A Bridge Across Towns: One of the bridges built by Girish Bharadwaj. Photos by Sandhya Hegde Almane Builder of bridges

The 60-year-old mechanical engineer was inspired by former president A P J Abdul Kalam’s belief that  “physical communication between two places paves way for development.”

Talking about rural Karnataka, for instance, every time there is heavy rain, all communication between villages snap.

The idea of building a hanging bridge came to Girish when residents of his village prompted him to build a hanging bridge across the Payaswini river at Arambur village in Dakshina Kannada district in 1989.

Ever since, Girish hasn’t looked back. He has constructed as many as 84 hanging bridges. He is confident that with proper maintenance, the bridges he built can survive for more than 100 years.

The builder of bridges has managed to work hard and stay focussed. Simplicity and single-minded devotion are what Girish swears by.

The engineer along with his colleagues from Ayyashilpa Company, Sullia visit the spot where a bridge is needed, and go about their jobs.

The biggest bridge that Girish has built is a hanging bridge of 280 metres connecting Avaragola and Ghodageri villages in Belgaum district. The bridges are built according to the conditions of the place. Girish’s repertoire includes bridges with supporting cement pillars and huge tree trunks used as anchors. He has built bridges at Pavinakurva, Nemmuru, Menasina Hadya, Kallugodu, Mungutala, and the Naxal-hit region of Warangal in Andh ra Pradesh.

He recently completed a hanging bridge across Pandavarahole at Gubbigadde in Sirsi taluk,Ramanguli in Uttara Kannada district.

Girish says there is still a lot of work to be done across the rural landscapes of Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Kerala. He says that he is ready to teach the art of constructing hanging bridges free of cost to youngsters who are willing to devote time and energy for the same. (Girish Bharadwaj-9448123475)