Deep in the rainforests of the Indian state of Meghalaya, bridges are not built, they’re grown.

Ancient vines and roots of trees stretch horizontally across rivers and streams, creating a solid latticework structure strong enough to be used as a bridge.

Ancient solution: The 'double decker' living tree root bridge in the village of Nongriat in Meghalaya, India. Locals have been using the bridges for over 500 yearsAncient solution: The ‘double decker’ living tree root bridge in the village of Nongriat in Meghalaya, India. Locals have been using the bridges for over 500 years

 

Some of the bridges are over a hundred feet long and can support the weight of fifty or more people.

The Cherrapunji region is one of the wettest places in the world with many fast-flowing rivers and streams, making these bridges invaluable to those who live in the region.

Nature's incredible engineering: Some of the bridges can hold more than 50 people at a time. Some can take ten to fifteen years before they are fully functionalNature’s incredible engineering: Some of the bridges can hold more than 50 people at a time. Some can take ten to fifteen years before they are fully functional

 

Interwoven: A close up of the solid lattice work that makes the bridges so strong. The natural bridges are much sturdier than a conventional wooden bridge because they are still living so they do not rotInterwoven: A close up of the solid lattice work that makes the bridges so strong. The natural bridges are much sturdier than a conventional wooden bridge because they are still living so they do not rot

Since the area receives around 15 metres of rain every year, a normal wooden bridge would quickly rot. But because the growing bridges are alive and still growing, they actually gain strength over time.

For more than 500 years locals have guided roots and vines from the native Ficus Elastica (rubber tree) across rivers, using hollowed out trees to create root guidance systems. When they roots and vines reach the opposite bank they are allowed to take root.

In time, a sturdy living bridge is produced. Some can take ten to fifteen years to become fully functional.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2035520/Meghalaya-villagers-create-living-bridges-training-roots-river.html#ixzz2ca1oQaEB

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