Photos of the amazing Living Root Bridges in the East Khasi Hills region of Meghalaya in North-East India.
In 2005, Human Planet photographer Timothy Allen documented and exposed to the public these incredible living bridges located in a remote tribal region of North-East India, near the Bengladesh border. After seeing his photos of this region, I decided to follow his footsteps.
Here is some of the info I gathered from Tim Allen's blog about those living root bridges:
All Khasi villages are connected by a network of stone pathways known as the King’s way which traditionally kept the local betel nut trade alive with Shillong. Throughout this network, hundreds of living root bridges form the bridleways over the myriad of water channels that criss-cross the area.
A few minutes walk from Mawlynnong, Wahthyllong has one of the most beautiful of all the bridges in the East Khasi Hills. The age of the Wahthyllong Jingmaham bridge is estimated to 60-100 years and local say it wasn’t planted by someone who is still alive today.
The development and upkeep of bridges is a community affair. Initially, a length of bamboo is secured across a river divide and a banyan plant (Ficus elastica) is planted on each bank. Over the months and years, the roots and branches of the rapidly growing Ficus are trained along the bamboo until they meet in the middle and eventually supersede its support.
At later stages in the evolution of the bridge, stones and earth are inserted into the gaps and eventually become engulfed by the plant forming the beautiful walkways. Later still, the bridges are improved upon with the addition of hand rails and steps.
You can get more information and view more amazing photos of the Living Root Bridges, and of the Khasi people who bio-engineered them, on Timothy Allen's Blog.
A few other pages about the living root bridges:
Photos taken in India in 2013
The highlight if this trip was the Maha Kumba Mela Hindu Festival, the largest human gathering on earth, which happens once every 12 years.
Other regions visited include the springs of the Ganges river, Varanasi, the Konark sun temple.
See also my photos of Nepal that I took the same year.