Meghalaya living bridges

Before the advent of all-weather roads, how did people travel, especially in places where it rained almost every day? Like always, people found a solution in the nature around them. The result? Living root bridges. 

One can safely say that living root bridges are now one of the most well-known tourist destinations of Meghalaya. These bridges were built by the indigenous Khasi people of Meghalaya, who relied on ingenuity to come up with the concept of living root bridges. The famous ‘Double decker bridge’ in Nongriat village in the East Khasi Hills district is a great example of their works and achievements.  

However, these bridges now face existential threats. The urge to protect them inspired Morningstar Kongthaw and his brother Shiningstar Kongthaw from Rangthylliang village in Pynursla, Meghalaya to start the Living Roots Bridge Foundation in 2017. The Foundation aims to rescue, preserve and protect these bridges to ensure that future generations also get to marvel at them. 

It becomes instantly clear that growing a living root bridge requires years of dedication, and the process does not become easier with money. One needs to first build a bamboo bridge and grow a Ficus Elastica rubber tree, then pull the roots and entwine it with the bamboo, after which the roots require a lot of nourishment. Only after 30-40 years can one have the first stage of a functional root bridge.

Watch our video to see how Meghalaya’s citizens, both young and old, are working towards protecting, conserving and promoting one of Meghalaya’s most amazing examples of architecture. 

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