Himalayan Eco Friendly Root Bridges

In part 2 of our Himalayan adventures,  as we finally got to the Living Root bridge, we saw a strange and surreal looking structure suspended above a stream (which turns into a rushing swirling river dGerry_Connie-Living-Root-Bruring the monsoons).  I will never forget the multi-colored hues of the afternoon sun streaming through the trees onto the bridge that afternoon.

The bridge “building” starts when the trunk of a betel nut tree is sliced down the middle and hollowed out and the young roots of the Ficus Elastica Rubber Tree are placed inside and guided to grow to the other side of the river, taking root in the soil and thriving into these natural, eco-friendly, living Rootsroot bridges.

This process takes between fifteen and twenty years before the bridge is ready for people to cross.

Some of these bridges are over five hundred years old, over one hundred feet long and can support the weight of about fifty people at a time, and have been used by the local mountain tribes to cross swift thundering rivers and streams during the heavy monsoons.

As we crossed one of these bridges, we noticed the path was embedded (apparently many generations ago) with large stones between the growing roots, the vines eventually absorbing the stones into a completely natural walkway.

Double-Decker-650

The picture above is of a double decker root bridge. Interestingly, the rest of the world had never even heard of these bridges until fairly recently. They were discovered by Denis P. Rayen of the Cherrapunji Holiday resort as he Waterfallexplored these remote forest regions looking for hiking trails for his guests.

And as we rested for a picnic lunch by a waterfall, we felt peace in the quiet serenity and earthy fragrance of the forest around us, the gentle echo of the waterfall, the warm afternoon sun and the grateful sensation of being so blessed and alive. This is truly what a vacation should be!

What were some of your unique vacation experiences? Did they rejuvenate your mind, body and soul?

This is Part 2. (Part 1 posted  Feb 11).

When we finally got to the bridge, we saw a surreal structure that appeared to be set amidst a fairyland forest of colorful hues, suspended above a little stream (which I was told becomes a torrent of water during the monsoons), the sun’s rays streaming through the trees as the afternoon mist quietly floated in. It was an unforgettable sight.

According to the locals, the bridge “building” starts when the trunk of a betel nut tree is sliced down the middle and hollowed out, then the young roots of the Ficus Elastica Rubber Tree are placed inside and guided to grow to the other side of the river, taking root in the soil as they continue to thrive into these natural, eco-friendly, living root bridges. This process takes between fifteen and twenty years before the bridge is ready for people to cross.

Some of these bridges are over one hundred feet long, can support the weight of about fifty people at a time, and have been used by the local mountain tribes for hundreds of years to cross swift thundering rivers and streams during the heavy monsoons.

As we crossed one of these bridges, we noticed the path was embedded (apparently many generations ago) with large stones between the growing roots, the vines eventually absorbing the stones into a completely natural walkway.

The picture above is of a double decker root bridge. Interestingly, the rest of the world had never even heard of these bridges until fairly recently. They were discovered by Denis P. Rayen of the Cherrapunji Holiday resort as he explored these remote forest regions looking for hiking trails for his guests. I myself grew up about 50 miles away from these bridges and my family and I never even knew they existed until just a few years ago!

On our return back up the trail, we stopped by a beautiful waterfall for a picnic and to give our legs a much needed break. What a wonderful day – we had just encountered a time and place where man and nature co-created and co-existed in extraordi

When we finally got to the bridge, we saw a surreal structure that appeared to be set amidst a fairyland forest of colorful hues, suspended above a little stream (which I was told becomes a torrent of water during the monsoons), the sun’s rays streaming through the trees as the afternoon mist quietly floated in. It was an unforgettable sight.

According to the locals, the bridge “building” starts when the trunk of a betel nut tree is sliced down the middle and hollowed out, then the young roots of the Ficus Elastica Rubber Tree are placed inside and guided to grow to the other side of the river, taking root in the soil as they continue to thrive into these natural, eco-friendly, living root bridges. This process takes between fifteen and twenty years before the bridge is ready for people to cross.

