The famous living root bridges of Meghalaya, which can be found in over 70 villages in the state, are now part of UNESCO’s tentative list of World Heritage Sites. Here’s all you need to know about it. By Anushka Goel
The living root bridges in Meghalaya paint a stunning picture of nature’s bounty, and they’re a sight to behold. No wonder, then, that they’ve made it to the tentative list of UNESCO‘s World Heritage Sites! In a tweet earlier this week, Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma wrote, “Delighted to share that ‘Jingkieng Jri: Living Root Bridge Cultural Landscapes of Meghalaya’ has been included in the UNESCO World Heritage Site tentative list. I congratulate all community members and stakeholders in this ongoing journey.”
Delighted to share that “Jingkieng Jri: Living Root Bridge Cultural Landscapes of Meghalaya” has been included in the @UNESCO World Heritage Site tentative list. I congratulate all community members and stakeholders in this ongoing journey.@PMOIndia
— Conrad Sangma (@SangmaConrad) March 28, 2022
Meghalaya living root bridges: What makes them special
These bridges, found in over 70 villages in Meghalaya, highlight the socio-cultural, social and botanical links among people and nature, writes The Hindu. These bridges are grown by the villagers, by training the ‘ficus elastica’ tree on both sides of water bodies over a period of about 10 to 15 years, to allow the roots to form these ‘living root bridges’, the report adds. These suspension bridges thus created are then used for commuting, and at present, they connect almost 75 villages in the region.
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Talking about these bridges, UNESCO said in a statement, “These structural ecosystems have performed in extreme climatic conditions for centuries, and encapsulate a profound harmony between humans and nature,” writes the Indian Express. These bridges form great connection channels in remote villages and close to the wettest region in the world, where the ground remains marshy and wet for the most part of the year.
As of now, there are over 100 such living root bridges in Meghalaya, and these, once formed, can hold upto 50 persons at once. What’s more, these can last for about 150 years, helping to aid movement and preserve nature as best as possible.
Hero and Featured Image: Courtesy of @gaurav_phatak/Instagram