Root BridgesMother earth is full of natural glories and the abundance of mysteries. One of the mysterious bridge is in the North Eastern part of India. Here you might be thinking that bridge is made up of concrete, but it's not true. As due to the tropical climate and heaviest rainfall in Cherrapunji, there are not man-made wonders, there are natural wonders created by nature. Known as living root bridges, inventive members of the Khasi tribe have trained them to grow from the roots of ancient rubber trees, native to the northeast region. The root bridges provide a stable alternative to wooden bridges, which decay and get destroyed during the lengthy monsoon seasons. According to the sources it takes 15 years for a new bridge to get stronger enough so that it can bear the weight of an individual. However, the strength of the natural bridge gets more and more over time. Some of the bridges are believed to be hundreds of years old, although no one knows their exact age.Their tangled webs of roots are almost in nature and wouldn't look out of place in a fantasy world. The root bridges can grow for as long as the organism they are a part of remains healthy, though they can take many years to initially become functional, the length of time is dependent on local conditions such as the health of the tree, the way the bridge is being grown, and the availability of nutrients in the soil that it's being grown in. However, once root bridges become established, they re extraordinarily strong strong enough that some of them can support the weight of 50 or more people at a time. In fact, because they are alive and still growing, the bridges actually gain strength over time and some of the ancient root bridges used daily by the people of the villages around Cherrapunji may be well over 500 years old.
Cherrapunji Living Root BridgesDouble Decker bridge is the most famous natural bridge in Meghalaya. It is the best thing to visit at the wettest place of India; Cherrapunji. There are 11 functional root bridges in this area, situated about two and a half hours drive from Shillong. Visiting the double-decker root bridge is not easy. The trek there is long and tiring. The beauty and cleanliness of the village are unmatched. The trek to the double-decker root bridge starts at Tyrna village, around 30 minutes past Cherrapunji (and not far from the Cherrapunji Holiday Resort in Laitkynsew village). The trekking to the root bridges depends upon the level of difficulties and duration too. The most famous are listed here:-
Ummunoi Root BridgeStarting point: Laitkynsew village. Location:Ummunoi river near Siej village, Nongkroh, via Sohsarat village Distance is 17 meter, it is the oldest bridge and the duration is 4 hours. This bridge is among the favorite list of travelers due to its deadly combination of accessibility and impressiveness.
Umkar Root Bridge
image source-Road Less TravelledStarting point and location: Siej village. The duration is 30 minutes one way as the distance is half way only. If the individuals traveling to Cherrapunji are not physically fit or lack in physical mobility can see this bridge as the part of the bridge is partly washed away by the flood. It is interesting to visit this bridge as villagers are making efforts to regrow that part. During monsoon season, the travelers can enjoy the waterfall nearby too.
Ritymmen Root BridgeThis bridge can be covered while traveling to Double Decker Bridge Root. Starting point: Tyrna village. Location: Nongthymmai village. Time taken is one and a half hours or it may take two hours too as the distance is 30 meter (100 foot) root bridge is the longest known living root bridge.
Umshiang Double-Decker Root BridgeStarting point: Tyrna village. Location: Umshiang river at Nongriat village The time taken is three to five hours as the distance is three km one way. Traveling to this bridge is a little bit difficult so one should be physically fit.
Mawsaw Root BridgeIf you are very exhausted and don't want to travel then, be sure that this bridge is a good option. Travelers need to 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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