Friday, April 3, 2009


On the border of the Meghalayan plateau, just before a big drop into the flat Bangladesh, there is the world’s rainest place: Cherrapunjee. The avarege rainfall in this area is 11,43 m per year, but the record is 22,98 m, reached in 1861. Despite this fact, the tribal name of this place is Sohra which Kashi language maens “without fruit, unfertile”. It could sound like a joke, but once you take the road to reach the village, you understand that Khasi don’t have a strange sense of humor: the landscape around Cherrapunjee seems the perfect scenary for a Western movie.
The road runs through a desert plateau, interrupted only by groups of monolytes, placed there by tribal people as an offer to the gods for a newborn baby.

From time to time a deep canyon marks the border of the highland. The cut in the earth is clear and chuckhole is so amazing that during the dry season is difficult to imagine how that place should be during the rainy season, when all the rain that falls in the area finds its way to the sea by jumping down those high cliffs. A luxury of vegetation can be spotted finally on the bottom of the canyon, several meters below.

Life in this place can be defined at least as peculiar: 5 months of almost uniterrupted heavy rain take turn to 7 months of an harsh dry season. Khasi people had found a way to dominate such a difficult nature. Maybe the most interesting example of this adaptation are the “living root bridges”. As their name suggests, these bridges are made by the roots of a special tree, forced to follow wires until they form the structure of a bridge. This process lasts at least 25 years but they require costant maintenance. Due to the desert highland, these bridges can be found only on the bottom of the canyons. In order to reach them, you have to follow a steep footpath in the deep forest. I leave to your judgement if it is worth it! Enjoy the short film.


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