PARADISE UNEXPLORED : INDIA’S INCREDIBLE NORTH EAST

Presentation 55

These bridges are ancient solutions to a perennial problem in rain drenched Meghalaya . To make a bridge across a stream , a tree of species Ficus elastica [ Indian Rubber tree ] is chosen along one bank . This tree is known for its profuse aerial roots like the Banyan Tree . Another matching tree on the other bank would be a double delight . Long trunks of the Areca nut palm are cut and allowed to rot till they become hollow tubes . These tubes are laid across the river and the aerial roots of the ficus plant are encouraged to grow through them till they find soil at the other end . By a slow process taking 15- 20 years aerial roots criss cross and entwine with other climbers to form a bridge which is then paved with stones and earth . The bridges continue to grow stronger with time and there are structures existing that are 600 years old . Unlike man made bridges , these bridges are weather proof and maintenance free . There are numerous bridges all over Meghalaya but the ” touristy ” ones are near Cherrapunji esp the superstar ” Double Decker ” bridge

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