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Pride of Meghalaya
 
 
About Living Root Bridges
 
Live Root Bridges aren't built, they are grown
 
Meghalaya's double-decker and single-decker root bridges are unique in the world and are a sight to behold. The bridges are tangles of massive thick roots, which have been intermingled to form a bridge that can hold several people at a time. Khasi people have been trained to grow these bridges across the raised banks of streams to form a solid bridge, made from roots. The living bridges are made from the roots of the Ficus elastica tree, which produces a series of secondary roots that are perched atop huge boulders along the streams or the riverbanks to form bridges.
The root bridges, some of which are over a hundred feet long, take ten to fifteen years to become fully functional, but they’re extraordinarily strong – strong enough that some of them can support the weight of fifty or more people at a time. The bridges are alive and still growing and gain strength over time.
 
 
At Sohra (Cherrapunjee)
 
Meghalaya's double-decker and single-decker root bridges are found in Cherrapunjee (Sohra) & Mawlynnong. Located around 56 kms from Shillong, the capital of Meghalaya, Cherrapunjee is a must visit destination known for its numerous waterfalls and a trek to the single and double decker root bridges. The trek from Cherrapunjee to the living root bridges is not for the faint hearted as it requires lot of stamina and grit to trek down to these natural wonders of the nature.
 
At Mawlynnong
 
While at Mawlynnong, which is located at around 92 kms from Shillong and is one of the cleanest village in India, one can go for a easy trek to a single-decker living root bridge.  Mawlynnong Village located in the East Khasi Hills of Meghalaya, also referred as ‘God’s own garden’ has won the acclaim of being the cleanest village in Asia in 2003. The village known for its cleanliness is a community based eco-tourism initiative. The community has made collective effort to maintain the ambience of a clean village. The village offers picturesque natural beauty, a trek to the living root bridge at a neighbouring village Riwai. The village also offers a sight of natural balancing rock, a strange natural phenomenon of a boulder balancing on another rock.
 
The adage "Neighbours envy, owners pride' is apt for Mawlynnong as it has earned the distinction of being one of the cleanest villages in Asia, a fact that every Mawlynnong villager is proud of and other villagers are envy of.
The village is quite pretty, especially in the monsoons when there is lush greenery all around, with waterfalls paving the way to small streams and abundance of flowering orchids dangling from the trees and hedges add to the beauty of the village.

The onus to keep the village clean lies with every person residing in the village. Local cleaning the roads, picking up leaves and throwing garbage in the bin is a very common sight. Bamboo garbage bins adorn every nook and corner of the village highlight the consciousness of cleanliness among the villagers. Cleanliness is an age old tradition and a way of life for all villagers. 

The village has won accolade for being the cleanest village in Asia in 2003 as well as the Cleanest Village in India in 2005. The village also offers breathtaking view of Bangladesh plains as it is located on the Indo-Bangla border.

Suprisingly, the village has hundred percent literacy and most of the villagers are conversant with the English language.  The village offers a number of small tea shops, where you can relish a hot of cup of tea with some snacks.
 
Mawlynnong village has set an example for others that needs to be replicated in other villages.
 
India Beacons salutes to the 'spirit of cleanliness' exhibited by the villagers through their self sustained efforts.

 
 
 
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