Jing Kieng Jri

by Ann de Bruyn

Himadri Bhuyan

Himadri Bhuyan

I am an amateur photographer from the city of Guwahati (Assam, India). I love being outdoors and only shoot when the scene, however small or big, interests me. At other times, I'd just sit and observe. My works have been published in several magazines (including National Geographic Magazine), newspapers, and books and I've won a few awards too for my images. I don't keep much of a tab on these as I see it as a process of growth, and there is room for improvement, always. I consider myself a lifelong student of photography.

Himadri Bhuyan 4x4

The English translation of "Jing Kieng Jri" (in Khasi language) is "Living Root Bridge". These root bridges are found in the northeast Indian state of Meghalaya and are a feat of bioengineering marvel.

Every time you see one of these, you'll feel like being in a fantasy world. No words or images can prepare you for the experience you'll get there physically. It's indescribable.

Meghalaya owing to its geology and climate is home to the wettest place on earth and numerous valleys/gorges created by the rainfed streams and rivers that crisscross this region. Add to that the fact that it's an earthquake-prone region and most of the villages don't have road connectivity. A visit to the nearest market or town usually requires crossing several streams. It's fine in the lean season, but in the monsoons, it's impossible to cross these streams or rivers without a bridge. So, centuries ago, the people of the region came up with the idea of building bridges using the roots of rubber fig trees (Ficus Elastica). Since then the people have followed this practice of building bridges that are alive and thrive in their surroundings.

Through these four images, my attempt is to show a few of the bridges the people of Meghalaya, particularly the Khasis, have built. while three of these bridges are several hundred years old, one of these is a few decades old and you can identify it from the smaller roots that still need guiding before they intertwine among themselves and grow thicker and stronger.

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Himadri Bhuyan Riwai Pano