root bridge india Who needs steel and concrete when you can build a bridge over a river by harnessing the power of nearby trees?

Within the state of Meghalaya in northeastern India, in the southern Khasi and Jaintia hills, a species of Indian rubber tree known as Ficus elastica grows roots that are so strong that they can simultaneously support the weight of dozens of people.

Cherrapunji, one of the cities within the region, is considered to be one of the wettest in the world. Things grow pretty quickly and sturdily around there.

The War-Khasis, a tribe that has inhabited the region for hundreds of years, was able to concoct a root guidance system made from trunks of other trees to lead the Ficus elastica roots over rivers in the area.

Yes, it takes ten to 15 years for the root bridge to fully form and take root on the opposite side of the river, but the bridges that are produced are strong and, because they continue to grow, gain strength for years after they become functional.

Bridges that are over 500 years old are still used by people in the villages today and some bridges can support the weight of 50 people at once.

Have a look at these natural wonders below…

root bridges india
A double decker root bridge. Photo: VinayakH/Flickr

root bridges india 1

Photo: Korzh Roman/Flickr

root bridges india 2

Photo: Korzh Roman/Flickr

root bridges india 3

Photo: Neelima V/Flickr

root bridges india 4

Photo: Ashwin Kumar/Flickr

Primary image via Prehit/Flickr

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