We made a trip to Meghalaya in December 2009. Meghalaya means ‘the abode of clouds’ and Cherrapunjee, the rainiest paradise on earth is well embedded within this region. Cherraunjee is locally known as ‘Sohra’ and has been declared as the official name of the place by the State Government. From Shillong we started our journey to visit Cherrapunjee, One can take tourist buses (mini size) run by the Government of Meghalaya or private taxis. As the journey goes on, we will be travelling almost on the top of the hills most of the time. On the way, one can see mountain peaks, the deep valleys covered with green carpet of trees and the distantly visible everflowing steams in the pristine valleys. Most exiting are the natural waterfalls (a plenty to enjoy).
Standing on the edge on the top of the mountain, one naturally tempts to go down the valleys and see what exists there. Surely, there is a way. After reaching Cheeraunjee, one can enter the deep forests of those deep valleys. Government of Meghalya and a few private operators arranges trips to some of these areas. We ventured into these forests and visited most exiting sceneries.
One of them is Living Root Bridges. The photographs of these Living Root Bridges are taken by us and displayed above. These Living Root Bridges are exclusive to Meghalaya and may not be found elsewhere in the world. There grows a wonderful tree known as Indian Rubber Tree (botanical name: Ficus Elastica). The roots of this Indian Rubber Tree was originally grown all over its surroundings and possibly the local tribes, many years back, meticuously moulded these roots into bridges to cross the fast flowing streams. For years together, the local tribes are using these bridges to fetch the forest products (fruits and leaves of various kind) from the other side of the streams.
There is only one Double Decker Living Root Bridge which is having two levels (shown in the pictures above). A few of these bio-engineering wonders are 53 feet, 70 feet and 100 feet long. These are very strong and can carry many people at a time and perhaps last for many more years to come. These are growing in strength day by day. These Living Root Bridges are reachable by foot throughout the year and in deed, one has to step down near about 3000 steps down the valley. These bridges are being used by local villagers daily and one can get delicious fruits (oranges) on the way.
(A Greeting by locals meant for Namaste, God Bless).