This Man Is Trying To Save India’s Last Remaining Living Root Bridges

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Patrick Rogers of the Living Root Bridges Project is a man who tries to save what’s left of one of humanity’s best examples of working in perfect harmony with nature. We’re talking about the 500 year-old, 150 feet-long man made jungle bridges, created by manipulating the malleable roots of the young Indian Rubber Trees.

Little is known about these natural wonders other than the fact that they’re made by the War Khasi and War Jaintia people of Meghalaya state. How many there are, where exactly they are situated and who came up with the idea in the first place are unknown and this is what Patrick Rogers wants to solve before they disappear completely.

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“My hope is that this will both spread awareness of the phenomenon so that the people of the region may further benefit from it, and also contribute to its preservation for future generations,” Rogers wrote of his goal to trek through northeast India’s thick jungle to document the dimensions and location of as many existing living root bridges, ladders and observation platforms he can find.

“Sadly, many living root bridges are under threat of being destroyed by a number of factors, including arson, floods, negligence, and local villages simply deciding to remove them and replace them with less exceptional steel bridges,” he wrote.

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“While the few living root bridges that have become famous will almost certainly survive, these are only a shockingly tiny portion of the phenomenon as a whole. Most of the living root bridges have already been destroyed, and most of the rest may be soon to follow, while the practice itself, perhaps more important than any single bridge, is well on its way to fading out.”

Patrick told Inhabitat the project is making progress. In addition to lining up collaborators, he has learned of several living root bridges that have yet to be documented. “Also, I now have the support of the person who began promoting the living root bridges back in 2004, and has since then been their main proponent,” he said. “He is proposing getting in touch with the state government regarding the project, which could be a fairly major step towards raising awareness of the phenomenon, at least in Northeast India.”

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Representing such an unique cultural and natural heritage, Rogers is volunteering to locate, map, measure and photograph the living bridges so that ultimately the local communities can benefit from the attention they have shown to garner in other parts of the region.

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