In Spotlight the Fascinating and Awesome Root Bridges

Here you can see a wonder, a double tiered bio LIVING ROOT  bridge that never got built but GROWN. The said bridge is nothing but the living roots of Banyan fig trees shaped so as to form a bridge across mountain rivulet. Living bio bridges. It gets cultivated in a minimum of 15 years, found to be in use for hundreds of years, requiring no maintenance. It is not so easy to find the way to the bridges of this kind. Even the locals are not aware of the beautiful thing they have. Instead of trying to reach for the double decker bridge the locals directed the search party to enter another way to locate the double tiered root bridge.

Info On Root bridges

They get handcrafted from the aerial tubers of living banyan fig trees, such as Ficus elastica by the Khasi people and War Jaintia peoples of the mountainous region along the southern section of the Shillong Tableland.

The supple tree roots are made to grow into betel tree logs which have been placed transversely rivers and streams till the figs’ tubers connect themselves to the opposite side. Clubs, rocks, and other things are used to preserve the developing bridge. This method can take up to 15 years to develop. The serviceable lifespan of any given living root bridge is changeable, but it is thought that, under perfect conditions, they can remain in commonly useful for many hundreds of years. As long as the tree they are made from remains strong, they readily self-renew and self-strengthen as their fundamental rootstocks become denser.

These types of bridges are plenty and found in the southern part of the northeastern state of Meghalaya, India, very close to the famous rainiest place on the earth ‘ Cheerapunji’. There are many 100 years or even older such bridges. Locals say that their forefathers constructed the bamboo to cross many rivulets. It rains so heavily that such bamboo bridges did not last long. Then they started to use the roots, deadlocks and ropes of banyan trees. With the passage of time such bridges got stronger and no maintenance was ever required.


Living Root Bridges are known to occur in the West Jaintia Hills district and East Khasi Hills district. In the Jaintia Hills, examples of Living Root Bridges can be found in and around the villages of Shnongpdeng, Nongbareh, Khonglah, Padu, and Kudeng Rim. In the East Khasi Hills, living root bridges nearby, Cherrapunji is well known to exist in and around the villages of Tynrong, Mynteng, Nongriat, Nongthymmai, and around Laitkynsew. East of Cherrapunji. Examples of living root bridges are known to exist in the Khatarshnong region, in and around the villages of Nongpriang, Sohkynduh, Rymmai, Mawshuit, and Kongthong. Many more can be found near Pynursla and around the village of Mawlynnong. Via


Photo Credit: Wikipedia

As a party looked for the double decker bridge but instead found something else. However, later on,  the double-decker root bridge could be reached. The locals and trackers made some 1600 stairs to reach the place. It is laid across the rivulet ‘Umniar’ in the dense green forest and is entirely covered with green leaves and the living roots. The present generation has forgotten to make the art of making the bridge and now trying to learn and lay the new bridges.


Former Sailing Sea Captain at V.Ships, Miami, FL, USA (retired in 2009). Studied BA (Sophomore) at The Principia, now lives in Jaipur, India

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