Atharnala is the 13th-century heritage bridge of Odisha. The bridge built by the Ganga Dynasty king Bhanu Dev. This bridge situated on the Musa River on the entry point of the puri town near Madhupur village. Local people called it as Hulhuliya Bridge.
Why the bridge name is Atharnala?
Atharnala is an Odiya language word. The word Athar means eighteen and Nala means Passage. So Atharanala means eighteen passages. The bridge’s name is Athanala due to eighteen passages.
What is the story of the Atharnala Bridge?
- As per mythology/Lokakatha, the Maharaja Indradyumna initiated to build of the bridge on the Musa River. But he failed to complete the bridge. Then he offered his eighteen son’s head to this river.
- As per Madala Panji, The Ranapur King Padmanava Narendra was building the bride. He built it to rememorize his eighteen sons’ sacrifice to Odisha’s war. His seventeen sons died in the war when the Kalapahada attacks Odisha. The period is between 1476 to 1525AD.
- As per history, the Ganga Dansty king Bhanu Dev built the bridge on the Musa River in the 13th century.
- It built for the visitors to see the long-distance view of Neelachakra of the Temple.
- In ancient times the visitors cross this Musa River through boats. It was very difficult for the Pilgrims during the festive seasons. So this bridge made to connect the town and the visitors also enter into the city.
Why Atharnala is so famous?
- The bridge built on the north side of Puri. As per Vastu Shastra, the ruling planet of the North direction is Kuber. He is the lord of wealth. So it is an auspicious place to pray to the Lord Jagannath to fulfill your dreams.
- The number 18 is an auspicious number. The holy book Srimad Bhagabat Gita has 18 chapters. There are 18 Purans, and the holy book Mahabharat has 18 chapters. So it believes in the Jagannath Sanskruti that the Parikrama of this bridge will give the equal result to reading the holy books.
- The Bija Mantra of Shree Jagannath is 18 letters. And the Odiya Bhagabat (Nabakhari Chhanda) is also representing 18 letters.
So for the above reason, Atharnala is a famous place for visitors. The below Odiya Shruti popularly recited by the peoples:
What is the structure of the Atharnala Bridge?
The Atharnala Bridge built with Laterite stone and Lime mortar with Ashlar masonry. The pillar and arches are also built on the basis of the medieval architectural scheme. A similar construction of the Atharanala Bridge is also seen at Jajpur.
- The bridge length is ————280ft
- The width of the bridge is —-36ft
- The height of the bridge —–20.66ft
Why Atharnala Bridge closed?
The archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has recommended closing the movement of vehicles on the bridge. It is close to the conversation and beautification of the bridge.
So the district administration Puri passed an order dated 24-12-2020 to stop the passing of vehicles on the bridge. An alternative road was open by the administration to enter the city.
The administration also built a selfie zone for the visitors and lightening the area. The night view of this area is very attractive.
About Atharnala Village
Atharnala village is under Gopinathpur Grampanchayat of Sadar Tehsil Puri. It is 1 km. distance from the District town of Puri. The population of the village is 1117 as per census 2011.
Atharnala Bridge is an auspicious place as per Jagannath Sanskruti. The visitors enjoy the distance view of Neelachakra of Jagannath temple from that place. The ASI and Puri administration beautify the place for pilgrims. It is a historical bride which built-in the 13th century and still is in a good condition after several natural calamities.
Pandit Rashmi Ranjan Rath is a Vedic researcher and also recognized by the Lord Jagannath Temple administration, Puri as a “Shree Jagannath Sanskruti Pracharak” in the year 2013. He has visited four Dhams of India for creating Lord Jagannath consciousness Worldwide. He is also the founder of “Baidika Brahamana Parisada Odisha”.