A Marvel of Nature; Living Root Bridges of Meghalaya
India is well-loved place and mostly nature and its serenity is something people die for. People generally opt for the 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 roots of Banyan trees.
Messy Bundle of Roots:
Meghalaya tribes namely the Khasi and War Jaintia use these roots to connect to another side in the mountainous region. What is inexplicable is that these roots when shaped manually take over decades to form a bridge but once it’s formed, it can take a bunch of people all crossing at the same time!
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 the 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.
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 km away from Shillong.
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.
The Localities claim to be unaware of the history of these live root bridges. There are no records up till the late 1800s. 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.
Located just near Mawlynnong which is known as Asias cleanest village, Riwai is home to the single decker living root bridge which you often see in photos. It stands in the midst of greenery with a stream flowing right under it. The best way to reach RIwai is to take the road route from Shillong to Mawlynnong which is a famous road on account of the growing popularity of Mawlynnong. Riwai is just 1 km from Mawlynnong. It is around 76 km from Shillong and takes around 2 hours and 15 minutes by road. You can reach Shillong by flying to Guwahati and then taking a 3-hour road trip in a private vehicle.
How to reach double-decker living root bridge in Nongriat
This is the big one. Around 12 km (30 minutes by road) from Cherrapunji is the village called Nongriat which is home to the stunning double-decker living root bridge. Once you reach Nongriat, 3000 steep steps winding around a hill and a bit of trekking that involves passing though shaky bridges take you to the beautiful double-decker living root bridges. A little pond by the bridge forms a natural cold Jacuzzi if that kind of thing interests you. The ambiance is so peaceful here that you may not want to go back. You can reach Nongriat from Shillong via Cherrapunji by road.
So, next time to plan a vacation, pick Meghalaya and visit the marvelous living root bridges which are one of Indias best natural wonders.