Meghalaya's Living Root Bridges: Complete Travel Guide

The legendary double-decker root bridge at Nongriat village near Cherrapunji, in northeast India's Meghalaya state, beckons outdoor enthusiasts with the opportunity to see a 150+ year old man-made natural wonder that's not only unique but astounding. While there are many single root bridges in the area, this is the only one that has two levels. Apparently, local Khasi tribe members grew the second level after an unprecedented wet monsoon season caused water to reach the first level. A third level is planned, but only to capitalize on the bridge's tourism potential. The beauty and cleanliness of the village is also outstanding. It's obvious that the residents have high regard for the environment. While the root bridge is undoubtedly remarkable, its surroundings feel like a place where magic happens. There are waterfalls and natural swimming pools, clusters of huge brightly colored butterflies, mysterious sounds of the forest, and so much ancient wisdom. The path to the double-decker root bridge is three kilometers (nearly two miles) long. It has approximately 3,500 stairs and descends 2,400 feet. Those are some daunting figures, but don't let it put you off! There are three parts to the trek. The steepest and most challenging part is the first part, down the hill to Nongthymmai village (where the longest root bridge, Ritymmen, is located). It takes about 45 minutes, along a seemingly endless trail of steps that plunges deeper and deeper into the forest. It seems like paradise, with jack fruits and pineapples growing wildly amid the jungle of vegetation. Nongthymmai is a surprisingly attractive village of bee keepers with neat cement paths, well-groomed flower gardens, and blue and white painted church. From there, it takes at least another hour to reach the double-decker root bridge. The remaining two parts of the trek, which involve crossing narrow steel suspension bridges over raging rivers, are much flatter and less taxing. However, this, as well as the steep descent, may make the trek challenging for anyone who's afraid of heights or has vertigo. Just as start doubting whether you'll ever get there, after tackling yet another ascending staircase you'll be greeted with a sign announcing Nongriat village. Drag yourself up the final set of stairs, look down, and there it will be like something from a fairytale-- the double-decker root bridge with it's gnarly thick roots covered in moss.

Need Help?