Double Decker Living Root Bridge, Cherrapunji Overview
Hidden deep in the lush, green forests of the wettest place in India: Cherrapunjee, Meghalaya; one can find the magnificent Jingkieng Nongriat Double Decker Living Root Bridge; more commonly known as the Umshiang Double Decker Living Root Bridge or simply just the Double Decker Root Bridge. This area is famous for root bridges made of Indian Rubber Tree, but the Double Decker Bridge is the most famous of all due to its large size. It is 3 kilometers long and placed at a height of 2400 feet! A unique attraction and quite an innovative mix of nature and engineering. The Umshiang River flows beneath the bridge.
History of the Bridge
The local tribe of Khasis is to be credited with helping towards the creation of this feat of nature. They noticed the strong roots of the Indian Rubber Tree growing near their village of Laitkynsew.These types of ancient rubber trees grow only in the Northeast region of India, which is why the root bridges are so famous here. The roots are 'trained' by the villagers to shape into a bridge. This training is done by pulling the roots and twisting them or braiding them in the required direction. But, the bridges cannot be used immediately after shaping. The roots require at least 15 years to grow strong enough to withstand the weight of people walking across it since that is the actual purpose of the bridge. This natural bridge is said to be over 200 years old and only 50 people can use the bridge at once.
Hike to the Bridge
In the name, we can see that it is a double-decker bridge. This means that the bridge has 2 decks or layers, which is created due to the entanglement of the roots. The upper bridge is 20 meters long and is difficult to reach if one is not physically fit enough to climb to the top.
Starting Point of the Hike: Village Tyrna The bridge starts at the village of Tyrna and crosses the Umshiang river during its journey. Getting to the actual bridge is a bit of a trek. The hike down to the bridge is a whopping 3500-3600 steps each way to the bridge and back from the base village of Tyrna, which is 20 kilometers from the main town of Cherrapunjee. On the way to the actual bridge, you can find several other smaller bridges which are not totally naturally held up. These smaller bridges are made structurally sound using metal wire since the tree roots used for these bridges are not as strong as some of the other trees. When you reach the Nongriat village after walking along the mostly cemented route, the bridge is just a short hop, skip and jump away from there. Within a few minutes, you will be gazing at the marvelous, untouched beauty of the bridge with your own eyes.
At the site of the bridge, there is also a guest house where tourists can stay for a very low price. The only downside is that the guest house has very minimum facilities. There is also a small shop which sells cool drinks, biscuits, and chips for those who want to refuel before starting their tedious journey back up. The hike, in total, is around 7 kilometers up and down the hill. Wear your hiking shoes and carry plenty of water to hydrate.
Climate and The Best Time to Visit
The area around Cherrapunjee usually has rain all year long, but during the monsoon season; which is from May to September, the rainfall is excessive. The average annual rainfall recorded in this region is 467 inches(11,873 mm)!
Usually, it is advised to not visit the bridge during this season, between May and September, because of the slippery journey. But, if one is truly experienced in navigating through this climate, the monsoon season is truly a beautiful time to visit Cherrapunjee. Just don't forget your umbrellas and raincoats to save yourself from getting sick. Other than the extreme monsoon season, the area around the Double Decker Bridge usually has very pleasant weather, being cool and breezy.
The variety of flora and fauna surrounding the bridge and the hike down to the bridge is mesmerizing and it makes the gruesome trek absolutely worth the effort. At the end of your trek down, you can even take a dip in the natural pool under the bridge to cool off. Since the area is untouched by pollution and urbanization, the clean water is refreshing and you don't even have to worry about dirt, which is rare nowadays. So this is definitely a reason to visit this majestic place.
Don't carry too much in your backpacks though. As mentioned before, there are shops along the way for snacks and water, so don't worry too much about carrying those items.
4-6 hours. The trek is long and takes around 4-6 hours depending on the trekker's speed. For first time trekkers, this may sound and feel like a nightmare and may even be extremely challenging, but the reward in the end with the amount of beauty you have the privilege of visiting in person is absolutely worth it.
But, reading about the place is definitely not up to the levels of how it is in reality. What are you waiting for? Everyone must visit the Double Decker Living Root Bridge in Cherrapunjee, Meghalaya at least once in their life. Get going now!
It is very attractive place. But u must walking to see this double decker bridge. Approx 6km distance from your staring or entry gate. Total pathway is surrounded by green forest hills and falls. All natures are so pleasent. U may take time to reach your destiny but must see it