On listening to the word ‘bridge’, we all form an image of a well structured iron bridge in our minds. But ever heard of natural bridges? Well here’s an interesting example of a natural living bridge.
Cherrapunji, a town in North-East India, which is known to be the second wettest place on earth, is also known for its living bridges. Here the bridges aren't built but grown. The living bridges are made from the roots of Ficus elastica tree whose secondary roots grow above the ground surface.
The villagers have created a root-guiding system that forces the tender roots of the rubber tree to grow straight. Such roots make a strong, living bridge in about 10-15 years.
Unlike the conventional man-made bridges which grow weak over time, these living bridges gain strength over time. Some of these bridges are more than five hundred (500) years old and can support 50 people at a time.