Living Root Bridges in Meghalaya
Living Root Bridges in Meghalaya-Centuries-old bridges grown from tangled roots:
- The Living Root Bridges are made from rubber tree roots also known as Ficus elastica tree.
- Some of the root bridges are over 100 feet long and take 10 to 15 years to attain the perfect shape.
- Once fully grown, these roots last for as long as 500 years. While some of the roots decay because of their continuous association of water, others grow and make up for the decayed, thus providing the required stability to the bridge.
- Of all the Living Root Bridges in Meghalaya, the double-decker root bridge in Cherrapunji and the single-decker root bridge in Shillong are the unique bridges in the world and make for prime attraction in the Northeast.
- Living Root Bridges in Meghalaya are recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Sites.
- Ficus elastica is conducive to the growth of bridges because of its very nature. “There are three main properties: they are elastic, the roots easily combine and the plants grow in rough, rocky soils,”
- The bridges can be considered a reference point for future botanical architecture projects in urban contexts.
- The findings relating to the traditional techniques of the Khasi people can promote the further development of modern architecture,”
- The researchers believe this extraordinary building technique can help facilitate “better adaptation to the impacts of climate change”.
- There is a great potential to use these techniques to develop new forms of urban green in dense cities.
- By understanding the growth history, we can learn how long the bridge has taken to grow to its current state and from there design future growth or repairs, or growth of other bridges.