This bridge has glorious past


15th century witnessed a new era in the history of Shaher-e-Khaas when Sultan Zain-ul-Abideen constructed the first bridge on river Jhelum letting the population grow on both the banks. Though the original bridge named after the Sultan is nowhere, renovated Zaina-Kadal lives to tell the tale.
 In 1472 historians say this was when Sultan Zain-ul-Abideen popularly called Budshah started construction of the Zaina-Kadal (Zain’s bridge) in Shaher-e-Khaas.
 The construction was a colossal task. Historian AM Khan says big logs of deodar were pinned in the Jhelum bed with sand to make the base for a 12-feet wide bridge.
 Tashwaan, a nearby area which housed a forest provided the timber. This area is now a densely populated part of the Shaher-e-Khaas.
 Sultan didn’t aim the construction of the bride as the means of transportation alone, but wanted to use it as a marketplace. And this is exactly what happened, the historians say.
 After over six years of massive wood construction, the bridge was commissioned.
 The Zaina Kadal resembled a queue of small huts erected on a lattice platform across Jhelum. These hutments on both sides of the bridge became a big marketplace, where merchandise especially fish of various varieties were sold.
 Author Yusuf Teng says the bridge market geared importance also due to the fact the shrine of  Shah-e-Hamdan (RA) is situated in its proximity and people in large number used to throng to the shrine, attracting the sales.
 “Fish business was a major attraction of the Zaina Kadal,” Teng adds.
  He says Budshah’s predecessors like Sultan Sarwar Hussain had developed the city around the Koh-e-Maran. “But after the construction of Zaina Kadal bridge, city started to grow on to the other side of the Jhelum,” Teng says.
 As about the popularity of the fish market, he says that when the bridge suffered losses during floods, the market was settled on the banks, and it came to known as Fish Street, the Gada Kocha as people locally call it.
 Though time withered away the heritage bridge and authorities earlier this year started its renovation.

Lastupdate on : Tue, 18 Dec 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Tue, 18 Dec 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Wed, 19 Dec 2012 00:00:00 IST

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