Wed. Dec 8th, 2021

Mysterious Himachal

Land of God & Faith

Victoria Bridge Mandi – 142-year-old Historical Bridge

Mandi is also known as “Chotti Kashi” due to its similarity with Varanasi in respect of Ghats on the bank of Beas River and temples of Lord Shiva near the Ghats. The place is often described as the cultural capital of Himachal Pradesh due to its rich culture, traditions and temple architectural heritage. In ancient times Mandi was not only a business centre on the old silk route to Tibet but also a centre for cultural exchange. Mandi, the abode of Baba Bhoot Nath, was known as Mandavya Nagari as Mandav Rishi meditated on a rock, known as Kolsara, in the Beas river. The famous International Shivratri Fair is celebrated every year during February/March. 

Victoria Bridge 

In 1877 when Vijay Sen used to be the king of the princely state of Mandi. The country was ruled by the Britisher & George organized a function in Delhi in which the kings of the princely states of the country were calledRaja Vijay Sen of Mandi princely state also went to Delhi to join it. During the ceremony, George V held a car competition there. According to the competition, races were held between horses and cars.

The horse of Raja Vijay Sen of Mandi beat the car and won. George gives a car to Raja Vijay Sen as the prize. But it was not possible to bring the car to the market and even if you brought it, where was it to drive here because there was no arrangement of roads and bridges at that time. King Vijay Sen urged the British government to build a bridge to connect the city of Mandi. British Government promised to build the bridge, accepting the king’s insistence. The king also paid one lakh rupees for construction of the bridge.

The bridge was completed in 1877. The bridge is said to be a duplicate copy of the Victoria Bridge built in England. This is the reason that the British named it the Victoria Bridge while the princely state of Mandi named it the Vijay Kesari bridge. This 76m bridge was built by engineers from London and Kolkata. The engineers had termed its maximum life to be 100 years but it worked till 143 years. However, in the past few years, only light vehicles have been allowed on it.

Initially, the bridge was used by both light and heavy vehicle, but as its condition deteriorated, it was closed for heavy vehicles. The bridge, which withstood many floods in Beas, was rendered abandoned on Dec 8, 2019, when the chief inaugurated a new motorable bridge next to it. Since then, only pedestrians are allowed on this historical bridge.