Geek Trivia

The Khasi People Of Northern India Craft What Out Of Living Trees?

Suspension Bridges
Livestock Pens
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Answer: Suspension Bridges

If you thought your grandpa’s skill at shaping topiary bushes was pretty neat, he’s got nothing on the Khasi people of northeast India. For generations untold they’ve passed down the art of shaping the aerial roots of the banyan fig trees into suspension bridges.

Yes, you read that correctly, bridges. Specifically, they train the roots into living suspension bridges that grow ever thicker and stronger over time creating a living bridge over streams and small rivers; the largest known examples of the Khasi “root bridges” span over 100 feet.

What’s equally impressive is the longevity of their creations. The bridges are believed to have a useful lifespan of roughly 500-600 years. A bridge begun when Europeans were first setting sail for the New World and Constantinople was falling to the Turks could still well be in use today.

Image courtesy of Arshiya Urveeja Bose.