The Nine Arches is a viaduct that connects the stations of the Demodara and Ella Railways. It was constructed at 3100 meters above sea level, among the jagged hills of the Central Highlands. The bridge, which was constructed entirely of brick, rock, and cement and without a single piece of steel, has held up well since it was built in 1921. The bridge was erected by the townspeople using these materials, according to history, when it was halted due to a shortage of steel brought on by World War I. But in addition to this background, there are many stories about how the bridge was built.
The most well-known tale concerns a man by the name of P. K. Appuhami who resided in Melimada’s Kappatipola neighborhood. Appuhami, a well-known traditional drummer and devil dancer, was born in 1870. (a ritual dance form). One day, while Appuhami was glumly walking home after losing a competition, a British officer noticed him. The demonic figure (Appuhami was still wearing his dance outfit) initially terrified the man, but he soon warmed up to him. When Appuhami learned that the odd foreigner was in the area to build a railway, he helped by providing him with labor from the nearby villages.

However, the construction of the railway did not go as planned. They discovered that there was a quagmire in the valley between, making it impossible for them to cross a wide chasm between two hills. The swampy ground prevented strong anchoring from being established. When Appuhami discovered this, he asked to take over the bridge project. Although they originally rejected him, they eventually accepted him since he had earned their trust via his friendship and aid. According to the legend, Appuhami began construction on the bridge in 1913. He created a rock bed that was stable by throwing large rocks into space to address the problem of unstable ground. Over this bed, he built the brick columns for the bridge, and he carried out the project.

Appuhami’s construction techniques were so simple and economical that he completed the entire project, which was supposed to take many years to complete, in just one year at a fraction of the initial cost anticipated. The savages ability to complete such a massive structure so quickly stunned British officials to the point where they refused to believe the project’s structural stability. When the railway line was used for the first time at this place, Appuhami is alleged to have sworn to the strength of the structure by pledging to prove it by sleeping under the bridge.

When the track was finished, he followed through on his pledge, impressing the officials with his accomplishment.

What’s most intriguing about the narrative is that Appuhami was eventually offered recompense in the form of the balance charges that he had avoided by using his low-cost construction techniques. Folklore tells of the joyful day that Appuhami brought four carts full of silver coins back to his town. He then gave each person a silver coin and spent the money on food for his village and the village next door for two whole days.
No matter the veracity of the tales, the Nine Arches Bridge, with its nine elegant arches and sturdy construction, remains one of the examples of Sri Lanka’s expertise in


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