Living root bridges are a type of simple suspension bridge formed of living plant roots by tree shaping. Living root bridges are common in the state of Meghalaya.
Meghalaya is a state in Northeast India and is also called the “The abode of clouds.” The regions are one of the wettest places in the world. The people living in these regions are called the Khasis. They have developed a relationship with the forest from ancient times.
The Khasis developed a way to travel through the forest through the waterfalls and other water bodies by creating the living root bridges also known as jing kieng jri. It takes about 25 to 30 years for the formation of such living root bridges. These bridges become stronger with time. The origin of the creation of the living root bridges is not known; however, the first record appears more than a hundred years ago.
Facts and Information
• The lifespan of these bridges is very long. Some of these bridges are around 500 years old
• Living root bridges in Meghalaya are World Heritage Sites recognized by UNESCO.
• Some of these bridges can hold up to 50 people at a time and grow around 50-100 feet long.
• A living root bridge is made from rubber tree roots also known as Ficus elastica tree.
Best Time to Visit
The weather is pleasant here throughout the year. However, it is better to avoid monsoon (June to August) because the roads are slippery, making it difficult and dangerous to walk.
Listed below are popular living root bridges (single and double) you can visit in Meghalaya:
Single-Decker Living Root Bridges
Ummunoi Root Bridge: Grown over Ummunoi river near Siej village, this 17 m (54 foot) root bridge is one of the oldest known root bridges in the region and is perhaps the most popular with tourists due to its accessibility.
Ummunoi root bridge
Ritymmen Root Bridge: Located at Nongthymmai village, this 100 ft long living root bridge is the longest known living root bridge.
Umkar Root Bridge: Located only 30 minutes further from Siej Village, the Umkar root bridge is the best option for those who lack fitness or mobility.
Double-Decker Living Root Bridge
Umshiang Double Living Root Bridge: Also known as the Umshiang Double Decker Living Root Bridge, it is located in Nongriat Village near Cherrapunjee. The bridge is 30 m long bridge and stands 2400 feet high. It's a unique attraction and quite an innovative mix of nature and engineering. Beneath it flows the Umshiang River.
Umshiang double-decker living root bridge
How to Reach
The trail to the double-decker living root bridge begins in Tyrna Village. The village approx. of 12 km from Cherrapunjee and from here, the bridge is a 3 km. trek. The entire trekking route takes you through villages where you can observe how the local tribal communities have a very deep connection with nature. All the houses in the forest are built of bamboo and mud.
Things to note: Entry and camera fees are payable at the double-decker root bridge. The cost is 10 rupees for adults, 5 rupees for children, and 20 rupees for a camera.
Adventure activities in Meghalaya
Essentials to Carry During your Hike
Water: The trek is long and the temperature can get pretty humid. You gotta stay hydrated.
Spare shorts: The river you come across is crystal clear and will compel you to dive in. This is where your spare shorts come in handy.
Comfy shoes: You need proper shoes to support your feet for the long walk.
There are plenty of homestays and hotels in this area. Check out or stay page for the list.
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