Nongriat : Where The Bridges Come Alive

Living root bridges are handmade from the aerial roots of banyan fig trees by Khasi people.

Forever I wondered that maybe one day the lands they talk about in the Fairy Tales, like Alice of The Wonderland or Peter Pan’s Neverland, will come face to face to me in real life. I had to wait a long time, but my dream was fulfilled the moment I visited Nongriat.

This small little place in the heart of Meghalaya is the real-life nirvana. Carpeted in lush greenery this is the place where the human life coincides with nature. Meghalaya is made up for two words, ‘Megha’ and ‘Alaya’ meaning the abode of clouds, named so for a reason. This is the wettest place in India. There is an annual rainfall of about 12 metres falling on the mountains and valleys.

But one of the most attention gaining thing lies deep within the jungles, living root bridges.

Originally concocted by the local Khasi tribes, the bridges are formed from the roots of rubber trees. Traditionally, the roots are carefully guided across spaces with the aid of the straight trunks of betel nut trees. But as the tribes get introduced to modern technologies, cables are taking the place of the betel nut trees.

The trek from Cherrapunji to Meghalaya is again one of its kind. The root bridges are scattered all around the state of  Meghalaya, the bridge in Mawlynnong is the most famous one. The path we took skipped the crowds and to visit the most supreme of them all: Umshiang, the double-decker root bridge in the village of Nongriat listed as one of the best offbeats of the continent.

Reaching the point, however, is not a simple task. Although the tourists’ ways are guided by a newly-minted cement pathway, the journey to Nongriat still remains steep one.

The way was mostly filled with pouring rain and slug filled way and the legs gave out on the carrying our packs down the 2,500 stairs. But the view from the trek made up for all the difficulties. That was one ethereal sight that is not easily found with an abundance of flora and fauna we don’t find in normal life.

Luckily, the slog was mostly downhill and also only for about 1.5 hours emerging us into the heaven of  Nongriat village.

Resting there for the night, we held our hearts for the sight we were to see the next day. As we ventures into the favourite sight of the village, The living bridge we were spellbound. It was as if by magic the trees were put together to form the bridge, indeed a sight to see.

But there’s more to Nongriat than just the double-decker bridge and if one takes the time to hike an extra hour, and they will be treated to all kinds of stunning views. Rainbow Falls is a must-see.

So if your next trip is to India, this place is one to see.


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