PUNALUR HANGING BRIDGE
Punalaur is a word derived from two Tamil words; ‘punal’ meaning water and ‘ooru’ meaning town. As the name denotes it is the town of water, situated on the banks of the Kallada River in Kollam. It is the gateway to the Western Ghats and also known as the ‘Lap of the Western Ghats.’ The suspension bridge or hanging bridge in Punalar is perhaps the only one of its kind in Kerala and was built by Albert Henry, a Scottish Engineer in the year 1877. It is built across the river Kallada. It took about six years to complete the construction of the bridge. At first people were hesitant to walk on the bridge though it was also meant for vehicular traffic. The engineer and his family passed under the bridge in a country boat while six elephants walked on the bridge, in an effort to reassure the people of the strength of the bridge. The bridge was built initially with the purpose of preventing wild animals intruding into the human settlements from the thick forests around the area. Though made of concrete, it would shake if animals walked on it scaring them away from treading it.