In the wettest place on Earth, the village of Mawsynram in Meghalaya, India are “living bridges” that are shaped by locals who have trained the roots of rubber trees to grow into natural bridges. They are sturdy enough to far outlast man-made wooden structures, which would rot away under the relentless rain in Meghalaya’s jungles. These root bridges are self-strengthening, becoming more sturdy over time as the root systems grow.

(Photos by Amos Chapple)

The wettest place on earth

Nestled atop the Khasi Hills in the Northeastern corner of India is the village of Mawsynram. Mawsynram boasts the wettest climate on earth, receiving an average of 1,187.2 centimeters (467 inches) of rain per year.

The prodigious rainfall totals can be attributed to the topography and climate of the region. As air currents sweep over the Bay of Bengal and floodplains in Bangladesh moisture is gathered and transported north. When these moisture laden clouds reach the steep Khasi Hills the transported moisture becomes the heavy rains. Warm air can hold more moisture than cold air. When weather systems reach hills air is forced upward over the land and the air cools as it moves, decreasing the moisture it can can carry and triggering rain.

The driest region on earth, besides Antarctica, is the Atacama desert, which receives less than 0.01 centimeters of rain per year. Some places in this desert have not had rainfall in over 400 years. The extremes of earth’s regions are fascinating.


Pictures of Mawsynram:
Info About Atacama:
Photo Courtesy: of Amos Chapple/Rex. The Guardian


As Bob said and Lou Majaw recently reiterated: Buckets of rain. Welcome to Cherrapunji: The Wettest Place on Planet Earth.

We’ve only been here a few hours and frankly, it’s unbelievable. You think you’ve seen rain. Perhaps you live in Glasgow or Manchester or some Welsh hell-hole. But you, my friend, are a cupcake pixie from Magic Land. You don’t know your arse from a gore-tex kagoule. This is rain.

As with all such dubious claims to fame, there’s actually some dispute over the whole wettest place on Earth business. Just down the road, in Mawsynram, they’ve been getting a slightly higher average annual rainfall lately - 11,873mm compared Cherrapunji’s modest 11,777mm. However, Mawsynram can only dream of holding two Guinness World Pissing It Down Records: Most rainfall in a single month - 9300mm in July 1861. And most rainfall in a calendar year - between 1st August 1860 and 31st July 1861, Cherrapunji received 26,461mm of rain. That’s almost 87ft!

If you are wondering why we’ve come here, I’ll let you know if I think of anything.