DOUBLE DECKER ROOT BRIDGE
When it comes down to off-beat activities, Cherrapunjee has it all. One such adventurous activity is the root bridge trekking. The place is well known for beholding some of the mesmerizingly beautiful gifts of nature. One among the various natural root bridges is the naturally man made double decker root bridge. All aspects associated with it have been enclosed under this article.
The double decker root bridge is located in East Khasi Hills district of Meghalaya. To be specific, it belongs in the tiny nongriat village.. It is totally circumscribing nature and is symbolic of dense forest. The only method to reach the ideal destination is a walkthrough the jungle. It is as long as 20 meters and trekking to reach the place is not something to be undertaken by all. It is regarded as a living bridge and is nothing less in comparison to a wooden bridge. It is more than 150 years old.
HOW TO REACH THE DOUBLE DECKER ROOT BRIDGE?
The trekking is initiated from the place named Tyrna village located at a distance of about 20-30 minutes’ drive from Cherrapunji. The trip from Cherrapunjee to Tyrna village is going to cost you about 400 INR. The trekking is all throughout a descending journey (2400 feet) from Tyrna village with a step count of about 3500 steps one-way. Reaching the double decker bridge entails through a lot of other root bridges. The journey ought to be fascinating. Yet it is recommended to start off as early as possible since the trek takes nothing less than 5-6 hours for a return journey. With all the other activities included, it takes a whole day to completely witness the beauty the place has to offer.
The whole trekking programme lies in three distinctive steps. Some areas are unseeingly steep and get going difficult with each step. The first destination is reaching the longest root bridge Ritymmen through the Nongthymmai village. It takes about 45 minutes to reach this point from the starting point. The double decker bridge is another 2 hours to reach from the village. The walk is filled with all that you need to enjoy the natural beauty. From petty villages, to dense forest to freshly bloomed flowers, you get to witness all of it. Right after you reach a point named Nongriat Village, satisfy yourself that you’ve reached your destination.
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE FOR THE TREKKING?
The whole trekking might take you almost half the day. Thus, as a matter of advice, do not miss out the early morning chance. If you plan a stay at Cherrapunjee, it takes about an hour to reach the starting point of the trek. If you happen to be staying in Shillong, it is going to take you nothing less than 2-3 hours. Thus, begin early to start off with your journey. Mostly, if it’s a winter trek, it gets dark while you reach back to the starting point. Ideally, one should start off with the trek by 9 am in the morning to reach back on time without hazards.
Trekking to the double decker bridge entails a lot more difficulties than one can think of. Especially, when each step starts to get steeper, people suffering from vertigo may face major issues. In all, it is very strenuous as it challenges your knees and calf-muscles with time. To overcome such issues, most people stop for a minute or two in between to pump back some energy and stamina into their muscles. With that, you are all good to go. However, if you are facing any specific difficulty regarding health, it is recommended to keep off from this trek.
THINGS TO DO DURING TREKKING
All along the way to the double decker bridge, you get to witness certain other small bridges too. There are two different wire bridges that come on the way. You ought to be enjoying how it looks and feels amidst nature. The small waterbody that you are meant to cross looks so heavenly with tiny fishes all over in the clear water. Sometimes, you might even notice local kids swimming and enjoying life away from the city life. The mountains, forests, the greenery everything seems to be a treat to the eyes. Even before you reach the final destination, you will witness various other root bridges that will leave you amazed. All along the way you will have something or the other to admire the atmosphere you are in.
Especially after you reach the nongriat village, meeting the local khasi tribes is in itself an enriching experience. Also, if you are planning on an overnight stay, this village has quite some accommodation options for you. The people in the locality are welcoming and a one-night stay can help you witness the food and ambience there.
THINGS TO CARRY DURING TREKKING TO THE DOUBLE DECKER ROOT BRIDGE
Since it is a trekking, there are certain essentials that ought to be a part of the trek.
- Water: Though, all the way to the root bridge you will find stalls to fulfil your thirst but that would cost you some bucks. However, if you want to check on spending on water, do carry sufficient water along with you. As, all along the trek, thirst is going to be your frequent friend.
- Proper shoes: sandals or any other footwear would be the worst option ever. It is only going to hurt your feet with each step after quite some steps. Therefore, a good pair of comfortable shoes would be an ideal thing to do. Do not miss out on these to make the trekking experience pleasurable rather than painful.
- Camera: it is a once in a lifetime experience for many and thus, a camera is a must for you to carry along. Do not miss out on capturing the beautiful memories all throughout the trekking. Also, the majestic views should be taken along to flaunt your trip to the north east.
