Morning in Elphinstone Bridge, Adyar

I spent my last six years in Chennai. Most of the days, its just office and home. Whenever there was a chance I left the city to feel fresh air in mountains and wilderness. I thought there was no place in the city where you can enjoy nice sunrise with lot of greenery around and fresh air.I am not a big fan of beaches.

As a part of Chennai Bloggers Club initiative, I went to Elphinstone Bridge along with Clement and his lovely family this Sunday Morning.  We had our doubts as Elphinstone bridge pointed to both Broken bridge in Besant Nagar as well as the bridge that is adjacent to Thiru V K bridge of Adyar. The morning was too good, with mist and temperature just above 20 degrees.

544260_10200118869467353_1820370616_nIt was only after few minutes of Sunrise, the Adyar river was golden in colour. For a moment we forgot all the stench that we were standing in amazed by the scene. I never thought I would see such a scene in Chennai City. There were stairs in both sides of the bridge. We tried to climb the stairs in Malar Hospital side. Firstly we were attacked by nauseating and repulsive smell of human waste and flower wastes dumped by the flower vendors nearby. Secondly the stairs led to slabs instead of a steady platform, making it somewhat impossible to use it. We walked through the bridge to reach the other side. There was one more photographer happily clicking so we thought there should be some way to climb up.

The pathway to the stairs is somewhat ok but we can see that people use this as urinating place in nights. We saw a man in his tracksuits and paper in hand got down to the bank of the river, and disappeared between the bushes to answer the nature’s call. It was surprising because the other side of bridge had a pay and use toilet and its relatively less distance to cover. May be he is so worried about that 3 Rs or he liked to do it in natural way/view.

553328_10200118871627407_830265873_n This is the view that greeted us in the morning. Just imagine this scene without the wastes below and replace it with a lawn or grass. How happy would that father and child would have been? The river was stinky enough. We walked up the bridge. The bridge is being used at nights by some people for boozing and sleeping. There was a pillow and one can see a lot of empty alcohol bottles.

One thing you cannot miss when you climb the stairs is the row of toilets in the bridge. Yes, toilets were built and it was used as public toilets. I wonder who came up with this wonderful idea. Elphinstone Bridge is said to be the only bridge that connected Adyar with other places. And then came Thiru Vi Ka bridge. I think they have taken this “public” toilet thing so literally.

If you excuse the stench, then this is THE best view of sunrise one could get in Chennai. The sea breeze caressing you in the morning and you see lot of mangrove kind of trees in both sides of the river with some swamps in the middle of the river. The morning birds in their uniform flight whizzes past you which puts a smile on your face for no reason.

374516_10200118872387426_416826749_nRight now this bridge is not advisable to use for kids and old people because the bridge has no railings. It is difficult to fish people out of Adyar river. So people can better avoid it. It reminded me of the bridges seen in movies like “Before Sunrise” where artists creating impressions of the scene, theatre artists rehearsing and a group of morning walkers discussing news and happenings. *Sigh..* How good it would be if someone has such vision to make this beautiful. I wonder how many people who crossed Thiru V K bridge that day stopped to see the magnificent sunrise we witnessed. The whether was extra ordinarily merciful on us so we spent considerable amount of time there.

The bridge would be of very helpful for bird watchers, photographers and the likes. If there is enough security, this bridge can be very well used for stargazing at night. I believe it would be more beautiful at night. Like Mylapore festival, if there is going to be any festival in Adyar, then this is one place which cannot be missed to conduct events.


The meet ended with wonderful coffee brought by Divya Clement at Broken Bridge, Besant Nagar. This place would be excellent for bird watching I believe. I know nothing about the birds but still the sight was good and I came to know from this bridge we can see where the river meets the sea.

