21st November 2021 Dr Beena
Hello everyone! Yea, can you believe that? Root bridges! I got very excited when I read about root bridges😊. Allan wrote about the bridge in Ba Ha Hills of Vietnam in the early part of this year. I have always been fascinated by bridges. Wherever you go, you will find bridges. The design for bridges varies from the most intricate to the most basic. Bridges suggest connectivity.
Maybe, that is the reason for my love of bridges😊. I have gone on some scary bridges, the ones hung by ropes with missing wooden planks. Have you ever tried to walk on them? They swing as you walk, and when you come to the broken planks, you freeze☹☹. Please share your experience on any bridge that you found memorable.
Here I will discuss root bridges. In the Northeastern part of India, in Meghalaya, unique bridges are made from the roots of trees. More than two centuries ago, the two tribes, the Khasi and Jaintia, conceptualised root bridges. These roots are from rubber trees and cultivated by placing them in hollow areca nut palms. Then these tribes created these bridges by twisting their form. It will take about 10 to 15 years to get a shape. They are strong enough to hold up to fifty people (not sure if they were lightweight as obesity was not an issue then😉). These bridges last about 500 years. The most famous are double-decker and single-decker root bridges in Cherrapunji and Shillong, respectively, protected by UNESCO. By the way, Cherrapunji is the wettest place on Earth😊.
I like the concept of how we as humans can work with Nature and create sustainable projects. However, root bridges may not work in a place where it is challenging to cultivate roots. Our greater awareness about Nature could lead to endless possibilities😊.
I would say I did not do great justice to this painting on the root bridge☹. To create the effect of how the roots would entwine was not easy to paint. Hence, I hope the readers will check out the root bridge to envisage its beauty. I try to learn something new and share it here. On that note, I hope you too enjoyed this musing on root bridges😊.