President Kalam to inaugurate Amrita Setu

13 December 2006 — Amritapuri

On the 20th of December, the President of India, His Excellency Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, will inaugurate Amrita Setu, the Ashram-constructed bridge connecting Alappad Panchayat with Vallikkavu.

Amrita Setu was constructed by the Ashram as part of its extensive tsunami-relief program, wherein Amma dedicated one hundred crores {news} towards relief and rehabilitation. Should the Alappad community face any future disaster, the bridge ensures the villagers an escape route via which 15,000 can be evacuated in 30 minutes.

The inauguration will take place at 3:00 p.m. in Amritapuri in the presence of Amma.

The bridge will stand as a monument of Amma’s compassion for the suffering. At the time of the tsunami, when the Ashram was using its boats to shuttle thousands across the backwaters to safety, Amma immediately expressed the need for a bridge. On September 14th 2005, the construction began.

There were a lot of obstacles to overcome including wind and rain, but with the cooperation of the Irrigation Department, the Bridge & Road Department, and the people and leaders of Alappad Panchayat, the Ashram was able to complete the bridge within 14 months.

Before Amrita Setu, there was only one bridge for all 17.5 kilometers of Alappad, and that is located on the southern tip of the island. Amrita Setu is in the middle.

Prof. Aravindan of Lal Bahadur Shastri Institute designed the bridge, and Sri. Lavan, an Ashram Engineer, was in charge of construction construction with the support of Br. Krishna Kumar as the supervisor. The 18,250 hours of manpower needed to complete the bridge were accomplished by a mix of workers and volunteers from around the world—with even Amma herself joining in to create the bridge’s approach road.

Ornamental hand-railings and two pillars at the entrance on each side depicting the North Kerala art form of teyyam add beauty to the bridge. At 100 meters in length and only two support pilings, Amrita Setu is the fist of its kind in Kerala.


Amrita Setu bridge statistics
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* Length: 100 meters
* Width: 5.79 meters
* Total height from water to top (central arch): 14.02 meters
* Weight: 1000 tons
* Height from water to walkway: 7.62 meters
* Height from walkway to archway: 6.40 meters
* Two pillars of 1.2 meters in diameter each
* Each pillar contains six pilings
* Each pilling goes 9.14 meters into the riverbed.
* Number of steps on the Amritapuri side: 59
* Number of steps on the Vallikkavu side: 58
* Total steps: 117
* 150 tons of steel
* 200 truckloads of mettle
* 200 truckloads of sand
* 6000 bags of cement
* Diameter of Mata Amritanandamayi Math logo on top of the arch: 2.43 meters.