india tree


The Living Root Bridges of Maghalaya

Living root bridges are a form of tree shaping common in the southern part of the Northeast Indian state of Meghalaya. They are handmade from the aerial roots of Rubber Trees ( Ficus elastica) by the Khasi and Jaintia peoples of the mountainous terrain along the southern part of the Shillong Plateau.

The pliable tree roots are made to grow through betel tree trunks which have been placed across rivers and streams until the figs’ roots attach themselves to the other side. Sticks, stones, and other objects are used to stabilize the growing bridge. This process can take up to 15 years to complete. The useful lifespan of any given living root bridge is variable, but it is thought that, under ideal conditions, they can in principle last for many hundreds of years. As long as the tree they are formed from remains healthy, they naturally self-renew and self-strengthen as their component roots grow thicker…

(read more: Wikipedia)

photographs by Arshiya Urveeja Bose and Ansel M. Rogers