For half a century, Hally War has been growing a bridge across a local river—and between past and present. Hally War, a 68-year-old farmer from Siej village, learned the art of creating a jingkieng jri—as the living root bridges are locally known—from his grandfather. He belongs to the Khasi tribe for whom the concept of a tree bridge is far more than just a foundational legend. For hundreds of years, his people have been not building bridges, but growing them. The interwoven aerial roots create a pervading fairy-tale atmosphere, appearing to connect myth and reality and the past and the future rather than the two sides of the river. Realizing how extraordinary this example of tribal botanical architecture is, India submitted a proposal in 2022 for the inclusion of the bridges among UNESCO’s World Heritage sites. May the force of life stay strong, for these bridges.

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