Some of these bridges are over one hundred feet long, can support the weight of about fifty people at a time, and have been used by the local mountain tribes for hundreds of years to cross swift thundering rivers and streams during the heavy monsoons.

As we crossed one of these bridges, we noticed the path was embedded (apparently many generations ago) with large stones between the growing roots, the vines eventually absorbing the stones into a completely natural walkway.

The picture above is of a double decker root bridge. Interestingly, the rest of the world had never even heard of these bridges until fairly recently. They were discovered by Denis P. Rayen of the Cherrapunji Holiday resort as he explored these remote forest regions looking for hiking trails for his guests. I myself grew up about 50 miles away from these bridges and my family and I never even knew they existed until just a few years ago!

On our return back up the trail, we stopped by a beautiful waterfall for a picnic and to give our legs a much needed break. What a wonderful day – we had just encountered a time and place where man and nature co-created and co-existed in extraordinary harmony for hundreds of years.

And as we rested for a picnic lunch, we felt rejuvenated by the serenity and earthy fragrance of the forest around us, the gentle echo of the waterfall and the warm afternoon sun, we felt blessed, exhilarated and grateful to be alive. This is truly what a vacation should be!

What were some of your unique vacation experiences? Did they rejuvenate your mind, body and soul?

nary harmony for hundreds of years.

And as we rested, we were gently rejuvenated by the serenity and earthy fragrance of the forest around us, the gentle echo of the waterfall and the warm afternoon sun, immersed in the grateful sensation of being truly blessed and the exhilaration of bring alive. This is what a vacation should be!

What were some of your unique vacation experiences? Did they rejuvenate your mind, body and soul?

40 Responses to “Himalayan Eco Friendly Root Bridges”

  1. Irene Turner says:

    Wow, I felt like I was there and wish I was. I love this kind of experience and yes, I’ve been fortunate enough to have experienced a couple. One was a trip to Egypt. It was with a group of 12 and with a spiritual tour group, so we got into all the temples etc before of after normal hours. It was a divine experience. The other I remember well was at the eco spot on St. John’s island called Maho Bay Camp. Sounds more similar to what you are talking about. Reading this, I think it’s time for another one!

  2. I, too, felt as though I were there.

    Once I learned not to travel with along with needy people many years ago, every vacation I have taken has rejuvenated my mind, body and soul.

  3. I am visualizing the picnic lunch and the waterfall — aaaaah.
    I am the mother of 2 grade school boys – We love to travel, but I would not call it rejuvenating! hahaha
    Someday – I will take a retreat like this, but until then it is family cruises and beach trips filled with lots of great memories!
    Rachel

    • Connie says:

      Thanks Rachel. Family cruises and beach trips are fun too. I used to go to a lot of the local beaches when my kids were little – they were a blast and we also created some lovely memories.

  4. Thank you for sharing these incredible photos. I’m going to share them with my kids. It seems so magical. I will keep these images in my head when I need a calm place to meditate on.

    Debbie
    http://www.ManhattanBeachMomma.Wordpress.com

  5. Lisa Vitale says:

    So gorgeous, and peaceful sounding, would love to see this in person some day. It truly sounds like it would be one of the most amazing sites you’ve ever seen. How fortunate to have been able to see this part of the world and this way of life.

    Lisa Vitale
    http://lisawifemom.wordpress.com

  6. What an amazing spot and incredible pictures. As you know or will know, I’m all about pictures and I really appreciate yours. I may just have to add this locale to my list of vacation spots! To answer your question, our vacation last year to Machu Picchu and the Galapagos was a dream come true. Being in the beauty of the Sacred Valley and on the steps of ancient Indians, seeing the architectural designs from 500 years ago that have withstood 3 major earthquakes – remarkable! The entire vacation experience did rejuvenate me body and soul!

    Susan Berland

  7. Pat Zahn says:

    I feel so relaxed after reading this. Gorgeous location and pictures. “…the gentle echo of the waterfall, the warm afternoon sun…” Oh yeah, I’m there. I can see a series of these posts becoming a book.

