Meghalaya, literally “Abode of Clouds”, owes its name to the prodigious humidity drawn over its hills from the Bay of Bengal. The state, sandwiched between Assam and Bangladesh, boasts the highest rainfall of anywhere on earth.
Southwest of the capital, Shillong, the Khasi Hills receives the lion’s share of the downpours: the village of Cherrapunjee is notorious for receiving an average of 12m per year – twenty times more than London. It’s worth making a detour to this fascinating, predominantly tribal, Christian region to see the so-called Living Bridges which the locals use to cross the river and its tributaries below Cherrapunjee. By training roots of ficus elastic trees over the water, they’re able to create spans able withstand the rigours of the Meghalayan climate. A revealing fact is that the bridges take more than a generation to make; responsibility for their upkeep often passes to the eldest daughter in this matrilineal part of the world.
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