Few years before, in the movie Rhythm, Vairamuthu compared rivers with women. I was thinking about that song when I was standing on the bridge watching the river. So many people and plants make use of the river. It makes the land flourish wherever it goes. People try hard to spoilt it and after continued effort they succeed. After than, oblivious to the fact that they are the reason for the stench the complain the river itself. But the river cares none and reaches its destiny day in and day out. We became a tribe who don’t give due credit to women and rivers in the nation.

Hope things change in near future.

Few more pics for your viewing pleasure from the Bridge





  1. vinodvv

    After reading, you are making me feel, did I miss the opportunity. Sure I did.

    True that lot of places like this have been neglected, Unless attitude of people change, things would look like this.

    1. --- :) ----

      It is just not going anywhere! As Clement and I were discussing, we can get permission from theo society as well and make it a quite long walk next time :-). People with sigma lenses will love this place. My 18-55 was not able to do justice to the sights I saw.

  2. Destination Infinity

    The last picture is graceful! Good account, I guess if not for the bad smell the experience would have been even better. If you want to have a good experience of sunrise (in other than the beaches), you should climb the short St.Thomas Mount in the morning. The view (of sunrise) from there is exhilarating, I am told!

    Destination Infinity

    1. --- :) ----

      For my habits climbing up St. Thomas mount may result casualty Rajesh!! :-).. Yeah Been there. But you know the sweat and the military and martial arts training gives a totally different experience there

  3. Susan Deborah

    Glad you could make it, Bragadeesh. If we continue this every month, then perhaps we can make this place a bit popular. I will try and talk to some ornithologists to accompany you in the next trip. You have given due credit to the place. The photos are lovely. Thanks again for making it.

    Joy always,

    1. --- :) ----

      That would be great! Dont get deceived by the photographs. The place is much more beautiful. Thanks for the opportunity

  4. Vincent D' Souza

    Really appreciate this blog post, an effort that should trigger action for greater things. May I suggest that the group create a simple natural space on the north side of the old bridge, off the walls of the MGR Janaki College which has a vast space. If the abandoned stones can be rearranged and a installation created, with some paint on it to show an art piece and a small note fixed here – saying a group meets every 1st Sunday of the month. Can this keep off the guys who urinate here? I will try to get Sudhakar of MNS to join April – to show some birds and talk about the local natural heritage. But there is a need to have at least 8/10 people meet – demonstrate to the city and its Council that there a serious interest in using this natural space. You can plan to put up a flexi carrying visuals of the birds that come by here. Now such steps are hard to create but worth it – persist.

    1. --- :) ----

      To go on with a campaign for this place is a worthy cause. But I am not sure how long or how hard it is going to be. The bridge that is just opposite to the elphinstone bridge had lot of paintings done by the previous government. It is now dutifully erased and I think we will have to get permission from corporation authorities before doing anything of such sort. Even though we do with best of our intention. It would become trespassing 🙂

  5. Aarti

    Lovely post.. Wanted to come, but early morning from chetpet to adyar.. sigh!! Have been wondering where this bridge was, and now I know. IT is quite sad that people are using all such nooks and corners to piss..

    Awesome photos [as commented on FB :D]

    1. --- :) ----

      Yeah! Distance is one concern and the other thing is the buses do not ply that frequently in early mornings. Sure tough to reach. Anyway, next time we can do it as an evening walk.

      Thanks for the comments in FB as well as Blog 😀

    1. --- :) ----

      Thanks Bhavia :).. There is always next time and you stay pretty close. So shouldnt be a problem 🙂

  6. Sowmya Swaminathan

    Beautiful photographs, Brags!

    The place looks lovely, but I assume the stench could make breathing difficult for many people.

    It is our responsibility to take care of such bridges which are steeped in the history of Madras. Your visit+post is the first step in this direction and let’s hope that the authorities as well as the public look into this issue.

    Cheers! 🙂

    1. --- :) ----

      It was kind of OK. If you are travelling in trains to college or work place you would have got used to this kind of stench. I believe we should make people take notice as I said, even the people who commute through the bridge daily dont know the significance of the bridge 🙁

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