    Pat Zahn, Photo Solutions Superhero

  8. Hi Connie,
    Thanks for this interesting post. The more we look around, the more we’ll learn, and we can learn some thing new every day! These root bridges are new to me, and they remind me of the amazing roots of an enormous banyan tree.
    Robbie

    • Connie says:

      Thanks Robbie. Yes the banyan trees are quite amazing too with their roots that literally grow into separate tree trunks and are somewhat an ecosystem onto themselves. Where did you see them?

  9. Very nice! Your pictures and descriptions are awesome. Makes me feel like I am there with you:) The living root bridges are my favorite – they are amazing and beautiful!! Can’t wait to show my kids. Oh, and lunch at the waterfall…sounds lovely! My vacations haven’t been as rejuvinating as I’d like (after seeing this!). I will have to plan better later. Right now with 4 small children as you can imagine its all about fun and family gatherings! Thanks for sharing this wonderful journey you’ve taken.

    • Connie says:

      Thanks Rita. Am glad you enjoyed the pictures of the root bridges. 4 children must keep you busy but the getaways with them must be pretty awesome too. I have two girls and I treasure the memories of the vacations we had when they were little.

  10. Julie Labes says:

    These truly are amazing I would love to visit them one day. My unique vacation experience was when I first turned the corner and say the towering rocks of Meteora in Greece. In literally took my breath away..and THAT takes some doing

    Julie Labes,…The Fierce over 50 feels much younger point and click junkie loves to travel does not use a jogging stroller and before you ask this is NOT my granddaughter..Woman

    • Connie says:

      Wow Julie, the towering rocks of Meteora sound like an amazing experience. I would love to see them some day.

      I had a similar experience when we also came across a turn in the road and we saw the Himalayas (specifically Kanchenjunga) right there before us, they appeared to be suspended in air with the mist below – an absolutely unforgettable sight.

  11. Nice visuals and detailed description of your journey. Very lush, that was my impression. Right outside my back door is the Santa Monica mountains w/lots of unexplored trails. This reminds me of that (kinda). Creeks, mini-waterfalls. Lovely post. I feel to calm now!

  12. Jillian says:

    I love this; I definitely felt like I was a part of this scene. I never knew how these magnificent bridges were made. Thank you for the education and the beautiful images!
    In answer to your questions, my most amazing vacation experience was living in Iceland on a small island that had experienced a volcanic eruption in 1973. The home I lived in backed up to the still-steaming lava fields. I loved to climb the rocks, exploring the new plants growing and flowering in the crags and small spaces. When I was down or having a hard time, I would lay at the edge of the field overlooking the Atlantic and simply absorb the sound, the light and the energy emanating from the fantastic *nature* I was surrounded with…Ahh, noting like it!
    xoxox

    • Connie says:

      Wow Jillian, what an experience to literally live next to a live lava field. That truly is adventuresome! And you paint such a lovely picture of laying out among nature in the fields and absorb the light and the sounds of the ocean – what a wonderful feeling that must have been.

  13. Donna McCord says:

    How magical! Thank you for transporting me to such a beautiful place in the middle of my not-so-beautiful work day! Someday I would love to be able to travel to such a place and experience having a picnic by that waterfall! the closest I have come to something like that was many years ago when I visited the Hawaiian island of Maui and saw the fantastic waterfalls and trees and flowers there…I can still remember the heady scents and warm, gentle breezes and tropical air that acted almost like a tranquilizer! Sounds no nice right now; wish i could be there!

    • Connie says:

      Thanks Donna, I loved Maui too but in a different way – loved the warm ocean. Unfortunately I never traveled that road to Hana which I believe was where you went with all the beautiful waterfalls? I really regret that we never made the time to do that. Maybe will go back one day. I am so ready for the tropical breezes you described so beautifully.

