Most often people are familiar with bridges made from trees. What about bridges made of the roots of living trees? There is no space for wrinkled eyebrows. They are common in southern part of Meghalaya. These grand old bridges in Meghalaya indicate its age. They were built by ancestors years ago. Each bridge has centuries of stories to reveal. Seeing these bridges and walking through them are a real wonder for us people who are competing each other in building concrete bridges. Living bridges are molded with Ficus Elastica, or Banyan Fig Trees.
Their aerial roots are made to merge with the betel tree trunks. Thus making them tough. It takes about 15 years for the bridges to mature and they are ready to hold people. Historical Importance Bridges are an inevitable thing for a place which receives an abounding amount of rainfall annually. For Khasis and War Jaintias (local tribes) it was impossible for them to sustain the wooden bridges with the heavy rainfall. Thus they fashioned the Ficus Elastica trees to merge with Betel Nut tree trunks. Popular living bridges Living double-decker Root Bridge is found in Cherrapunji, the wettest place on earth. Wet hanging root across the river is an amazing sight.
11 functional root bridges are situated around two and a half hours drive from Shillong. Ummunoi Root Bridge: It is located in Ummunoi river near Siej village and starts from Laitkynsew village. This 17 meter (54 foot) root bridge is one of the oldest known root bridges. In fact it is the most popular tourist destination with its convenience and grandeur. Umkar Root Bridge: It is in Siej village. This particular bridge lies beside a waterfall and was washed away by flood. Villages are in the process of its remake. Ritymmen Root Bridge: This 100 meter living bridge is the longest known living bride and is located in Tyrna village. Those interested in adventure could opt for a walk in Umshiang double decker root bridge located at Nongriat village and Mawsaw root bridge. Grasp a chance to visit these rare bridges build by human in collaboration with the nature.