Saturday, August 20, 2011

Chennai - 9:21pm, a T.shower has formed 70km S-W of Chennai and it's moving E-N-E. High possibility of Rain around 11pm
6pm, Heavy showers over N.Karnataka, N,N-W Andhra, central Maharastra, Gujarat, W. Madhyapradesh, S.central Rajasthan.
Monsoon active over Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, west Madhya Pradesh, Marathawada, Telangana and coastal Karnataka
Monsoon remained vigorous over coastal Andhra Pradesh and north interior Karnataka
RT @rajugana: @weatherofindia Baroda 4.00pm, One of the heaviest downpour of the season. water, water everywhere a pic
RT @rajugana: Baroda 2.00pm, Cloudy and raining since morning. Right now, torrential downpour big big drops a pic

The living bridges of Cherrapunji

In an remote corner of Northeast India lives an indigenous tribal people who have been mostly left alone until the past hundred years. Without the amenities of modern technology or engineering, the War-Khasi people have designed an absolutely ingenious way to cross rivers and gulches; manipulating living tree roots to form natural bridges.

The Ficus elastica is a type of rubber tree native to the region. In addition to their massive size and manipulability, the trees have a secondary root system that is essential to the construction of the bridges. They grow out from higher up in the trunk due to their tendency to live above water sources and dip far down into the rivers. Hundreds of years ago, the Khasi people realized the potential benefit of these roots and began to shape them to their advantage.

By taking the trunks of betel nut trees, hollowing them out and cutting in them in half, the tribespeople show the roots where they want them to grow. As the roots slowly grow in search of water, their path continues down the inside of the betel trunk, across the length of the river or ravine. One they arrive at their destination, they’re allowed to dig into the soil and grow strong, and do they ever grow strong.

After about 10-15 years of traveling across the river, the root bridges can eventually hold over 5,000 pounds of weight. Some of them are up to 100 feet in length and the oldest of the bunch is believed to have been constructed around the 16th century.

In recent years, the Khasis actually wanted to get with the times and tear down the bridges to make way for steel ones. It wasn’t until a local resort owner stepped in and realized the worth of these ancient marvels. He convinced them to keep them up and began to photograph them to show the bridges off to the world. Some of them are absolutely stunning, but most magnificent of them all is the Umshiang Double-Decker, shown below.

The Khasis even recently started to grow another bridge,

Courtesy: Atlas Obscura and Tree Hugger.