carriages and bullock carts.
Folklore states that when a British high official came to ceremoniously open this bridge and saw that the bridge has been built upside down, the engineer was made so embarrassed that he committed suicide. The British has then built another bridge upstream at a later date to replace this bridge. But in reality, it is said that arch structure at the bottom makes the bridge more load bearing and not a mistake. Such bridges are called a Inverted Bowstring Truss type bridge.
After decades of use of this second bridge, a new concrete bridge has been built around 2015. This is said to be the only place that three road bridges over Mahaweli River exists in a single location. Part of a 4th bridge also can be seen very close to the “Modayage Palama” (Fool’s Bridge). It is said that when the Mahaweli Project was going on, the Mahaweli Authority started to build a bridge next to the Fools Bridge but after one side was completed, it was abandoned.
Although a good view of this bridge can be seen from the new bridge, its best seen from from the train. The path to this bridge is now covered with weed and difficult to access.
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Map of Ulapane Fool’s Bridge (Upside Down Bridge)
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Travel Directions to Ulapane Fool’s Bridge (Upside Down Bridge)
Route from Kandy Railway to Ulapane Fool’s Bridge (Upside Down Bridge)
|Though : Gampola|
Distance : 30 km
Travel time : 1 hour
Driving directions : see on google map