Bridges are not just a mode of traversing across lakes or rough terrains, but some of them are also a scintillating work of art. Many of these have become popular tourists attractions, drawing visitors from across the globe. But not all bridges have been created by outstanding architects or engineers. Some of them are magnificent owing to Mother Nature itself. India is home to some natural root bridges, which are mostly found in the northeastern state of Meghalaya. Incidentally, the state also is the wettest place on earth and the incessant rainfall leads to swollen rivers, bringing trouble in commutation. Thus, for the last 180 years, people of two districts namely Khasi Hills District and West Jaintia Hills have been weaving the tree roots into a sturdy structure, so the swollen rivers can be crossed.
Here’s a List of Some Living Root Bridges –
1. Umshiang Root Bridge – The Double Decker Root Bridge
The Umshiang bridge, which is 17 meters long, is popularly known as the double-decker root bridge. It is the most popular and also one of the oldest living root bridges in the Meghalaya region. The Umshiang bridge is well-known due to its easy accessibility and resilience. It is after a descent of 1400 meters that you reach this famous bridge in Meghalaya. Physical conditions should be taken into account as not everyone can pass the bridge.
Starting point – Nongriat Village
Location – Umshiang river at Nongriat village
Distance – 2 kilometers
Descent – 1,400 feet
2. Mawsaw Root Bridge
Located at a distance of thirty minutes from the Umshiang root bridge, the Mawsaw bridge has a natural swimming pool which is a major attraction. It is considered among the top living root bridges in Meghalaya part. However, do remember the swimming pool is unsafe during the monsoon season.
Starting point – Mawsaw village
Location – Mawsaw village
3. Rittymmen Root Bridge
This bridge can be visited while on the way to the double-decker root bridge. Do not visit during the monsoon season as you will be disappointed due to the rain washed terrain.
Starting point – Tyrna village
Location – Nongthymmai village
Distance – 30 meters
4. Ummunoi Root Bridge
It is another one of the most popular and oldest living root bridges in Meghalaya. It is a single root bridge which is a three-kilometer one-way trek.
Starting point – Laitkynsew village
Location – Ummunoi river near Siej village
Distance – 3 kilometers
Descent – 1,400 feet.
5. Umkar Root Bridge
The Umkar root bridge was partially washed away by floods nearly 40 years ago. The villagers are still in the process of re-growing it. The bridge is currently 75% complete and is going to take another 15 years to grow completely. There is a beautiful waterfall alongside the bridge which appears heavenly during the monsoon season. This living root bridge in Meghalaya is the best option for those who want to have an experience of trekking over the root bridges. The color of the bridge is light brown which denotes the bridge is still under construction.
Starting point – Siej village
Location – Umkar village
6. Mawlynnong Root Bridge
Renowned as Asia’s cleanest village, Mawlynnong village in Meghalaya is situated approximately 300 meters away from this living root bridge. The bridge is considered readily accessible.
Starting point – Riwai village
Location – a few kilometers before Mawlynnong
Do visit these living root bridges and share your experiences with us.