Nongriat Root Bridges

Top choice in Meghalaya

The most fascinating sights around Cherrapunjee are the incredible living bridges – formed from rubber-fig roots that ingenious Khasi villagers have, over decades, trained across streams as natural pathways. Over 40 of these are said to be scattered around the Meghalaya hills and several of them (including an amazing ‘double-decker’) are near the jungle valley hamlet of Nongriat – a steep hike down 2600 steps (and up 500) from Tyrna village, 12km southwest of Cherrapunjee.

The descent takes about 1½ hours, including a short detour to the first root bridge (signposted 'Long Root Bridge') about 40 minutes down from Tyrna. You then cross two metal suspension bridges before reaching the second root bridge, just before Nongriat. The double-decker (for which there's a ₹20 entry charge) is five minutes past Nongriat, along with some enticing (and popular) bathing pools in the river. There are several drink and snack stalls en route, but you should carry water too.

Expect the climb back up to Tyrna to take around two hours, with plenty of rest stops on the way.

With sufficient energy and time, you can continue about 1¼ hours from the double-decker bridge on to the powerful Rainbow Falls. This hike has far fewer people and a more in-the-jungle feel, but the path is good. After about 20 minutes you cross a metal suspension bridge, immediately followed by another root bridge. Ten minutes past that there's a fork: take the concrete steps to the left, not the stone steps up to the right. The rest of the way is obvious.

There's a handful of basic homestays in Nongriat and Tyrna. Serene Homestay provides sheets, blankets, mosquito nets, fans and inexpensive food, and is a good budget place to stop a night or two if you want to soak up the jungle atmosphere or explore more trails.

A taxi from Cherrapunjee to Tyrna costs ₹300 to ₹400 and it's a good idea to arrange for the driver to pick you up for the return trip.

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