Saturday, 20 October 2012

India: Sat Oct 20th

 Today we trekked out to see the living root bridges, a natural highlight of the area and a traditional way of using the forest resources. The sun was shining, despite Cheerapunjee being the wettest place on earth because the monsoon clods drop their rain when they reach the low mountains here. The jungle is so alive, the noise of crickets is earsplitting, huge butterflies flapped around black, yellow, brown and huge spiders guarded their webs. As we started out and we could see the waterfalls unlike yesterday. We walked down to a village and then trekked down through the forest walking on a set of about 2000 concrete steps, put in by the government with a plaque detailing the labour costs. People were coming up to market boys carrying small birds in bamboo cages. The forest was thick with a variety of trees, unfortunately our Ghasi gude was not familiar with the trees, when i asked him about the trees types he airly said “Jungle trees”! The root bridges were beautiful natural structures with thick roots growing out to the base and thinner roots forming the support pieces. They felt very strong and natural, unlike the wire bridges which we also crossed which felt fragile. The roots bridges take about 20 years to grow and last about 200. WE paused at villages in the forest, people had few possessions but we did see a school house. We had a refreshing swim in the cold blue mountain water. Then we had a hours climb up old stone steps to the top of a ridge, few people came along this path, our guide said he had last done this long walk a year ago. We got back to the village in time to have tea and enjoy the view down the steep cliffs to the Bangladesh plain with rivers. Omer was v keen to get back to Cheerapunjee for sun set and so we sped back up the hill and were just in time for the sunset and a rest.

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