Hike to the Double Decker Living Root Bridges

4.3 miles 2398.3 ft gain  - Out-and-Back Trail

Added by Tara Stamnes

After a tough 3000-stair climb downwards you can spiral through a lush Indian jungle village. Cross the beautiful crystal-blue Nongriat River over age-old suspension bridges towards the natural root bridges. This double decker bridge is the only of its kind. When you reach the end of the trail don't forget to stop in the small waterfall and pools that fall under the bridges. Nothing short of a magical experience!

Looking for an experience straight out of Tarzan or the Jungle Book? Deep in the dense tropical forest of Meghalaya, and shrouded in cloud and rain for much of the year, are some astonishing man-made natural wonders. Known as living root bridges, inventive members of the Khasi tribe have trained them to grow from the roots of ancient rubber trees, native to the northeast region. The root bridges provide a stable alternative to wooden bridges, which decay and get destroyed during the lengthy monsoon seasons.

Start with your group in the Tyrna Village south of Shillong. There is fairly easy access there by road - rent a motorcycle, tempo, or jeep to get to the access point or hire a driver. Just past the parking lot is where you will follow the 3000 stair journey deep into the jungle and the tiny Nongriat village. The weather can vary highly on a single day here so make sure you take a lot of water - especially if the humidity is high! There is a small tuck shop at the bottom of the first main flight of steps that you can buy water and snacks at as well, but as anything in India, don't count on them being open!

After the first major jaunt down the initial ~2000 steps, you will continue through the jungle for at least another hour until you make it to the bridges. You will cross over two beautiful turquoise sections of the river via suspension bridges (these are pretty sketchy, but that's half the fun!). At the beginning of the first bridge, there is a spot where you can climb down and go for a dip in the river in the small swimming pool. This is highly recommended, especially on your way back - the water is perfect on a sunny day. If you're brave, you can even attempt to cross the river in the low months (September-October) and jump off the tall rocks on the opposite side (be careful of the last ~10m of this swim as the current can be very strong!).

Through the jungle you will see beautiful flora and fauna including spiders the size of your face (don't worry, they don't bite!). The locals of the village are friendly, though speak minimal english so be sure to know a few words of local dialect before leaving. The trail signage is very good and it is unlikely you'll get lost. After you cross the bridges and continue through the jungle, you will pass through a couple of home-stays, which is a tip-off you're almost there! Finally, you will reach the beautiful bridges. This is a perfect opportunity to have lunch and go for a bath in the falls or swim in the river (which passes under the bridges). Take your photos and a nice break but don't spend too long as the tough climb back up (~4km, regaining all of your elevation loss) is awaiting. Overall, give yourself at least 5 hours to really enjoy this magical day.

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Easy Parking
Picnic Area
Cliff Jumping
Swimming Hole


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over 2 years ago

1,000s of steps...and worth every one

My wife and I really enjoyed every step (up and down) of this hike. The villages on the trail are as enjoyable to experience as the bridges themselves. The root bridges are such a unique part of the regional heritage…one of a kind in the world! A trip to Cherrapunji isn’t complete without a visit to this awesome place.

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