These Root Bridges In Northern India Aren’t Built – They’re Grown

In the dense tropical forest of the Northeast Indian state, Meghalaya, you can find some amazing man-made natural wonders known as living root bridges. The living root bridges of Meghalaya, India are made from the roots of the Ficus elastica tree.

Image credit - 500px/Andy Holt
Image credit – 500px/Andy Holt

Native to the northeast region, Khasi tribe trained them to grow from the roots of ancient rubber trees.


Wooden bridges can easily decay and get destroyed during monsoon seasons, these amazing root bridges are a very good alternative.

It can take around 10 to 15 years for a new root bridge to become strong enough to bear the weight of more than 50 people. It continues to grow and strengthen even more over time.

Image credit - 500px/Marcus Fornell
Image credit – 500px/Marcus Fornell

The U.S. receives 28 inches of annual rainfall but Cherrapunji also known as Sohra, receives 463.7 inches of annual rainfall. Cherrapunji is one of the world’s wettest place in the world. This means that there are hundreds of fast-flowing, quickly flooded rivers and streams in the area. Trees can grow its roots easily in such area in very short time.

The living bridges of Meghalaya, India are made from the roots of the Ficus elastica tree. This tree produces a series of secondary roots from higher up its trunk and can comfortably perch atop huge boulders along the riverbanks, or even in the middle of the rivers themselves. Image Credit - 500px/Shiraz Hansen
Image Credit – 500px/Shiraz Hansen

Some of these root bridges are believed to be hundreds of years old, although no one knows their exact age. There are 11 functional root bridges in this area, situated around two and a half hours drive from Shillong.

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