India Living Root Bridges

Published on June 29th, 2017 | by What's What Team

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Routes off roots: Living root bridges of Meghalaya

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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2 Responses to Routes off roots: Living root bridges of Meghalaya

  1. Shalmaly says:

    Meghalaya does not mean ‘the abode of snow’ as mentioned in the article, rather the abode of clouds. Also, the roots of Rubber trees are guides by Areca nut (Supari; Supuri) palm tree, not Betel vine (Piper betle). There two are completely different type of plants. The seed of Areace palm is commonly referred to as betel nut because of betel leaves are used to wrap it as part of a preparation called ‘paan’.

    • What's What Team says:

      Dear Shalmaly,
      The correction with the meaning of ‘Meghalaya’ has been carried out. It went amiss. However, my using ‘betel trees’ in place of Areca trees was intentional. I preferred to provide as much information as possible without getting vague, but I also understand your point of view. The corrections have been made. I would like you to go through the article once again and let me know if it reads fine now.

      Thankfully,
      Team What’s What

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