Meghalaya: Living Bridges

Deep in the rainforests of the Indian state of Meghalaya, bridges are not built, they’re grown.

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Ancient vines and roots of trees stretch horizontally across rivers and streams, creating a solid latticework structure strong enough to be used as a bridge. Some of the bridges are over a hundred feet long and can support the weight of fifty or more people. The Cherrapunji region is one of the wettest places in the world with many fast-flowing rivers and streams, making these bridges invaluable to those who live in the region. Since the area receives around 15 metres of rain every year, a normal wooden bridge would quickly rot, but because the growing bridges are alive and still growing, they actually gain strength over time.

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For more than 500 years locals have guided roots and vines from the native Ficus Elastica (rubber tree) across rivers, using hollowed out trees to create root guidance…

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