Nava Pul: The lost beauty

City’s second oldest bridge, Nava Pul, has beautiful balconies where people in the Peshwa era used to stand and look at the beauty of the city and the river flowing below it. Nava Pul takes off opposite the Mangala Theatre and the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) building and ends at some distance in front of Shaniwarwada.

Nava Pul

A plate in the Nava Bridge mentions that its construction got underway in January 1920. The nine-span bridge is 370 metres long and 11.45 metres wide. Formally known as Shivaji Bridge, it was designed by Lieutenant Colonel E S Proase, chief engineer and secretary to the Public Works Department, first created by the British some time before the Indian Mutiny of 1857. The bridge is a stone structure of strong, coursed masonry in black basalt, procured from local quarries.

The walls above the arched openings between the buttresses are embellished with six-petalled floral medallions. Parts of the earlier stone parapet have been replaced by concrete equivalents, ostensibly due to structural damage. However, the latter are not in good health either. The PMC has plans to do a makeover of the bridge, but till now nothing much has been done. The balconies are in bad condition encroached by beggars and hawkers. Some antique-looking electrical poles were built few months ago, but that has not changed the situation. 

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