Switching to a new site

Hey folks…anybody’s whose wondering why I’m not posting here should visit my new author site here. I’ll be putting info up on all of my projects there, including more Khasi Hills stuff.

Thanks

Patrick

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CRAZY BRIDGES OF MEGHALAYA PT 1

Yes, Meghalaya’s most exceptional bridges are the ones made from living roots. That said, visiting the state’s conventional ones is an adventure in its own right. Often wobbly, frequently dangerous and poorly maintained, the bridges made from steel wire, bamboo and wood, or concrete, frequently span rivers that root bridges once crossed, or else have been built across gaps that would be too wide (and too time consuming in this day and age) to grow root bridges over.

Unlike root bridges, conventional bridges decay over time without frequent maintenance, and in the case of the bridges of Meghalaya, where flash floods and ungodly humidity are characteristic features of more than half the year, this decay can happen rapidly. For example, bridges made from bamboo are little more than scaffolds, where one must replace most of the structure every few months.

These bridges might not be as important to world architectural heritage as the root bridges, but there’s something undeniably adventurous about them.

2 12 IMG_0460
The steel bridge of Shnongpdeng Village.
2 weeping river wire bridge
Long steel bridge over the Ummiam River, between the villages of Tynrong and Lyngkhom.
3 IMG_2382
Long bridge of the Umrew.
4 foot over weeping river (2)
Crossing the Ummiam River bridge.
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Bamboo bridge near Kongtim Village.
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Bridge over the Ummiam River, between the villages of Mauphu and Theidding. Sadly, this area is being currently developed in a hydro electric project. The bridge might be underwater soon.
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Bridge over the Umrew River.
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Temporary Bamboo bridge over the Umngot river.
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Metal bridge over the Umrew River, between Tluh and Mawlam villages.
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The Umngot River Bridge, next to Shnongpdeng Village.
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Bamboo Bridge, over the Pynursla River, near Rangthylliang Village.
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Bamboo Bridge, over the Pynursla River, near Rangthylliang Village.
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Double rusty steel bridge, near Mynteng Village.
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Steel Bridge, Nongriat Village.
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Steel Bridge, Ummiam River.
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Steel bridge over Ummiam River Canyon, below Mauphu village. I assume this is the section being dammed for the hydro electric project.
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Crossing a narrow bridge, Ummiam river.
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The worst bridge in Meghalaya. Really dangerous. It was coming apart when I crossed it.
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Mauphu kids.
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Mauphu kids.

Pt 2: Coming soon!

Meghalaya’s Giant Spiders

Damn it if the Khasi Hills aren’t full of giant spiders……

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Some variety of Huntsman spider (not the cave dwelling kind).
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Huntsman spider.
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Giant cave spider (about 12 inches), near Kudeng Rim Village, West Jaintia Hills.
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Giant cave spider, near Kudeng Rim Village, West Jaintia Hills.
3 Big Damn Spider
Big ass Meghalaya spider
5 Nongriat Large Spiders
Spiders and Areca palms.
6 Bigger Ass Spider
Big ass Meghalaya spider
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Spider and web near Nongsteng Village.
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Spider in the leaves.
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Spider in the leaves.

Waterfalls of Meghalaya

Excerpt from The Green Unknown:

“Ahead, I began to hear rushing water. Rounding a bend, I came unexpectedly on a high waterfall, which flowed through a steep cutting worn in the side of a limestone wall by a stream that originated somewhere high up on the plateau.”

One of the great things about the Khasi Hills is that, once you reach the truly rugged areas just North of the Bangladesh border, there’s almost guaranteed to be a waterfall around every corner. They come in an immense range of sizes, from thousand foot cascades like Nohkailikai falls, to tiny trickle a few feet high. In the rainy season, vertical rivers pour down into the jungle gorges. It’s a dangerous time to be wandering the hills, though it’s certainly a memorable sight.

Here’s just a small selection of the waterfalls in the Khasi Hills:

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Nohkailikai Falls.
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Rainbow Falls.
1 Just grand falls
Falls West of Ramdait Village.

 

14 Khasi Hills Landscape
Waterfalls on the Khasi Hills.
3 weeping river falls
Small Falls feeding the Ummiam River, near Tynrong village.
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Small waterfall upstream from Nongriat Village.
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Small waterfall upstream from Nongriat village.
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Falls of the Amkshar River, Kudeng Rim village, West Jaintia Hills.
Rainbow falls
Rainbow Falls.
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Fall of the Umngot River.
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Falls of the Umngot River.
Yarnell Rainbow jump
Jumping in front of the titular rainbow of Rainbow Falls.
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A waterfall in the rainy season, near Nongriat Village.

 

Nongriat

Excerpt from The Green Unknown

“In 2012, I spent a week in Nongriat’s guest house during the tail end of the monsoon. Every day, I explored a little bit further out from the village, going to its nearest waterfalls and, weather permitting, slowly familiarizing myself with the local network of trails that led into the jungle.”

