The Khasi tribe in India builds living bridges using tree roots

May 2, 2013 in Amazing, Asia-Pacific


The Khasi tribe in Indian state of Meghalaya is living in one of the wettest places on earth. In fact, the city of Cheerapunji in the region is credited as the wettest place on earth. For the people living in the forests, this is a problem as flooding is quite normal in the monsoon season. The solution? Build a bridge across the waters that does not care if the waters rise. For more than 500 years, the Khasi tribe has used the Indian rubber tree, Ficus elastica, to build natural, living bridges.

Root bridge India Khasi tribe

The bridges are constructed by using nut trunks to guide the roots across the water. Once they’ve grown across, they are allowed to take root in the soil. The contruction of such a bridge takes 10 to 15 years, before enough roots have grown big enough to make the bridge strong enough. As the bridges are alive and growing, they get stronger each year. Apparently, some of the bridges are more than 500 years old and still alive. Once strong enough, a path is created on the roots using soil and flat stones to allow for easy passage. (Via: Photos: Root bridge 1: rajkumar. Root bridge 2: Ashwin Kumar. Root bridge 3: rajkumar.)

Root bridge India Khasi tribe 2

Root bridge India Khasi tribe 3