It is incredible to see the bridges in Cherrapunji grow on their own, instead of being built. They are called ‘Living Bridges’ of Cherrapunji. Cherrapunji, in Meghalaya, India, is famous for the highest amount of rainfall in the world. It is not only the maximum rainfall that you witness here, but the place is adorned with amazing plants also, which leave you astonished.
A local tribe in Meghalaya, called War-Khasis, realized the utility of the plant ‘Ficus elastica’ (a rubber tree that produces secondary roots from higher up in the trunk, steeping into the river beds or perching around the boulders), to grow bridges naturally.
It is all about using intelligence in making this bridge. The local tribesmen allow the rubber tree’s roots to grow in the right direction, by making use of the betel-nut trunks which are sliced down from the middle and hollowed out.
The roots are then made to return to soil, so that over a period of time, a strong bridge is constructed. This strength of the bridge is directly proportional to the time factor i.e. the maximum the time covered; the maximum is the strength of the bridge. And to one’s amazement, these bridges can last up to centuries, taking of about 10-15 years of time for the development.
The root bridges can stretch up to 100 feet long and are sturdy to accommodate around 50 or more people simultaneously. The passage is covered with stones and boulders entangling the roots, to make an easier way.