I have a special fondness for Nongriat village. It was the first place in Meghalaya where I had the chance to truly explore in depth. In a way, Nongriat was my gateway to the Khasi Hills. Over the years, I came to realize that there were many other places in southern Meghalaya that were less well known than Nongriat, yet just as beautiful. But that in no way lessens the intrinsic beauty of Nongriat. The village made a wonderful starting point.

Here’s a collection of pictures I’ve taken over the years:

Photos from a 5 day trip I took all the way back in 2012:

1 Umshiang double decker root bridge
The famous Double Decker root bridge of Nongriat.
1 Abandoned Simtung Living Root Bridge
Abandoned living root bridge near Nongriat.
1 nohkalikai falls
Nohkailikai falls.
2 Tyrna footpath
The path to Nongriat, in the rain.
2 Walking Through Nongriat
Nongriat village in the mist.
3 Big Damn Spider
Big ass Meghalaya spider
3 Tyrna flowers
Meghalaya jungle flowers.
4 Nongriat Pineapple in Yard
Pineapple.
5 Nongriat Large Spiders
Spiders and Areca palms.
6 Bigger Ass Spider
Big ass Meghalaya spider
6 Nongriat Hidden in mist and Jungle
Nongriat Village and mountain in the mist.
6 The Endless Stairs, down from Tyrna
Endless stairway on the path to Nongriat.
7 Old Stone Steps Between Nongthymmai and Nongriat
Meghalaya stone stairway.
7 Simtung Bridge as seen from Simtung Steel Wire Bridge
Abandoned root bridge near Nongriat village.
7 Up and Up the stairs
Overgrown steps on the way to the Nohkailikai falls viewpoint.
9 Nohkalikai Falls from Viewpoint
Nohkailikai falls.
9 Simtung River Island Flowers
Jungle flowers.
9 Steel wire suspension bridge (2)
Steel wire suspension bridge.
10 Nongriat Guest House
Nongriat village guest house.
10 Over the Khasi Hills towards Bangladesh
View over the Khasi Hills from the Nohkailikai viewpoint.
11 Dark Jungle
Dark Khasi Hills jungle.
11 Very Mushroom Log
Log and mushrooms.
11 Waterfall and clouds
Small seasonal waterfall next to the larger, year round, Nohkailikai falls. Meghalaya.
12 Down into the Mist
Khasi Hills mist.
12 Mushroom Log
Nongriat jungle mushrooms.
12 Small Waterfall
Small waterfall near Nongriat.
13 Large Waterfall Across the Umkynsan
Khasi Hills waterfall.
14 Nongthymmai Bridge
Nongthymmai Living Root Bridge. Nongthymmai village, Meghalaya.
14 Wire Bridge Across the Umkynsan
Wire suspension bridge over the Umkynsan. Upstream from Nongriat.
15 Nongthymmai Bridge Span
Nongthymmai living root bridge and river. Meghalaya.
15 Rotten Bamboo Pathway
Treacherous bamboo bridge. Upstream from Nongriat.
16 Hybrid bridge, root bridge, and waterfall (2)
A view from a hybrid steel/root bridge, towards a waterfall and another root bridge. In real life, the waterfall is much larger than it looks in this picture.
16 Nongthymmai Bridge Span Detail
Living roots
18 View over the Hills
A view in the general direction of Bangladesh, from the top of “The Hillock,” about a 1500 foot climb above the Nongthymmai root bridge. Nongriat is on the bottom of the slope on the right (though not in this picture).
19 Umkynsan Steel Wire Bridge at Night
The last bridge on the Umkynsan, after dark. This picture was taken with the flash on my camera.Walking out on one of these in the dark (with a good headlamp, obviously!) is a creepy and unsettling (though very interesting) experience. The feeling is that you have darkness pressing in on you from all sides, even from below. And you know that there’s a rushing, swollen, river 50 or 60 feet below you, but all you can see of it in your headlamp are the faint, ghostly impressions of raging rapids. Once you approach the other side, the first thing you see is the spectral white foam of a waterfall, followed by the great hanging roots of rubber trees, which in the darkness appear like huge grasping tentacles. You start to expect Sadako, or some awful ancient horror from Khasi legend, to be waiting for you at the other end. Either that, or the ghosts or people who have died around here..and there are many….
20 Hybrid Bridge at night
The pathway to Lovecraftian Horror. This is the hybrid root bridge. That white blur to the left of the photo is a waterfall. Another reason why having lots of time in an interesting place is worthwhile is that you can get a chance to see what it’s like after dark.
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A mushroom covered log next to the trail. Needless to say, the rot and wetness of the Khasi Hills make them a fine place for fungi of all sorts.

 

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