If you like trekking or seeing absolutely unique things in the world then if you are in Meghalaya you cannot miss the DoubleDecker Root Bridge. They are two bridges one over the above, it is an innovative way in which the Khasi tribe has used nature’s abundance for connectivity. The bridges are made by weaving in the aerial roots of Rubber Trees around a Betel Tree truck placed across a stream or water body. The roots keep growing out and entwining the trunk and the bridge is elongated to the desired destination taking about 10-15 years to complete. The roots thicken over time and the bridge is further strengthened with stones, sticks, leaves, bamboos and other items serving the purpose for hundreds of years. Visiting this beautiful creation of man and nature is a must whenever I go to Meghalaya. This time I had a couple of friends who were visiting me from Mexico and wanted to trek to this Double Decker Root Bridge. In fact, I was surprised that they had heard about this in their country whereas most of us Indian’s are not aware of this.
Trekking to Double Decker Root Bridge is a wonderful experience; you have to dedicate almost one whole day to enjoy the beauty of it. For me Trek is never done in a rush it is all about enjoying the finer moments of nature, watching butterflies chasing each other, bees going about doing their job of collecting nectar, leaves reflecting the sunshine, trees swaying to the winds, the list is endless. We started the trek from Tyrna village which was around 9 km from our stay in Sohra, There are guides if you need but we prefer to be on our own at our own pace. The path crosses a small village at the beginning, where we had our tea and breakfast, it was fun chatting with those villagers, we would have waited longer than we also had the trek to complete. So by promising them that we will be back in the evening forsnacks we made our way towards the longest single decker root bridge. Well, there is some single decker root bridge too, but the charm is to see The Double Decker Root Bridge.
The trek from the second village to the final village the part that everyone will remember for a long time. After descending through a patch of steps made of stones, we came across two hanging bridges over rain-fed rivers. The bridges were made of rusty iron cables repaired and supported with bamboo with some parts held together with steel wires. The whole bridge shakes and swings and the water flowing 20-25 feet below makes the whole experience amazing. While crossing the bridge we could hear were the sounds of the squeaking cables, the water flowing below and some chants in Spanish which sounded exactly like ‘Hey Bhagwan.’
It is fun to cross this bridge because most of us city dwellers never get a chance to experience this. It is exciting and a bit scary for some in the beginning but very soon you start loving it. The hanging iron bridge is a good place to play a prank on people who are scared of heights.
We stopped in the centre of the bridge to look at the water flowing below us and the pristine forest that surrounds it. For fun, we started shaking the bridge and it started swinging, it was scary as hell but that adrenal rush gives a different high. We also jumped a few times on it. It was so much fun! Then realizing that time was running out we stopped our nonsensical activity and started trekking again. We had to cross one more rusty bridge which was actually made of two parts and even longer than the first. This one looked in a bad shape with more intertwining of old rusty cables supported with somewhere in the bamboo from below. But it was doing its job very well.
Finally, we reached the Nongriat village where the famed Double Root Bridge exists. It so beautiful. We all were in awe of this bridge and even more when it sinks in that this bridge is made by villagers from generation to generation, patiently guiding the roots of the rubber trees across the river with the necessary supports. It is two bridgesstacked one over the other and one of its kinds in the entire world. It’s truly a wonder in itself. This natural bridge is said to be over 200 years old and, like the rest, just gets stronger over time – what a wonderful creation of man and nature.
We rested there basked in all its glory. The return journey was dotted with pauses every now and then on the pretext of admiring the beauty of nature; chit-chatting with local children and tribes.