  14. Wow! How amazing are those natural bridges! I have had so many amazing travel experiences. Camping in the Australian outback and visiting some of the more remote US National and State parks are amongst them. I can’t choose a favorite. I love to travel and see all that the world has to offer.
    Louise Edington
    Facing Fears For Freedom
    http://louiseedington.com

    • Connie says:

      Australian outback? Wow. I would love to do that one day. I agree with you though, hard to pick a travel favorite – there are so many of them. And so much more to see too.

  15. Yvonne Hall says:

    Those are simply amazing structures — how ingenious of them. Seems like a wonderful trip and I am so happy you shared with us!
    Yvonne Hall
    http://www.facebook.com/wildforwildtree

  16. Wow, Connie! Loved the story and the pictures and yes, I want to see it too! I have travel quite a bit, but not for the last 9 years as I’ve been on mom-duty. I can’t wait until I can travel with my daughter. It is interesting to read this because I was just talking travels last night and haven’t done so in such a long time. Many adventures, discoveries and rejuvenating experiences…many challenges too and cultural adjustments especially with my longer trips (5 months…).

    Looking forward to more of your posts!
    Brandy Mychals
    Communications Coach
    Creator of Split Second Perceptions

    • Glad you enjoyed the post Brandy. I believe it will be really wonderful when you are able to travel with your daughter.

      My husband and I spent so many holidays with our two girls traveling all over the place and we have such incredible memories. We even drove up the Alaska highway (I believe we drove about 3500 miles one way) with them when they were just little girls and it was fantastic! Travel has me so hooked!

  17. June Sockol says:

    Oh my gosh ~ these bridges are so amazing and beautiful. I have never heard of or seen these before. Thank you for sharing with us. Hopefully one day I can see them for myself.

  18. Connie, the discovery of such unimaginable phenomenon as the root bridges is what makes a trip magical, and for me, creates a profound connection place. Thank you for a heartfelt description and such beautiful photos. I have had a number of these moments in Hawaii–in the natural steam caves on the Big Island, seeing lava flow in the pitch dark, as well as the private black sand beach that sits below the road, creating a cove of nothing but rock, sea and sky. One Easter morning, my friends and I delighted in watching pods of dolphins that had come in close to splash and play. Unforgettable!

  19. Fiona Stolze says:

    Connie, this post was so beautiful. I found the images and your words absolutely delightful. They totally transported me there. The story of how these bridges form is fascinating. I learned so much reading this and would love to see it for myself some day. The Himalayas are definitely on my wish-list.

    One of my amazing experiences was when I took the family over from the UK to the Rocky Mountains. We had accomodation in Banff and drove up to the Athabasca Glacier and were able to go up onto the ice. I was happy as a little child because I had so wanted to do this for such a long time.

    Fiona Stolze
    Inspired Art and Living
    http://fionastolze.wordpress.com

    • Fiona, you have had an amazing adventure with the Athabasca glacier. WOW – it must have been just incredible. I just love the Banff area. In fact, my husband and I drove through Alberta last year after visiting my aunt and during our drive back we saw one of those lighted signs on the highway and it said “do not get out of car, wolf on road”. Can you imagine?

      On another note, I hope to visit the UK one day. I have only passed through and it is on my bucket list. Would love to stay at a little cottage in the country for a couple of weeks and get to know the region and people.

  20. How amazing! On of my unique vacation experiences is my first time deep in to Teotihuacan, Mexico where I got to walk up the Pyramid of the Sun & Moon. It was fantastic. I walked up to the top and was quite proud of my abilities when the youngsters where huffing and puffing their way up behind me.

    Lisa Ann Landry
    I’m an exuberant force of light…Come light up your life
    http://www.imagedevelopmentgroup.com/speakers.html

  21. I’d never seen anything like these natural bridges. Talk about planning for the future! Thanks so much for sharing a really remarkable man made natural wonder.

    Darcie Newton
    Discipline for profit, none for jammy zins, triple creme brie or memorable necklaces
    http://www.mywealthspa.com

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