Chobhar Gorge, Central Nepal

 

Location Over the R. Bagmati, south of Kathmandu

                  N 27°55’18.30”

                  E 85°17’37.13”

 

Span 40, (130 feet)

Width 1.2m (4 feet)

Designed by Louis Harper (1868-1940)

Manufactured by Harpers Limited, Craiginches Ironworks, Aberdeen         

Built 1903, Nepal Military.

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Half a kilometre south of Patan on the River Bagmati is the famous Chobhar Gorge, now a World Heritage Site. Legend has it that the gorge was created by the sword of Bodhisattva Manjushri in a single blow to the rock in order to drain the lake that occupied the Kathmandu Valley. There is geological evidence for the lake. A Harper bridge was built here in 1903; its erection was commemorated in a plaque that tells us the bridge, known as the Chandra Bridge, was erected by a Brigadier Colonel Kumar Nursingh Rana Badadur CE, AMICEMSA, Superintendent Engineer, Government of Nepal, Kathmandu. Rana Badadur may have been the key figure in the selection of Harper bridges to help facilitate the early development of his country, and his testimonial quoted in the Introduction supports this. The plaque also suggests that the army erected the early bridges. 

 

The Chandra Bridge over the Chobhar Gorge is 130 feet (40 m) long and has a deck of 4 feet (1.2 m) in width. Its main cable is 1.25 inches (32 mm) in diameter and the deck cables measure 1 inch (25 mm) in diameter. The deck was wooden and remained similar to the original until the early 1990s when the bridge acquired a steel deck supported on a light, braced sub-frame, which, in turn, was fixed to the original deck cables and to the steel sub-deck cross-members. The hangers now pass to the cross members positioned below the deck rather than to the deck cables directly. This modified deck arrangement had been universally applied to all the suspension and suspended bridges we encountered, apart from the odd one that was no longer maintained. They remain essentially ‘unstiffened’ bridges but are made more stable by the increased deadweight of the deck. The arch is maintained.

 

Recently this bridge has been closed, although it still looks in good shape. No doubt the adjacent new road bridge has rendered it redundant.

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