A new suspension bridge, over river Ganga, became operational in Rishikesh on Friday. After the iconic Laxman Jhula (1930) and popular Ram Jhula (1986), the holy township got the three-lane ‘Janki Setu.’ The 274 mts new bridge will ease traffic and crowd movement, especially during the annual Kanwad pilgrimage season.

Constructed with a budget of Rs 48.85 crore, the Janki Setu is all set to become a major selfie hotspot for tourists and youths. Inaugurating the new suspension bridge, Uttarakhand Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat said, “Very soon the construction work of Bajrang Pul will start in Rishikesh and it will turn into a major attraction for Indian and foreign tourists.”

The historic Laxman Jhula (137 meter) was closed for the public last year in July, after it was declared unsafe for movement by experts. Presently the 228 meter Ram Jhula remains a major destination for tourists. The 274 meter long Janki Setu is expected to woo tourists as it is located in a pristine location. Separate lanes have been constructed on Janki Setu for pedestrians and two-wheelers movement.

The Laxman Jhula hogged limelight in 1968 when members of the famous musical band Beatles walked the wire bridge to reach the spiritual camp of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi in Rishikesh. While crossing, Paul McCartney was amused by finding a group of mules on the suspension bridge.

Both Laxman and Ram Jhulas (bridges) used to remain packed during the Kanwad Yatra. Devotees of Lord Shiva, used to cross Ganga through these pedestrian bridges to undertake their trek to the mountain shrine Neelkanth Mahadev. The new bridge will help in crowd management by providing the Kanwad pilgrims an alternative to reach the trek route to Neelkanth Mahadev from Swarg Ashram/Bagh Khala.