THE ROOT BRIDGE IN WEST SUMATRA

Image by Fitri Penyalai - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0

The root bridge in West Sumatra is a most visited tourist attraction. It is made from bamboo wood and is wrapped by the roots of the banyan trees that grow on the either side of the river.

It is 25 meters long and has reached the age of 100 years. It’s so fascinating and is the truly unique bridge in Indonesia. Perhaps, the most regretful thing in life is that someone doesn’t have the opportunity to pay a visit to this wonderful place.

The bridge is situated in Pulut-pulut village and is 24 kilometers from Painan. You need to take an 80 kilometer journey if you go from Padang and pass Teluk Bayur.

The locals call the root bridge Titian Aka. A lot of tourists come to see this awesome bridge and each of them should pay the entrance fee. The bridge stretches from Pulut-pulut to Lubuk Silau village over the Batang Bayang River.

This hundred year old bridge is considered sacred. Three days before the month of Ramadan, the locals come to take a bath with lime juice. This is the old tradition and it is called Balimau.

Everyone hope that God will grant all their wishes after taking a lime bath. The location is usually very crowded when the Idul Fitri or holiday season arrives.

Unlike concrete bridge, the root bridge becomes stronger year after year. The banyan roots that wrapped around the bridge are very tough after reaching a hundred years old. Your safety is 100 percent guaranteed while you’re walking across the bridge.

Perhaps it looks somewhat like the Nai He Bridge in Chinese folklore. After a person died, the soul walks across the Nai He Bridge (Bridge of helplessness). While the soul of that guy reaches the end of the bridge, he will see an old lady waiting for him. The old woman offers him a bowl of soup to drink. After drinking the forgetfulness soup, he will forget every thing and all he experienced in his past life. Therefore, he is ready to go for the next life through reincarnation.

It is said that the root bridge was built by a hadji to connect two villages. The pupils living in Pulut-pulut village could cross the bridge to learn Koran reading. The bridge was built in 1890 and functioned in 1916. It spent 26 years to join the banyan roots together.

The manager of this tourist attraction has installed steel wire ropes for safety. There’s also the suspension bridge nearby, so that it can turned the visitors’ attention for not only focus on the root bridge. This reduces weight while less people are walking across from one side to another.

The Batang Bayang River is an ideal place for doing rafting because there’re a lot of big rocks that will test your courage to see how low you can go.

The natural view of the river is really amazing. While you’re standing on the root bridge, you can see stingrays swimming in the clean water under the bridge. If someone would like to find his or her soul mate, it’s a good idea to take a bath beside the river.

There’re the warungs (food stalls) that sell food and drink. The Indomie instant noodles sold at this location is very tasty. Some tourists bring their KFC boxed meals as it is more convenient for them to have their breakfast or lunch anytime.

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