TOURISM TO INDIA – NORTH EAST DESTINATIONS – IV


Living Root Bridges – An architectural marvel

All over Meghalaya there are Living Root bridges which are architectural marvels of man-nature co-existence. The architects behind these marvels are not highly qualified engineers from top universities of India, but the simple people of the Khasi and Jaintia tribes of Meghalaya.

These bridges are built using the trees that grow around rivers and streams. The roots of these trees are encouraged to attach to themselves and are grown and stabilized using sticks, stones and other such objects. The process takes up to 15 years to complete and once completed, these bridges can last for many hundreds of years. Depending on you itinerary, you can decide on which of the Living Bridge is the best suited to fit in your plan. The one that we chose was near the Mawlynnong Village. The more famous one is at Sohra and is known as the double-decker Living Root Bridge and has two layers of bridges to it.

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In today’s world where we humans are fighting to find the right balance with nature, this is something that can be adopted by the rest of the world.

Personal Rating on a scale of 10
10 (The architectural marvel and the enormity of the task already gives it high marks, but all the trek to reach these places just adds to the value.)

Mawlynnong Village – Asia’s cleanest village since 2003
For a country struggling to keep itself clean and whose Prime Minister has to launch a Swachch Bharat Abhiyaan to educate people about cleanliness, it came as a complete surprise at least to me that the cleanest village in Asia is in India. Every person in this village of 500 odd people is responsible for keeping the village clean. Also, the village uses eco-friendly concepts like Solar Energy to power the village.

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From a sightseeing perspective though, the village does not have much to offer and is like any other village in India, but of course much cleaner. So as such apart from the cleanliness factor there is nothing much to see and do in this village, but you can use it to tick off one more item from your tourist list.

Personal Rating on a scale of 10
2 (Sadly, I rate it very low as a tourist destination, as though the village is clean and is something for all the villagers to be proud of, there is nothing much else to do or see)

Note: The travel time to Mawlynnong Village is pretty high from Shillong, so if you are hard pressed for time, then you can skip this village altogether and instead choose the Living Root Bridge near Sohra Valley which you can cover along with other destinations near Cherrapunjee.

Umgot River, Dawki Village
The Dawki Village is situated around 95 Km from Shillong and is right at the border of India and Bangladesh. The border is connected by road with a hanging bridge across the Umgot River. The Umgot River is the main tourist attraction in this region. The water in the river is so transparent that sitting on a boat, tourists can see the bottom of the river.

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For professional photographers the river offers chance for some of the most fantastic photographs. If the photo is taken from the water level the boat actually appears to be floating in the air as the water is so transparent. But the approach road to this village is very narrow and hence the travel time is pretty high. Additionally traffic jams due to this nature of the roads are also common, so it is better to visit this village earlier in the day.

Personal Rating on a scale of 10
6 (The boating on the Umgot River was a great experience and worth the long travel!!)

Note: Most destinations in and around Shillong close by 4:30 p.m. due to the early sunset. So it is advisable to start early from the hotel for these destinations.

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