It is very clear the first bridges that man made thousands of years ago were logs spread across a stream or creek. The Incas made their own bridges by creating them out of wild cords and wood spread over a whole valley or mountain. However, when it comes to bridges, there is a unique type that is an exception to the modern and ancient man made constructions of ages past.
Meghalaya Living Bridge
This is where a very striking exception in modern or man-made bridge making is observable across India and arguably around the world. During the monsoon times, northern India locals go through some of the wettest weather and conditions found on the face of the world including rising floodwaters that divide the land into different fragments. Building a bridge from hewn boards and vines will virtually work since the moisture in the rainforest will rapidly decompose the works making it dangerous. However, the local people around Meghalaya have come up with a very smart solution that caters for this problem by letting their ridges sprout out of the laid spread natural vegetation. Once this is done, the bridge is left to maintain itself in almost every aspect.
Lots Of Patience Required
To create a living bridge, lots of patience is required especially in this modern age where a bridge can be erected in less than a week. The local villagers in northern India begin planning for the natural creation almost ten years before the bridge can be used. For instance, the War-Khasis community have a way of creating systems of root guidance once they have hollowed halves out of old tree trunks of the betel nut that directs the fig roots strangler towards the direction they want. The roots are simply directed out beyond a river or stream and spinning it to only let the roots to be able to move into the soil on the other or opposite river bank.
Half A Millennium Old
Some of the largest living bridges have long lengths of about 30 meters and are capable of holding even fifty people at once and can last more than 500 years. However, apart from foot and car traffic, there are many things that affect a living bridge, although the point is that engineers can construct grand bridges the world over but when the work is done wholly by nature and the only thing man does is direct the roots, whatever comes out of it has to be beautiful and sturdy.
Living-Root Bridge Of Indonesia
The root living bridge of Indonesia is found in the western part of Sumatra across the Batang Bayang River. It is a bridge that is a work of nature where the living roots of a tree have brought a unique connection to two villages. The 82 ft long bridge is called Jambatan Akar and for it to be the sturdy natural phenomena it is, 26 years had to lapse by.
The Work Of A Muslim Teacher
The living root bridge is believed to have been made by Pakih Sohan, a Muslim teacher way back in 1890 to give students from the other bridge across the river a pathway to attend his religious classes. Sohan thus brought two unique banyan tree roots together around a bamboo stem bridge and with time, the bridge has kept on strengthening and currently reinforced through steel wires and wooden plants.
Mark is a architect by profession and a part time blogger who occasionally blogs on unique architecture in the world. He greatly admires the excel bridge projects and how they accomplish such engineering tasks.