Wednesday, July 11, 2018

The Bridge over the Surkhab River




The bridge over the Surkhab river was built by Mughal noble Ali Mardan Khan, in the reign of Shah Jehan. On a rock below was a finely cut inscription in Persian stating that the bridge was built in the reign of Shah Jehan, and ending with a chronogram giving the date of construction as the year 1054 Hijra —i.e., 1644 of the Christian era. The translation of the chronogram runs thus: “The builder of this bridge was Ali Mardan, by the kindness of the All-praised.” [Blackwood's Magazine, 1906, Volume-180, p-591]

Surkhab river rises in the Safed Koh range to the west of the Lakarai Kotal, and runs north-eastwards until it falls into the Kabul river, 4 miles northwest of Jalalabad, receiving in its course numerous shall tributaries from the northern slopes to the west of Sikaram, and giving its name to a subdivision of the Jalalabad district. The Surkhab river is crossed by an ancient bridge, 7 miles northwest of Gandamak, or the "red bridge." The bridge, which is of brickwork and masonry, consists of one arch of about 60 feet span and 30 feet above, and was in good repair when seen in 1905. It is including approaches, 170 yards long by 5 yards broad. There is a good and permanent ford just below it. The Surkhab is here a fine stream, 60 feet in breadth, running (in October) about 3 miles an hour. [Historical and Political Gazetteer of Afghanistan - Volume 6 - Page 766]


Bridge over the Surkhab River 1878-9. Photo by John Burke



Bridge over the Surkhab River 1878-9. Photo by John Burke

Bridge over the Surkhab River 1878-9. Photo by John Burke


The Old Bridge on the Surkhab, or Red River, c.1880