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 during 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 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 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.
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.
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).