If you think life has stopped surprising you, take a break and en route Nature. There’s no way that you will not be surprised. Having read and seen pictures of the living roots bridge in Meghalaya, I was always been much excited to visit these natural beauties. These living roots bridges are great examples of man’s most intimate collaboration with nature and a little research helped me find out that the bridge in Mawlynnong was the most famous one.
Hidden deep in the forests of Meghalaya’s are these beautiful attractions: living root bridges (they are now one of the most visited tourist spots). I was told about the Jingmaham Living Root Bridge, a Single-Decker Living Root Bridge. This place happens to be one of the wettest parts in the world, due to heavy rainfall that it gets.
These ever-evolving roots bridges are made of thick roots that are tangled within and has formed a structure strong enough for humans to walk over. The Khasi and Jaintia tribes of Meghalaya are known to have mastered the art of growing them. Over the years the tribal of Khasi & Jaintia hills found excellence in making bridges out the ‘live’ tree roots. Like they say necessity is the mother of invention so were these bridges as they help to facilitate the tribal of Khasi & Jaintia to cross over the flowing streams that flows below these bridges now.
Handcrafted by the tribals who are primality the hunting and the war tribes, these root bridges are made from the roots of rubber trees. The roots of betel nut trees and carefully crafted to give the shape what we see today. A total feast for the travelers eye, these roots bridges grow stronger with the passage of time. Today a UNESCO World Heritage Site, these roots bridges build from roots of Indian rubber tree also help to hold the tree securely to the ground. Over years when these roots grow in size and so does their strength converting them into beautiful pathways that we see today.
The process takes years almost 12- 15 years and the skill that it takes to create such incredible work shows what hard work does. It simply makes life a little easy for many. The bridges simply look like a piece of art out from a fairy tale.
Meghalaya sees a number of other root bridges too along the Cherrapunjee belt. That includes – Mawsaw, Umkar and Ritymmen (the Double-Decker Bridge at the Nongthymmai Village) root bridges.
Jingmaham Living Root Bridge – The single decker root bridge is almost around 2 hours from Shillong and can be reached via a cab. It doesn’t have a steep climb. Accessibility is easy.
Umkar Root Bridge – Built over the Ummunoi River near Siej Village to reach this bridge you need to trek for twi hours.