It was September 2017 and I was home during the Durga Puja holidays. One day we decided to visit the Dhola–Sadiya Bridge, recently unveiled by the Prime Minister. It is located in the district of Tinsukia (Assam) and is 9.15 km (5.69 miles) in length and is currently the longest bridge in India. It connects the towns of Dholla and Sadiya and in this process connects the states of Assam and Arunachal Pradesh.
Dholla is about 30 kilometres from my home and we started at around 3:30 in the afternoon. There were three of us; Mriganka, Sam and I and we drove in Mriganka’s car. It was the last day of Durga Puja, the day when the idol of Goddess Durga and others are immersed in water. So, the streets by the afternoon turned quiet and empty as people basically tend to remain indoors and spend time with the family after a hectic 4 day celebration.
After its inauguration, the bridge turned out to be the best place for weekend family trips. Almost everyone who lived in the vicinity, mainly in the district of Tinsukia had at least once come to see the bridge. Locals, staying as far away as Europe and the United States, when on a holiday would never risk missing out on this one. It was finally on September 30, 2017, more than 4 months since the bridge was inaugurated that my wait to witness this engineering marvel was over. I was probably one of the very last persons to pay a visit to the bridge. But it was not that I have witnessed it for the first time. In fact, I saw it being built. I saw the pillars put together and the road laid down.
Longest Bridge in India- THEN! Flashback 1
Yes, there were two instances when I went to see the under construction bridge; once in January 2012, when I, along with Mriganka had gone on his father’s scooter to click photographs by the bridge. It was a fulfilling trip and we clicked many photos. I then had a Nikon Coolpix Point & Shoot Camera and photography was my newfound hobby.
Longest Bridge in India- THEN! Flashback 2
The next time I witnessed the bridge was in 2014. My father’s employer had organised a picnic and he invited me as well. I still remember how we looked at the pillars and the construction in progress and thought of a day when we would be able to drive on top of this mighty bridge.
Longest Bridge in India- NOW! A Treat for the Eyes
I was very happy to stand on top of the mighty Brahmaputra. We drove to a vantage point and halted the car to get a few photos. The Sun was going down by then and the blue waters along with the blue sky made everything look mesmerising. At a distance we could see the lower Himalayas. There were very few people on the bridge and everything seemed so serene. After a 15 minute halt, we drove to the other side of the bridge in the hope of crossing over to Arunachal Pradesh and seeing a few places. But we had to drop our plan as it started to get darker as when entered the town of Sadiya. So, we decided not to venture further in the dark, and pulled back.
While coming back, we stopped our car and turned off the headlights. The bridge had no streetlights and there was stark darkness outside. We got off the car and stood by the railing on the bridge. We could hear the sound of the river flowing beneath us and feel the gushing wind blowing on our face. Being metaphorically out of the world, the feeling was frightening too. As we spotted, most probably, a police van in the distance by its blinking colored lights, we got into our car and drove off.