- Bug spray: covering jungles is not something you might be doing on a regular basis, thus, protecting yourself from insects is a must. A bug spray can help you from attracting flies, bees and other insects that are commonly found there.
- Extra clothes: If you are planning on taking a good joy out of the water bodies you witness, do carry spare clothes along. As, the whole trekking is only going to make you sweat a lot, spare clothes can help in this regard.
PLACES TO STAY NEAR THE DOUBLE DECKER ROOT BRIDGE
The closest place to stay would be in Nongriat village itself. Apart from that, planning for accommodation in Cherrapunji is not a bad option either. Both budget friendly and luxurious stays can be availed of. Some of the best deals are here for you:
- By The Way guesthouse: it is a great budget friendly option for a stay in Cherrapunji. The charges are for 500 per night for a double room accommodation. Also, they offer hostel stays for 250 per night. The owner as well as the staff are quite friendly and cooperative here.
- Polo Orchid Resort: this is typically meant for a luxurious stay. Online bookings are well available and is a good option for you if you are willing to pay for it. From the best services to the best food, it offers all that you need.
- Santina’s homestay: this one is a budget friendly option for a stay at nongriat village itself. The calm and peaceful ambience that the village offers is worth staying for a night. It is completely reasonable and just costs 250 per night.
- The Cherrapunjee Holiday Resort: this place is close to nongriat and offers lost luxuries that you must be looking for. Thus, this too is a great option with good reviews on the net.
HIRING A GUIDE FOR THE TREK
Though, hiring a guide might not be the ideal thing to do for all but is still a good enough option. Right from the Tyrna village one can procure a guide. Especially if you have plans to visit the rainbow falls, a guide is a must. Other than that, the pathway to nongriat is well demarcated and can be done without the assistance of a guide.
THINGS TO DO ON REACHING THE DOUBLE DECKER ROOT BRIDGE
Finally on reaching your ideal destination after a long trek, you need to pay a small fee for entering the place. The charge is Rs 10 per person and Rs 20 for camera. Upon entering you witness the greatest pleasures of life. The double decker bridge and below it a river flowing in its own grace. You have either the option to sit and witness the stream and relax yourself after a long tiring trek or you can directly take a walk along the bridge. The option lies on you. Both of them feel great and peaceful. All you might be feeling at the moment is that all that walk was worth it.
Next comes is the rainbow falls that you can visit too. It is at a distance of about 1.5 hours from the root bridge. On its way you get to witness another natural pool named blue lagoon. On the way, shaky and long root bridges are something you need to cross. Finally, you get to witness the beautiful and majestic rainbow waterfalls. Do not forget to capture the moment on your camera and keep it for a lifetime.
TREKKING BACK TO THE STARTING POINT
Trekking back to Tyrna village is not an easy job either. If you happen to undertake the journey the same day, it would feel like the worst of nightmares coming true. The steep slopes are equally difficult to ascend. With time, you would feel your legs giving up to the circumstance. In any way ascending to the starting point is only going to take longer than usual and hence it is recommended that you plan beforehand. However, the ideal option would be to plan an overnight stay at nongriat rather than climbing back to the initials. On the way back, nothing seems as a rescue compared to the never-ending steep slopes.
IDEAL TIME TO VISIT THE DOUBLE DECKER ROOT BRIDGE
You can visit the point at any point of the year. But, most ideally, winter is perhaps the best season. September to march can be a perfect time and is considered the peak season. However, as a matter of fact, avoiding the monsoon season would be the best you could do. The root tends to weaken then and the pathway is mostly slippery.
OTHER POPULAR ROOT BRIDGES OF CHERRAPUNJEE
Cherrapunjee is filled with numerous root bridges and is a delight to witness. Therefore, apart from the famous and hidden double decker root bridge, there are similar others worth visiting. Here is the list of some that are of equal relevance:
- Ummunoi Root Bridge
- Umkar Root Bridge
- Ritymmen Root Bridge
- Mawsaw Root Bridge
NEARBY MAJOR ATTRACTIONS
Cherrapunjee has a lot of natural beauties to offer. Thus, while on your trip to this part of north east India, do not miss out on the major waterfalls. Here are some enumerated for you:
- Dainthlen falls
- Seven sister falls
- Kynrem falls
TRAVEL TIPS ON DOUBLE DECKER ROOT BRIDGE TREK
- Maintain a minimum standard of fitness
- Comfortable shoes are a must
- The viewpoints remain closed on Sundays so plan accordingly
- Carry essentials as mentioned above
- For monsoon visitors, carry your monsoon essentials too