Srinagar - the City of Seven Bridges

In Kashmiri, a bridge is called Kadal. In Tamil, the word Kadal means love. And when in Srinagar, its impossible not to feel kadal for these Kadals.

srinagar city seven bridges jhelum flood sunset sunrise
Zein kadal - one of the few surviving wooden bridges in the city

Jhelum passes through Srinagar and there are a total of eight bridges which connect the two banks of the river. So why is the Srinagar known as the city of seven bridges? Well...the last (or the first) bridge is called as Zero bridge and hence is not counted. There is an interesting story around the Zero bridge and I will come to that in a while...

History of Srinagar bridges

In the past only side of Jhelum was populated but as the city prospered there was need for more space and hence both the sides were populated and bridges were built to connect the two sides. The bridges were all built with wood, which was not a common material for bridges in most parts of the world. The huge wood logs were transported by the river itself and then used to build these beautiful structures. Unfortunately now these original structures do not survive, except some bits here and there. Zaina kadal (image above) has some surviving heritage still.

Another peculiarity was in the manner in which the houses were built along the banks. This was a time when Srinagar was already well known for its crafts and it was also the main source of income and revenue. The houses on the banks were all three storied. The lowermost section was the showroom where products were displayed and transaction made. The merchants used to come in their boats on the Jhelum and get off on a ghat, visit a showroom and make purchases. The middle section was the living space and the top section was the workshop for making these products.

Coming back to the bridges, the seven bridges in the city are:

  1. Amira Kadal
  2. Haba Kadal
  3. Fateh Kadal
  4. Zein Kadal
  5. Ail Kadal
  6. Nawa Kadal
  7. Safa Kadal (the oldest in the list)

And finally the last bridge is called Zero bridge. The legend goes like this - the bridge was built by a deaf contractor so was called Zorr Kadal. With time the name changed and it became Zero bridge. 

Some tips

Unfortunately, most visitors to Srinagar absolutely ignore Jhelum and spend most of their time in and around Dal lake. At the time of active insurgency old city was the focal point of violent street demonstrations and not safe for visitors. However, things have changed dramatically now and its perfectly safe to walk in the old city.

Be respectful of the culture of the city though - I would suggest do not walk in shorts, or clothes which make you stand out too much from the people there. You do not have to wear what everyone else wears there, just be respectful of their traditions.


So make sure that if you travel to Srinagar, plan to spend a few hours ( a few days would be even better) in the old city and explore these lovely bridges and the life around them. Its an experience you will not regret! My promise :)

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  1. Zero Bridge is not called Zero bridge because of the deaf man story.
    It's called Zero bridge because previously Amira Kadal was the first Bridge and then there were other 6 bridges downstream. Later on they made a new bridge upstream from Amira Kadal. But since Amira Kadal was already 1st Bridge, the new bridge had to be one less. Hence, Zero Bridge.

  2. Why you have presented Downtown (old City) as violent and and unsafe for visitors it is the most warm place for tourists and eveyoeve can roam there freely and wear the clothes of there own will, no one will ristrict them


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