18th May 2024

Routes off roots: Living root bridges of Meghalaya

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Living Root Bridges

Living Root Bridges

There is a reason why Meghalaya, ‘the abode of clouds’, stands apart from any other region in the world. Living root bridges found in the eastern part of this little, picturesque northeastern State are a unique organic wonder.

The root bridges are a fine example of ‘tree shaping’ – the art of shaping trees into desired shapes, also known as ‘arbotecture’. Aerial roots of rubber trees on one bank of a stream are nurtured and shaped to mesh with the rubber roots on the other bank, thus forming a bridge. Areca trees are grown beside the rubber trees to provide stability to the growing roots. These bridges take around 15 years to complete, and a bridge can last as long as 100 years. These handmade yet natural bridges are built by the Khasi and Jaintia peoples living along the Shillong plateau.

The root bridges of Meghalaya are bioengineering at its best. And that it can be found only in Meghalaya is a matter of immense pride for not only the State but also India.

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