Living Root Bridges

“Bridges” – we all know about them right? They are used mostly to cross strong rivers, deep gorges, between two cliffs etc. How many types of bridges do we know? Pontoon bridge, cantilever bridge, suspension bridge – and many more. But ever heard of a bridge made of living roots?

Umshiang Double Decker Bridge ( Credit – Neelima Vallangi )

Yes, this unique wonder exists in Meghalaya, a north-eastern state of India and a plateau geographically, placed just on the “shoulder” of Bangladesh. This is the place receiving the most amount of annual rainfall in the world (the village in Mawsynram).  Being situated at the windward side of Eastern Himalayas, this place is gifted with lush green vegetation of tropical evergreen rainforest. Numerous streams run through the rough terrain, creating a lot of waterfalls on their way. These waterfalls and the streams are normally gentle but becomes pretty rough during the monsoon rains – creating troubles to cross them, for the indigenous tribal people of this area – the Khasi tribe.

In order to overcome this barrier, the elders developed a unique way around 200 years back. Rubber tree roots are collected and made to grow at one side of the river, through the Areca Nut trees, commonly found in this region. These roots are supported firmly with the help of sticks, stones etc. so that they get a strong hold of the ground. Then these roots are gently nurtured and guided to the other side of the river. The whole process of building a web of roots from one side of the river to the other takes 15 to 20 years to get completed.

The most interesting fact about these bridges are they grow stronger with time – in contrast to the conventional bamboo bridges which worn out fast. These bridges are capable of handling around 500 people and last nearly 500 years. Age of most of the strongest bridges present here are 100 years or more. The most spectacular and famous one is the Umshiang double-decker bridge – on the river Umshiang. This bridge is about 180 years old.

Today’s prompt “survival” goes so well with this unique strategy of devising natural solutions to survival issues – that’s why I selected this topic for today.

For more information and Image source  – Click Here



27 thoughts on “Living Root Bridges

  1. Thats so neat! Looks like something they got the idea from to build animal crossings for animals to get safely across man made roads!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Yes of course.. We often forget the power of nature and the fact that nature heraelf has got solution to every problem – the only thing is you have to find it.
    Glad that you liked it..😊

    Liked by 2 people

  3. You are welcome as always😊😊
    I myself didn’t know until yesterday – accidentally stumbled on the information in a footnote.
    Glad that you liked it..

    Liked by 1 person

  4. 😊😊 There are so many unheard and undiscovered things in the interior of the tribal areas – all over the world. The more I get know, I feel like I know so little!! One life is not enough to get to know nature truly 😊😊
    Glad that you liked it.. 😊😊

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Yes pretty cool indeed!! You know several tribes accross the world have such vast knowledge of medicine, derived from local plants and weeds unknown to us – that will leave us spellbound.
    We humans are the best creatures nature ever created but ironically, we are the one who are destroying our creator and the creations. But nobody can be more powerful than nature herself – if we forget that, we will face the consequences. We are already facing it actually.


  6. Thanks and you are absolutely right.. Quality is very important.. At least from my side there should be that satisfaction that yes I did whatever I could do.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Exactly!! It’s all your own self.. satisfaction of your soul.. That’s what matters the most.. 😊😊
    Thanks again.. 😊😊

    Liked by 1 person

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