…𝒉𝒂𝒊𝒍𝒊𝒏𝒈 𝒇𝒓𝒐𝒎 𝑻𝒔𝒉𝒂𝒄𝒉𝒖, 𝑮𝒖𝒓𝒖𝒏𝒈 𝒆𝒎𝒃𝒂𝒓𝒌𝒔 𝒐𝒏 𝒈𝒓𝒐𝒖𝒏𝒅𝒃𝒓𝒆𝒂𝒌𝒊𝒏𝒈 𝒆𝒇𝒇𝒐𝒓𝒕, 𝒄𝒖𝒍𝒕𝒊𝒗𝒂𝒕𝒊𝒏𝒈 𝒓𝒖𝒃𝒃𝒆𝒓 𝒑𝒍𝒂𝒏𝒕𝒔 𝒂𝒏𝒅 𝒅𝒓𝒂𝒘𝒊𝒏𝒈 𝒊𝒏𝒔𝒑𝒊𝒓𝒂𝒕𝒊𝒐𝒏 𝒇𝒓𝒐𝒎 𝒉𝒊𝒔 𝒓𝒊𝒗𝒆𝒓-𝒄𝒓𝒂𝒅𝒍𝒆𝒅 𝒃𝒊𝒓𝒕𝒉𝒑𝒍𝒂𝒄𝒆 𝒇𝒐𝒓 𝒆𝒄𝒐-𝒇𝒓𝒊𝒆𝒏𝒅𝒍𝒚 𝒊𝒏𝒇𝒓𝒂𝒔𝒕𝒓𝒖𝒄𝒕𝒖𝒓𝒆
At 54 years old, Deepak Gurung, a proud resident of Tshachu (Hot Spring) in Gelephu, is fueled by a profound aspiration to bring to fruition the construction of a living root bridge within the picturesque surroundings of Tshachu. Undaunted by the potential for an extended timeline, Gurung has ardently embarked on the preliminary phases of this visionary project. Demonstrating his proactive approach to the community’s needs, he has promptly erected a ropeway in response to an immediate necessity, showcasing his commitment to innovative solutions.
He diligently engages in the cultivation of rubber plants within the nearby vicinity. This strategic initiative serves as a foundational step, laying the groundwork for the eventual construction of the envisioned living bridge. Gurung’s multifaceted effort highlights not only his commitment to preserving the natural beauty of Tshachu but also his forward-thinking approach in creating sustainable and unique infrastructure for the benefit of the community and future generations.
A living root bridge is a unique form of a simple suspension bridge created through the art of tree shaping, utilizing living plant roots.
Deepak Gurung said, “Being born in an area nestled between two rivers shaped my perspective on the delicate balance between human existence and the environment. Before this current bridge came into existence, I had built a ropeway out of dire need. We had to cross the river to avail every basic necessity. Growing up, I witnessed the transformative power of nature, and it instilled in me a profound sense of responsibility to merge traditional knowledge with contemporary challenges.”
He added, “The ambitious project of constructing the first living bridge in Bhutan emerged from a desire to create sustainable infrastructure that not only connects communities but also honors the natural landscape. The unique setting of my birthplace, sandwiched between two rivers, inspired a vision of harnessing these water resources to build a bridge that not only stands as a testament to ingenuity but also addresses the practical needs of the community while respecting the ecological harmony of the region.”
The completion of this project may span over 40 years, given the extended time required for the roots to fully develop. The growth rate is limited to merely one meter per year. Currently, it has extended to a length of 7 to 10 meters.
In this new endeavor, the challenges he faces occur when visitors come to Tshachu. Some of them, upon encountering the rubber plants, tend to cut and take them for personal use. On the flip side, the growth of rubber plants demands a substantial amount of time, and when they are cut prematurely, it becomes truly disheartening for the individual. “I kindly request individuals visiting Tshachu to refrain from cutting the roots,” he said.
Deepak conveyed his strong conviction, asserting that the preservation of Tshachu’s natural state will undoubtedly yield significant benefits in the future for both the local community and visiting tourists. He emphasized that maintaining the pristine environment contributes a distinctive and unparalleled essence to the area, enhancing the overall experience for all who come to appreciate its unique charm.