Wonderful example of nature’s engineering
It is said that no matter how much engineering a person does, his work becomes very light in front of the engineering of nature. These unique bridges of Meghalaya are just like that. Due to their specialty, UNESCO has given them a place in its heritage list.
Known as Living Root Bridges, these bridges are made from the roots of trees and do not use any kind of steel or cement. Up to 50 people can cross these bridges simultaneously. Their specialty is that they can last for 500 years. These bridges are common in Meghalaya and are the center of attraction for tourists. In the local language, they are called Jingqiang Zari.
included in the list of UNESCO
Meghalaya CM Conrad Sangma has informed about the inclusion of these bridges in the UNESCO list. CM Sangma wrote in his tweet, “I am thrilled to announce that our ‘Jingqiang Jari: Living Root Bridge Cultural Landscapes of Meghalaya’ has been included in the tentative list of UNESCO World Heritage Site.”
Sangma further wrote “Bridges of Living Roots stand out not only for their exemplary human-environment symbiotic relationship, but also for their pioneering use for connectivity and the need to adopt sustainable measures to balance economy and ecology. Huh.”
How is the unique bridge made?
Meghalaya receives heavy rains, due to which the water level of mountain rivers rises rapidly. During this time, these bridges are very useful to cross these rivers. These bridges are found in large quantities in 70 villages of Khasi and Jayanti hills in two areas of Meghalaya. There are 100 known Living Root Bridges to date. People of this area have been using these bridges for 180 years. However, there is no credible evidence as to when they developed.
No money to make, no maintenance cost
No steel or cement is used in making these bridges. Neither money nor maintenance is required to build these bridges. The roots of the banyan on the banks of the river are tied to the other bank with some support and they gradually grow and spread to that place. These roots are tied in the same way and the shape of a bridge is given. When these are ready, stones are put on it for the convenience of walking.
These root bridges run for 500 years
These bridges are found in both single decker and double decker form. A double decker bridge consists of one bridge over another. These bridges take 10 to 15 years to build but once ready, these bridges last for 500 years. Also, it does not require any kind of maintenance, but with time, as the roots keep growing, these bridges also become stronger.
Living Root Bridges span from 15 feet to 250 feet. They can also protect against storms and flash floods. These root bridges are spread across rivers connecting one village to another.