Friday 30 November 2012

Umm-U-Noi Living Root Bridge

The villagers at Sohsarat and Mawlyntuin moved from the foothills due to very short days with scanty sunlight. They grew a living root bridge for access to their farming lands from their new habitat.

Umm-U-Noi Living Root Bridge at Siet village is located at 515m elevation and one hour away from Laitkynsew village (880m). Mawshamok is 15km from Saitsohpen and Laitkynsew 4km away after the splashing park and Cherra Resort. This 90 minute trek starts from a tiny thatched tea shop on the left side of the road from Mawshawmok to Nongwar where the road ends. The concrete steps leads to the villages from where the trail turns right. Ask the villagers for this trail hidden between houses. After trudging along a grassy area this trail leads to a rocky path covered under leafy canopy, so the rocks are slippery in any weather. This is used only by the villagers and least touristy (read no concrete steps).

The main branch of the bridge which looks like a spinal chord is very strong and big. Some branches are as wide as half meter and stronger than a concrete beam. We tagged along with Bansan for this trek and a villager was guiding us to this bridge explaining the history. He made a small cut on the branch with his machete and a sticky white gum oozed out which explains that this is in the family of rubber trees (ficus elastica).

 Ten minutes further from the root bridge there is a rock cavern made of sharp rocks and tree roots in intricate patterns. Interestingly the space below the cavern was hollow (not seen but heard). Half cut bamboo poles are used like a pipe to bring the water from upper hills to the farming lands inside the jungle.

After the trek we had a late but heavy lunch at the tea shop. We couldn't find a taxi from Laitkynsew, so decided to walk 4km to Mawshamok gazing at the starry sky. Bansan explained the location of different villages in the lower hills looking at the electric bulbs which look like fireflies in the forest. This was the last trek we did in Sohra and the easiest.

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