India is well loved and most opted by people looking for spiritual and physical adventures at the exotic places found at every nook and corner in this country. One such special feature exclusive to India and also the Meghalayan Pride, unique to the North Eastern State, the root bridges are naturally occurring bridges that are formed by the the roots of Banyan trees, mainly Ficus Elasticia. Banyan trees have prop roots which grow as the support for the huge tree having an average lifetime of 100 years.
Messy Bundle of Roots:
Meghalayan tribes namely the Khasi and War Jaintia use these roots to connect to other side in the mountainous region. What is inexplicable is that these roots when shaped manually take over decades to form a bridge but once its formed, it can take a bunch of people all crossing at the same time!
The messy bundles of roots that form these bridges grow over a period of time and gain strength, entangle amongst themselves to form mesh like structures. This entangling confers extra potency and support to the Live Root Bridges, as they are called in the Capital of Meghalaya,Che Cherapunjee that is about 50 kms away from Shillong.
These miraculous bundle bridges are found in single sheath form as well as a couple together. Double Decker bridges take a lot of time to form. Spotting a naturally transpiring Double Decker root bridge is like spotting a rainbow in desert, though possible but in a rare occurrence situation. Also an object of fascination and fixation are triple decker root bridges, of which only one is known to be found out.
As dangerous as they might look, these are the adventure loving trekker’s treasure. The living root bridges are on the to-do list of every trekker who wouldn’t mind an inexpensive adventure. Though risky considering the life saving do or die circumstance, persons with weak hearts are strictly prohibited on expectations of trying it.
Cleanest Village Of Asia: Mawlynnong, perched on hills about 100 kms east from shillong was awarded the Cleanest Village award in 2003. The villagers make an effort to keep the surroundings eco friendly and clean. This is the site of easiest live root bridge treks, and this place is most preferred. People favour the green and clean ambience along with the trek pleasures. This village is also amorously entitled as the ‘God’s Own Garden’, in reverence of the Eden Garden’s beauty.
History and importance:
The Localites claim to be unaware of the history of these live root bridges. There are no records up till late 1800’s. These nature’s enchanting figurines remain an astonishing mystery till date, as to who found them and when, which adds to the attraction and thrill of these bridges.
The Khasi and Jaintia tribes of the mountain terrain allegedly talk about this bio engineering technique to have been found by their ancestors. This was and still avers to be the only steady solution to cross the streams and rivers in the rainy season when they are at full flow. The rubber tree roots are stretched from opposite ends of river to be joint and grown into this bridge.
Longest Bridge of 50 metres: The longest living root bridge is of over 50 metres situated in a village named Pynursla. It joins the villages of Mawkyrnot and Rangthylliang.
Meghalayan Root Bridges are an unsolved inscrutable structure of India. These play an important role in the sacred formation of History and Myths.