Imagine a living bridge – a structure made of living tree roots and not steel and concrete. A visit to Cherrapunji will see your imagination come alive. The secondary root system of Indian Rubber tree (Ficus elastica) growing on the slopes of the Jaintia and Khasi Hills have been used for centuries by the Khasi tribes to construct bridge over the streams in this area. The secondary roots or what are commonly called the hanging roots of the Ficus family are very sturdy and strong. Observing the way that these roots would naturally spread over the chasms, the tribesmen started to train the roots across the streams by guiding them through hollowed out betel nut trunks. Reaching the other bank, these were then allowed to take root in the soil, thus forming a bridge across the stream. As the quantity of roots would increase, so would the thickness and sturdiness of the bridge. Requiring about fifteen years to make a good bridge which could hold the weight of over fifty people, the Khasi tribals have developed a large number of them over the centuries. With some of these living bridges dating back to over 500 years, it can be safely said that these tribes have mastered the art of making such bridges. The Umshiang Double Decker Root Bridge is surely the only one of its kind in the world – a living bridge with two decks, one above the other. To miss out on this place is to miss out on one of the most amazing wonders of the area if not the world.