Living Root Bridges is a natural wonder that deserves a visit at least once in your lifetime. Located in the North East state of India, Meghalaya, the bridges were the result of a genius solution by the elders. The place receives a lot of rainfall and the place with the highest level of rainfall in the world is also located in the state.
The waterways became difficult to cross during the Monsoon season and so the elders devised the Living Root Bridges as a brilliant solution. The bamboo bridges built earlier were damaged with time and required lot of renovation. Not so with the living roots bridges as they keep adding more substance and actually grow stronger over time. Read below for a detailed overview of Living Root Bridges.
The roots were cultivated carefully so they would naturally cross over to the two sides of a stream. They grew stronger as they added bulk over time and the structure became strong enough to support the weight of adult humans. It generally takes about 20 years for such a bridge to get completed and fully connect the two ends. Some of the earlier root bridges date back to 200 years.
The Khasis who are the traditional native dwellers used areca nuts hollowed out into which the rubber trees roots were directed to make them reach the other end without significant damage. Some of them are so strong that they can easily support more than 50 humans at a time. Usually, a species of Ficus is used for this purpose. These bridges do not get washed away by current or river water and can sustain themselves for more than 500 years. While nobody knows for sure when the practise started precisely, it sure is a natural architectural marvel and some of the best living root bridges are mentioned below which you must definitely visit.
Umshiang Double Decker Root Bridge
While there are many such bridges scattered all over the state, you should focus on the Umshiang Double Decker Bridge if you are planning a visit to this magnificent natural wonder. It is located near Nongriat which is very near to Cherrapunji (famous for receiving the highest rainfall on earth). The Double Decker Bridge has two levels and the villagers are adding a third storey.
Umnnoi Living Root Bridge
This bridge is another natural engineering wonder which you should make time for. Located in Laitkynsew, it is a 53 feet long bridge which is more than a century old. It is a fantastic feat of human ingenuity and should be on your list of must visit places.There are many resorts in Cherrapunji that are located in close proximity to these natural living root bridges where you can stay and enjoy the sight of these natural engineering marvels. Guided tours are available but you can also reach most of the spots with a few directions from the natives. They are quite popular with tourists and the practise is slowly being revived to ensure more tourism in the area.