During the monsoon season in northeast India, gentle streams flowing through the area’s valleys suddenly become torrents, impossible to cross on foot. For 180 years, the solution has been to use nature to help construct living bridges. Local tribes have devised a way to thread rubber tree roots through the hollow canes of the Areca palm, patiently nurturing them for years until they grow into sturdy bridges.
Tribesmen in the Khasi Hills region of the Indian state of Meghalaya first tried building bamboo bridges across the raging streams, but over time they would rot and break amid the monsoons, and villagers would be stranded. The living root bridges have proved more resilient.
Root bridges over turbulent waters: