Trek to Double Decker Living Root Bridge is a distinctive experience which one will never forget in his/her lifespan. It’s been a month passed as I went on both Single and Double Decker living root bridge trek but, I remember it just fine. Like it was yesterday!
As I started with the trek, I asked the guide about why these bridges are called ‘Living?’ Do they really live? Or it’s just a gimmick?
He couldn’t understand what I was asking, so we both continued descending down the deep forest of Meghalaya forest.
Both the Living Root Bridge of Meghalaya are located in a small Khasi tribe village named, Nongriat!
Nongriat means, Village of Cliffs, as “Nong” means Village and “Riat” means Cliffs!
Let’s start with the details and I’ll be sharing my experiences along. To visually experience the trek, check out our Living Root Bridge video added at the bottom of this post.
How to Reach Double Decker Living Root Bridge Meghalaya?
You need to visit Meghalaya which is easily accessible via Guwahati. From Guwahati, you can either take an Uber (Yes, it’s there!) or hire a personal cab or take a public cab (from Khanapara area) to Shillong.
A sharing cab from Khanapara will cost about 70INR per person, taking 3 hours approx to reach, while a personal cab will cost about 250-400INR per person, taking about 2 hours. A personal Uber should cost about 1,200-1,500INR.
Now from Shillong, you need to change the vehicle and take another cab towards Cherrapunjee. Ask the driver to drop at the exact location, where the trek starts.
If you’ve taken the shared cab, which drops at Cherrapunjee, you can ask any local for dropping you at trek’s location. They will charge about 200-400INR.
From the drop-point, you can see stairs going down hill. This is where you start and follow the stairs and indications mentioned during the trek!
It should take you straight to the Double Decker Living Root Bridge!
How to Reach Single Decker Living Root Bridge in Nongriat?
Right at the midway while going downhill, you’ll get a different path, indicating the route towards Single Decker Living Root Bridge. This is where you split the path and take the other one.
In my experience, both bridges are worth visiting. There aren’t any facilities available at the Single bridge compared to the other one!
Cost of Double Decker Living Root Bridge Trek
You can take a cab from Shillong that will drop you straight at the location where this trek starts. A private cab should cost you around 700-1,200INR, depending on how well you can bargain.
From where the trek starts, you’ll meet a bunch of locals, offering guide services. From that height, doing that trek alone looks silly because of the forests. So, it’s recommended to take the guide if you’re visiting the place for the first time!
The guide should cost you about 400-600INR (two-way) for both Single and Double Decker trek.
Right before these bridges, there are a bunch of local check-posts which charge about 5-20INR per camera device. It’s not a costly thing but, I’m still updating you about it.
Other than these, there aren’t any cost involved for this trek!
Best Time for Living Root Bridge Trek?
The trek is open throughout the year but, it’s recommended to avoid going there during the monsoon. North East is known for its heavy rainfall, triggering many floods in the region. In this case, especially, we are talking about Meghalaya which has the place receiving world’s heaviest rainfall recorded every year.
Once it starts raining, things go dark than usual, even in the daytime, and everything becomes tough. If it rains a little, then it’s good but, during the monsoon period, it’s mostly heavy!
What’s the Living Root Bridge Location?
Nongriat is the village name where Living Root Bridges are located. Around this village, there are many other bridges which one can explore.
But, you need to plan a day or two days visit to make that happen! Every single second you live there is worth the money and efforts involved.
Are there any Stay options?
Yes, down where the Double Living Root Bridge located, there are a couple of stay options available. These are homestays offered by the Khasi people.
Usually, they charge approx 200-400INR per night (for a single room) and 100INR for a single diet. The charges might vary as per the timing of your visit but, it’s not costly!
I’ll recommend you to take two days for this trek. Come down to visit both Single and Double Root Bridge, and stay at Nongriat homestay for a night.
Next day, trek to the Rainbow Waterfall (any local will guide you) and come back to the top. This is how you won’t feel tired and will have the best local experience out there. Also, more free time to spend there with the waterfalls and the bridges.
During my visit, I had about 5 hours to go down and come back, attending both the bridges as I had lesser time. I completed both the treks and came back to the original location within 3.5 hours. I did my best to see everything I could but, it’s still not a good plan.
When I visit again, I’ll definitely plan one or two night stay there!
Science behind Living Root Bridge?
I mean why they are tagged, ‘Living?’
Old Khasi tribe people found an interesting way to connect distant places which later named as Living Root Bridges. They used the roots of Rubber Trees, which grow in abundance in those forests, to form these bridges.
The idea is to guide a bunch of roots to reach the other end, using metals, pipes or any other strong material stick they can find. The roots follow the guided path and once they reach the other end, the development is complete.
It takes about a 10-15 years to complete a single bridge, and then they grow in strength as time passes. In technical terms, more root passes the same path!
You can read all about it over here as I’m not a Science Graduate to explain this phenomenal thing in a better way. Let me know if I spoiled it already!
My Experience with Pictures
As I mentioned above, I did the trek in just 3.5 hours. I had to run down like it was a marathon and come up the hill slowly but, continuously. I have admitted it before and will do it again, it wasn’t the best decision. But, that’s all I could afford at that time, as the trip to North East was via hitchhike medium.
As far as I could see, it was all green and filled with dense forest. You can see a lot of rubber trees which are being used to make those bridges.
After every 15-20 minutes, a waterfall appeared, boosting me to keep walking. From the top, the sight of the Nongriat village looked too far but, thanks to the stairs constructed by the Meghalaya Government and my guide, I didn’t lose any tracks!
Approx 3,000 stairs (one-way) doesn’t help with the trek as it’s tough to walk down and climb up stairs than normal trekking!
As I started coming up again, I could feel the pain in Calf-Muscles. That day, the rain had no plans of showing up, leaving the temperature humid, which is usually the case with North East region.
I forgot to carry enough water to survive this journey but, then I didn’t needed any. Thanks to the running water streams!
We all pay for mineral water bottles but, believe me, the water I had there, was the real one. If one can pack and deliver, it would be the badass water bottle brand, ever!
The sight of the bridge left me wondering about their construction and age. I didn’t bother my guide for the details as I was too lost in the woods and water out there!
Living Root Bridge Trek Video
How was the video? Did you like the Trek or not?
In my opinion, it’s one of those rare treks which is not that tough to do and not a single person will have a bad experience.
What are your thoughts now?
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I’ll take your leave with this must read post about North East itinerary, if you’re wondering to travel all seven states. Hint, they are untouched and beautiful!