Double Decker Living Root Bridge, Meghalaya – A Stunning Example of Bioengineering

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It was a quiet night and I had a good sleep in the hotel room. The morning was a pleasant one and I pulled the drapes on the window to one side and looked out. The streets in Shillong looked quite clean. Though you can see the hustle and bustle of the urban place, Shillong still has the local quaintness. No doubt, I loved this small city perched high on the Khasi Hills. The young people here looked fashionable; nevertheless, many wore traditional Khasi dress, which looked very elegant.

Sipping my tea, I enjoyed the views outside; by then, my friends joined me. We had gone through our itinerary again last night. In the morning, we had planned to visit the Double Decker Living Root Bridge, which is situated in the southern part of Cherrapunjee. Since we loved to travel by bus, we had to start early to board the bus from the MTC bus station.

Double Decker Living Root Bridge
Double Decker Living Root Bridge | Image Resource : harleyrustad.com

The Living Root Bridge is about seventy kilometers away from the Bara Bazaar, Shillong. Cherrapunjee, being one among the wettest places in the world, attracted a lot of people for its scenic beauty. We reached Mameshwar, Cherrapunjee after two hours of travel. From there, we got a help from a local Khasi guide and trekked through a small village, which I believed was said as Tyrna. From there we were again guided through some villages and crossed a river to reach Mawlynnong.

 

Bara Bazar Shillong
Bara Bazar Shillong | Image Resource : allyouneedisaneggplant.wordpress.com

At Mawlynnong, we saw the sublime beauty of nature, where the bridges are grown; in fact, they are made to grow by the Khasi tribes, who knew little about modern engineering. These Living Root Bridges, which are grown in double-decker, looked simple to talk theoretically, but difficult to built as it took long years to grow and become firm and sturdy.

We walked on the bridge admiring the bioengineering, where the roots of the rubber tree called Ficus Elastica are intermingled to make the bridge. Holding on the rails I could see the living roots pulled and twisted to make them strong, while the secondary roots of the tree are manipulated to grow horizontally.

Ficus elastica
Ficus Elastica | Image Resource : vizpark.com

I was told that these living bridges take time to become accessible and once they are strong they hold as many as 50 people. To my astonishment, some bridges are over 100 feet long. I took a few snaps of the Umshiang Double Decker Root Bridge, which is over 200 years old and reluctantly left the place still mesmerized by the stunning wonder of nature.

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