SHILLONG, Aug 3 � One of Meghalaya�s ancient and also most neglected archaeological wonders � the stone bridge over Um-Nyakaneth in Jaintia Hills � has been brought under the ambit of the Union Ministry of Tourism.
The bridge, built several centuries ago as a highway for the royal Jaintia entourage for their travel from their capital in Jaintiapur (now in Bangladesh) to their summer capital in Nartiang, Jaintia Hills, is situated between Jarain and Syndai, some 100 kms from here.
The Union Ministry of Tourism has facilitated the adoption of the monolithic bridge as it is listed as a monument by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) years ago.
The historic bridge would be adopted, under the Union Ministry�s Campaign Clean India, by the Institutes of Hotel Management and Indian Institute of Tourism and Travel Management.
In fact, there are two other similar monolithic bridges in Jaintia Hills all built by the Jaintia rulers. These ancient architects were built with huge granite blocks and placed over similar blocks to make strong bridges over rivers.
Apart from the bridges, temples, royal bathing ghats and other archaeological monuments built by the Jaintia rulers, now lie in ruins strewn in Syndai.
The bridges in Jaintia Hills were first described by JH Hutton in 1925, during his extensive travel in the Northeast as the then Deputy Commissioner. Hutton described the bridge in one of his many tour dairies as: �Very remarkable monuments (and) obviously been too long neglected�� Hutton �strongly recommend(ed)� that these bridges �be declared protected monuments�.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Tourism will engage the Quality Council of India for an independent and objective evaluation of the state of cleanliness specific to each adopted monuments.