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Thursday, 12 November 2015

Living Root Bridge- Route from Root

****Live Root Bridges aren't built, they are grown-Living Root Bridge(Meghalaya)*******

"Deep in the dense tropical forest of Meghalaya, and shrouded in cloud and rain for much of the year, are some astonishing man-made natural wonders. Known as living root bridges"

 In Meghalaya, (meaning Abode of Clouds) one of the seven sisters of the North Eastern states of India, bridges are grown or made to grow. 

The original architects of this natural bridge building technology are the forefathers of the Khasi tribe, one of the three major tribes in this hill state. The other two tribes are the Garos and Jaitias. Though this ancient technology appears to be theoretically simple, practically it is very difficult as it takes a long time to grow a root bridge.

 Living root bridges are unique in the world, Meghalaya's double-decker and single-decker root bridges are found in Cherrapunjee (Sohra) & Mawlynnong.

The bridges are tangles of massive thick roots, which have been intermingled to form a bridge that can hold several people at a time. Khasi people have been trained to grow these bridges across the raised banks of streams to form a solid bridge, made from roots.

The living bridges are made from the roots of the Ficus elastica tree, which produces a series of secondary roots that are perched atop huge boulders along the streams or the riverbanks to form bridges.

Located around 56 kms from Shillong, the capital of Meghalaya, Cherrapunjee is a must visit destination known for its numerous waterfalls and a trek to the single and double decker root bridges. The trek from Cherrapunjee to the living root bridges is not for the faint hearted as it requires lot of stamina and grit to trek down to these natural wonders of the nature.

  • Ummunoi Root Bridge. Starting point: Laitkynsew village. Location: Ummunoi river near Siej village, Nongkroh, via Sohsarat village. Duration: 2 kilometers one way. 3-4 hours return. Descent: 1,400 feet. This 17 meter (54 foot) root bridge is one of the oldest known root bridges in the region, and is perhaps the most popular with tourists due to its combination of accessibility and impressiveness.

  • Umkar Root Bridge. Starting point and location: Siej village. Duration: 0.5 kilometers one way. 30 minutes return. The best option for those who are lacking in fitness or mobility, this root bridge was partly washed away by flash floods. The villagers in the process of regrowing it, which is interesting to see. There's a waterfall alongside the bridge during the monsoon season.

  • Ritymmen Root Bridge (can be visited on the way to the Double Decker root bridge). Starting point: Tyrna village. Location: Nongthymmai village.  Duration: 1.5-2 hours return. This 30 meter (100 foot) root bridge is the longest known living root bridge.

  • Umshiang Double Decker Root Bridge. Starting point: Tyrna village. Location: Umshiang river at Nongriat villageDuration: 3 kilometers one way. 4-5 hours return. Descent: 2,400 feet.  The "holy grail" of root bridges, the unique 20 meter (65 foot) double decker root bridge requires determination to reach but it's worth it. Not everyone can go there though. It's imperative that physical condition be taken into account.

  • Mawsaw Root Bridge. If you're not too exhausted and have the time, continue to walk around 20-30 minutes past the Double Decker root bridge. The natural swimming pools near this root bridge are a highlight (they're unsafe during the monsoon season though).

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