Thick tropical woods of Meghalaya drops of dew upon it and sweet chirps make it a scenic spot. But what make it remarkable are its living root bridges, a wonder of nature built by mankind. A popular attraction of Cherrapunji, Living Root Bridges are located in close proximity with the Wettest Place on Earth, Mawsynram. The vicinity is covered with clouds and rains for much of the year. The most renowned is the Umshiang Double Decker Root Bridge. These Living Root Bridges are two bridges stacked one upon the other and hence they have been named Double Decker. These are formed due to the entanglement of roots.
The resident Khasi Tribe’s ancestors observed the roots and realized that the roots had the ability to take the weight of people crossing it. Some of the living root bridges in Cherrapunji are Ummuoi Root Bridge, Umkar Root Bridge and Mawsaw Root Bridge. Some of these bridges are over a hundred feet long and in fact grow stronger with time.
- Ummunoi Root Bridges: This is the oldest known living root bridge of the region. This also is a highly popular attraction, mainly because of easy accessibility and scenic charm. The bridge is 74 meter long settled at a height of 1400 feet.
- Ritymmen Root Bridge: This can be visited while you are on your way to the popular double-decker living root bridges. Tyrna Village is the starting point of this bridge and the length of the bridge is 30 meter.
- Umkar Root Bridge: The bridge starts from Siej Village and is a short one; it hardly takes thirty minutes to go to and fro. A part of the bridge was washed away by flood years ago and local villagers are rebuilding it, and it is interesting to see them at work. During the monsoon season it looks even more beautiful as a glistening waterfall pours just beside it.
- Umshiang Double Decker Root Bridge: This, without doubts, is the popular living root bridge and what’s interesting is that this is a double-decker living-root bridge. It starts from Tyrna Village and is 3 kilometers long, situated at a height of 2400 feet. To reach the upper bridge, which is 20-meter long, one needs determination but it is all worth the efforts. Also, keep a note that reaching up to the upper bridge is not recommended for physically unfit people.
- Mawsaw Root Bridge: Walk past the Double Decker Bridge for 20 to 30 minutes and you would reach Mawsaw Bridge. The highlight of this bridge is the natural swimming pool.