Bridges of North East
North East region of India never fails to surprise its visitors with its hidden & unspoiled beauty and unique culture & traditions. If you think you can explore every bit of North-East region in just one go then you are wrong. You have to actually make some efforts to enjoy every inch of this part of India. Such is my love for North-East region which knows no boundaries. Do you know what else apart from this region’s beauty attracts me here every time? It’s the people who live here. They have always been a bridge between me and the places I have been to all alone. They are responsible for why I am writing this today. I don’t think it would have been any easier to successfully complete my solo trips to the north-east india without such great people out there. And so are the actual bridges in the north east without which physical connectivity to this part of the country would have been difficult.
You must be thinking what’s so special about bridges in the north-east, it’s the same everywhere. But here you go wrong! Apart from those cemented man-made bridges which we see everywhere, North East region houses some of the rarest and most breath-taking natural man-made wonders.
Living Root Bridges of Meghalaya
One of the seven sister states of the north-east, Meghalaya (as the name suggests) is known to be the wettest state in India. The dense forests and the green lush mountains of Meghalaya receive abundance of rainfall every year, which makes it difficult for the tribal population (Khasi People) living in these forests to move around freely. Hence, bridges are important to cross the otherwise flooded waterways during monsoon.
What exactly are the Living Root Bridges?
Since the people living in the north-east rely on nature for most of the things, its clever of them to have come up with an interesting natural solution which is building a living root bridge. These root bridges are formed by the roots of ancient rubber trees which are grown on both sides of the waterways. For around 15-20 years, these are nurtured in a way that they are often tied or twisted together, so as to combine them with one another until they form a skeleton that eventually grew into a bridge which can carry the weight of human beings. These natural bridges are supposed to last for more than 100 years as roots grow stronger with time.
Why are they successful in Meghalaya?
The traditional wooden bridges often got decayed and destroyed during the lengthy monsoon seasons in Meghalaya and hence, the root bridges were proved to be a stable alternative to them.
Imagine walking over these root bridges which are not only serving the purpose to cross the waterways but adding more beauty to nature. It is no less than a treat to watch them or I can probably say adore them. A trek to villages in Cherrapunji is a must if you wish to witness these beautiful root bridges in Meghalaya. This isn’t all! There are two types of root bridges in Meghalaya- Single-Decker and Double-Decker (two bridges stacked one over the other).
Some of the most recognized root bridges in and around Meghalaya are:
- Umshiang Double-Decker Root Bridge in Nongriat Village
- Ummouni Root Bridge in Laitkynsew village
- Ritymmen Root Bridge in Nongthymmai Village
- Umkar Root Bridge in Siej Village
- Mawsaw Root Bridge
Accessibility to these root bridges is not easy. One has to trek for hours to reach here. But its all worth it, trust me! It’s the best of all of my north-east travel experiences. Also, these living root bridges make for one of the major tourism attractions in the north-east.
An alternative to the Root Bridges in Cherrapunji
Remember when I wrote about the cleanest village in Asia in my earlier post? You have surely got another reason to visit Mawlynnong Village in India. Located near Bangladesh border, this village further houses a beautiful living root bridge.
Apart from Meghalaya, you can even spot few root bridges in Nagaland.
While there are quite a few road bridges in north-east India, I would like to mention the most popular ones which are surely worth a visit.
Road Bridges over the Brahmaputra River
One of the major rivers in Asia, Brahmaputra flows through India, China, and Bangladesh. In India, Brahmaputra enters through the state of Arunachal Pradesh and then flows into Assam. An important river for irrigation and transportation, many road bridges have been constructed over the mighty Brahmaputra over the years. Some of the most important road bridges which worth a mention are:
Kolia Bhomora Setu in Tezpur, Assam
One of the most important links between the north-eastern states and the rest of the country, Kolia Bhomora Bridge is about 3015 meters long. This rail-cum-road bridge connects Sonitpur on the north bank with Nagaon District on the south bank.
Dhola -Sadiya Bridge in Assam
Operational in the year 2017, Dhola-Sadiya Setu is the longest bridge in India over the vast Brahmaputra river. Connecting the states of Assam and Arunachal Pradesh, this 9.15 km bridge has improved the connectivity to the remote region of the north-east.
Other prominent road bridges in the north-east are:
- Singshore Bridge in Sikkim
- Coronation Bridge in Darjeeling
- Akkar Bridge in Sikkim
- Chubi Bailey Bridge in Nagaland
- Narayana Setu in Assam
You may get tired of finding enough reasons to visit the north-east, but I promise to keep coming up with more interesting facts about this region. For more insights, stay tuned.