Mathoor Aqueduct and Hanging Bridge: An offbeat wonder nestled in the mountains near Kanyakumari - Be On The Road | Live your Travel Dream!

Monday, November 06, 2023

Mathoor Aqueduct and Hanging Bridge: An offbeat wonder nestled in the mountains near Kanyakumari

Lush green view from Mathoor Aqueduct, Kanyakumari district

It is one of the largest aqueducts in Asia. It is also the tallest and longest trough bridge in Asia. It is an engineering marvel and a tourist’s delight. It offers a spellbinding vista from the top and a great river side picnic location at its bottom. I am talking about the Mathoor Aqueduct and hanging bridge (locally known as Mathoor Thottipalam) that is located in the Kanyakumari district of Tamil Nadu.

The Mathoor aqueduct and hanging bridge was built in 1966 under the leadership of the former chief minister of Tamil Nadu, K. Kamaraj, as a drought relief measure over the river Pahrali to carry water for irrigation from an elevated level of one hill to another. This 115 feet high and 390 metre long hanging trough is not only an engineering beauty, but it is also a popular tourist destination for the locals due to its scenic location and calm surroundings.

Mathoor Aqueduct - an engineering marvel that is a tourist's delight

In spite of its popularity amongst the local people, it is fairly unknown to the outside world and that is what makes this place an offbeat wonder. Nestled in the hills near Kanyakumari, the entire area is lush green and is surrounded by the Western Ghats. Armed with a 5 rupee ticket and some freshly salted and spiced locally grown mango, cucumber, pineapple or pomelo that is sold at the shops near the ticket counter, your journey begins next to the water body that seems to be flowing to the other side of the hill. There are 2 routes that you can take here. One is a flight of steps that lead you all the way down to the Pahrali river where you can swim in the water and relax doing some fin in the water. The other route is straight over the hanging bridge. On one side of the pathway is your walking path and on the other side is the water in the aqueduct going slowly down to the other side of the hill. As you keep walking towards the centre of the aqueduct, you cannot stop staring at the vast expanse of greenery, the rolling hills in the background and the meandering Pahrali river flowing below. You can go further all the way till the other hill and walk down the flight of steps to the other bank of the Pahrali river.

The entire walk can feel adventurous at times owing to the narrow walkway, the extreme height and the strong gusts of wind that blow through here quite regularly.

Unfortunately for me, I arrived very close to the closing time and hence the surroundings were fairly dark and I literally had to run through the entire bridge before I was engulfed in darkness. Of what I got to see, this place is fantastic for a motorcycling holiday, an offbeat nature location and a riverside day out with family and/or friends. I would love to return here hopefully in the near future and this time preferably in the morning hours so that I can explore the area at leisure. I definitely recommend this place with multiple thumbs up!

Pahrali river seen from the top of Mathoor hanging bridge

Best time to visit: October to March as this is when the weather is pleasant, there is water in the river and the surroundings are lush.

Distance to Kanyakumari: 52 kms

Distance to Trivandrum: 61 kms

Nearest railway station: Nagercoil Junction, 30 kms away

Nearest airport: Thiruvananthapuram Airport, 65 kms away

Timings: Mathoor Aqueduct is open all year round from 6 AM to 6 PM.

Mathoor Aqueduct - an irrigation idea implemented during the term of the first chief minister of Tamil Nadu

Other nearby tourist attractions:

1) Padmanabhapuram palace: 17th century Travancore era palace

2) Thiruparappu Falls: A gorgeous waterfall perfect for bathing and a relaxed day out

3) Thanumalayan Temple, Suchindram: Also known as Sthanumalayan temple, it is one of the 108 Shiva temples revered by the Kerala Hindu culture

4) Kanyakumari: The land’s end that is home to beautiful temples, gorgeous beaches, stunning rock cut memorials and many forts.

5) Poovar Island: A beautiful mix of serene backwaters (emerald), pristine beach (golden), majestic Western Ghats (green), swaying palms (green) and blue waters of the Arabian Sea.

6) Thiruvananthapuram: The capital of Kerala home to the richest temple of India - Padmanabha Swamy Temple, gorgeous beaches and a lovely green metropolis

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