Cherrapunji in northern India is the wettest place on the planet, receiving an annual rainfall of 463.7 inches. By comparison, the U.S. receives only 28. This means that there are a ton of fast-flowing, easily flooded rivers and streams in the area, and plenty of people needing to get from Point A to Point B. But when you live in a climate this wet, building can be tricky. Wooden structures will simply rot after a short time.
So the locals came up with a genius solution to their problem, thanks to a tree called the Ficus elastica, which grows a secondary root system above ground.
What do weird roots have to do with building? Everything!
The people of the Cherrapunji region have trained the roots of many of these trees to grow into bridges and walkways. That”s right: living bridges. No one knows exactly when the practice of creating these living root bridges started, but it might be as far back as 500 years ago.
The bridges take about 10 to 15 years to grow strong enough to hold a person”s weight, but they keep growing stronger.
Some are strong enough to hold up to 50 people, and they can be over 100 feet long. They”re also still alive and part of the tree.
Watch the video below for more information on these amazing bridges.
These bridges look like something out of a fairy tale, but they”re very real and are still being grown and tended to today. They”re still being used throughout the region, too. If you ever find yourself in the wettest part of the planet, be sure to take a trip over these magical living bridges.
For more unbelievable bridges, and more on the wettest place on Earth, check out these stories: