Bridges of Confusion

In my last post I included a few photographs taken by Gordon Duff in 1944, generously shared by his daughter Marjory Lewis. The first picture she forwarded was the following cityscape with the caption ‘View from the fifth bridge. Fort behind.’

I was quite sure that the photograph had been taken in a north-easterly direction from Nawa Kadal (the sixth bridge) with the view of the Hari Parbat Fort being the clincher. Strangely enough Marjory was equally sure that it was Habba Kadal (the second bridge.)

The traditional seven bridges spanning the Jehlum within Srinagar are:
First Bridge – Amira Kadal
Second Bridge – Habba Kadal
Third Bridge – Fateh Kadal
Fourth Bridge – Zaina Kadal
Fifth Bridge – Ali Kadal
Sixth Bridge – Nawa Kadal
Seventh Bridge – Safa Kadal

The logical thing to do was to return to downtown Srinagar and take a fresh photograph to dispel the confusion between the second, fifth and sixth bridges.

Almost eighty years later, the two views from Nawakadal (the sixth bridge) are amazingly similar.

Interestingly, if we take the chronological sequence, Nawa Kadal was the fifth bridge contructed over the Jehlum. However I am not aware that this nomenclature was ever adopted while discussing the seven bridges of Srinagar.

Earliest – Ali Kadal was constructed by Sultan Ali Shah in 1415 CE
Second – Zaina Kadal by Sultan Zain-ul-Abideen in 1427 CE
Third – Fateh Kadal by Sultan Fateh Shah in 1500 CE
Fourth – Habba Kadal by Sultan Habib Shah in 1573 CE
Fifth – Nawa Kadal by Noor din Khan in 1666 CE
Sixth – Safa Kadal by Saif-ud-din Khan in 1671 CE
Last/Seventh – Amira Kadal by Amir Khan Sher Jawan in 1774 CE