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Living root Bridges : A Nature’s wonder in Meghalaya

People have been growing these wonderful  bridges from tree roots known as living root bridges over a long period of time.

Living root bridge is Meghalaya is nothing less than a wonder. People have been growing these wonderful  bridges from tree roots known as living root bridges over a period of time.

These living roots bridges are among the biggest attractions in Meghalaya. These bridges are handmade from threading and twisting the Ariel roots of rubber fig trees also known as Ficus elastic tree.
The bridges are grown by trained Khasi and Jaintai tribes who have mastered the art of growing root bridges.

It takes a time period of between 10 to 30 years for the tree roots to even resemble a bridge. But once build these bridges can last centuries and can hold up to 35 people at once.

Most of the bridges grow on steep slopes of subtropical moist broadleaf forest between 50m and 1150m above sea level.

Living root Bridges : A Nature's wonder in Meghalaya

History:

The origin of these bridges can be traced back to Meghalaya, a hilly state in northern state of India, the home of Khasi and Jaintai tribes.

Though the Khasi people do not know when or how the tradition of living root bridges started but it said that the whole idea of Meghalaya’s living bridges came into the picture some two centuries ago (180 years precisely)when veterans of Khasi clan living in Meghalaya put rubber tree roots into hollow canes of Areca nut palm that met halfway across the stream.

It is also observed that Meghalaya is home of two towns that have the highest annual rainfall on earth, which means bridges made from cement will not last long, as it will quickly rot and decay from the rain. Therefore the indigenous people of khasi community, used their ingenuity to make bridges out of tree.

Recognized by UNESCO:

The living root bridges in Meghalaya has been recognized by UNESCO as a world heritage site.

Lifespan of these bridges:

Living root Bridges : A Nature's wonder in Meghalaya

The bridges lasts up to hundreds of years and as long as the tree from which it is formed remains healthy, the roots in the bridges naturally grow thick and strengthen.
Once mature some bridges can have as many as 50 or more people crossing, and have a lifespan of up to 150 years. And
Once fully grown these living roots bridges can stands strong for as long as 500 years.

The longest living root bridge is with a length of nearly 50 meters and is located  in khasi town of Pynursla, India. The double decker living root bridge is one the most unique bridge in the world and make for prime attraction in the Northeast.

Talking about northeastern people, the patience and future oriented thinking shown by the khasi community in making these bridges is exceptional. The khasi community also makes structures like living ladders using the Ariel roots of rubber fig tree.

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