This is the second part of my series on the architecturally unexceptional­, yet often spectacular, conventional steel and wood suspension bridges of Meghalaya. For an introduction to the subject, check out the post below.

I would have had this finished sooner but for some fairly serious image resolution issues. It turns out that photos consisting almost entirely of transparent arrangements of thin steel wires with dense, detail-intensive vegetation behind them are about the worst thing possible for WordPress compression algorithms. Who knew?

The photos below cover bridges in the immense gorge of the Umrew River (you might also see it called Wahrew). As I describe the area in The Green Unknown: “The Umrew gorge is a maze of steep valleys cut by a multitude of rivers and is perhaps the most complex piece of geography in all of Meghalaya. To the west, Sohra sits atop a great flat-topped massif of limestone at an altitude of 4500 feet. Due east, a circuitous three-hour drive from Sohra though it is a mere eleven miles distant as the crow flies, Pynursla occupies its own limestone plateau, at roughly the same altitude. Many tens of millions of years ago, these two vast chunks of fossiliferous stone were one, but then, as the whole Shillong Plateau violently rose, the monsoons and the raging rivers they spawned intervened, separating the two land masses with a deep bowl of many canyons, leaving only narrow fragments of the original tableland. Between the escarpments of Sohra and Pynursla, numerous rivers rush together to meet the Umrew, which collects the last of its Indian tributaries just above the Bangladesh border.

“But before that final stretch, where the two fragments of ancient tableland curve in towards each other and the valley narrows, the basin is not characterized by a single, dominant stream, but by many similar, north-south flowing waterways, which each cut their own deep canyons, creating ridge after parallel ridge between the two higher limestone walls of the Umrew River Bowl. Steep mountains thousands of feet tall rise from the bottoms of the rivers, yet their summits are still far below the altitude of the tableland to the east and west. To walk in the Umrew Bowl is to climb thousands of feet and still feel under the surface.”

If you enjoyed this post, please consider supporting me on my Patreon page. There, you can download [BEGINNING JULY 2022!] a new extended edition of my book The Green Unknown: Travels in the Khasi Hills which includes several chapters available exclusively on Patreon, as well as access lots of other perks. Any help is greatly appreciated!

These kids at Wah Pungdan are not impressed


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