Saturday, August 1, 2015

Caving Paradise of India - Meghalaya


And I am back from a pretty long hiatus with today's topic - Caves. 

Normally when Indians hear this word they think of Ajanta and Ellora, art, sketched out stone walls and history. There is no doubt that history of India and caves have had a long colorful and rich connection but did you know India has a very interesting set of naturally etched caves? In the secluded north east corner of our country, amidst the symmetric heights of the Garo-Khasi-Jantia range, draped in slow moving clouds in Meghalaya, are a number of caves carved and guarded by nature. These caves are not famous for some history period or for man-made carvings, but rather for limestone stalagmites and stalactites.


Last year, during my visit to Meghalaya, I did manage to explore one of the many explored caves near Cherrapunjee. Oh yes, there are many unexplored caves too in Meghalaya making it a cavers paradise! The explored caves range from 250m to 6Km while specialists say there are many deeper caves that are yet to be explored. Anyways the one I got a chance to admire is about 750m in total and is called the Mawsmai cave. The cave is a famous tourist spot in Cherrapunjee and it is the only cave that is illuminated for about 250m. During rainy seasons the walls and cave floor glisten with water but during winters, which by the way in the best time for caving in Meghalaya, the cave is not even dangerous and can be navigated easily if you are not claustrophobic. 


Anyways if you guys do plan to visit Meghalaya and want to satiate your adventurous self here is the list of caves in Meghalaya you should visit.
  1. Krem Mawmluh: It is one of the most famous caves of Meghalaya and is close to Cherrapunjee. The entrance is easily found by following a river and the cave is where the river disappears underground. Guess now you can imagine how the cave is! The main sink entrance requires wading through water, which in the dry season turns into black quicksand from the effluents of the cements works. You can also enter the cave through a high level bypass entrance which runs parallel to the main passage. And the reason to visit this cave is the obvious limestone stalagmites and stalactites.
  2. Krem Lymput: About 6 km from Nongjri, this cave is one of the longest in Meghalaya. Though it is classified as an easy cave the entrance is rather small and for about 1 km the walls and ceiling of the cave are loose and slippery to climb. But post that there are a series of spacious galleries which are very rich in calcite formations. The great attraction is here is a camber called the Mughal Room which is more than 25m wide, 25m high, and 75 m long).
  3. Synrang-Pamiang: This cave is situated near Chiehruphi and is known to be the most beautiful natural cave of India. With 14,157 m of surveyed passage, it is currently India's 3rd longest cave. The wet crawl entrance passage leads to about 500 m of very awkward boulder strewn passage which is followed by one of the world’s finest cave passages. This 7.63km long meandering stream-way (Wah Lariang), is probably one of the world's longest single cave passage. The cave is very rich in formations coloured in orange, red, black, grey, blue, green and white. ‘Titanic Hall’ chamber would rank as one of the most beautifully decorated chambers anywhere in the world with ' thousands of large cave-pearls lying scattered on the floor. The cave has five entrances with the other four being Krem Musmari, Thloolong Cherlamet, Krem Eit Hati and Krem Khlieh Trai Lum. [1]
  4. Siju Cave: Also known as the Bat Cave – This cave is about 130 kms from Tura and has many impressive stalagmites and stalactites. It also has a river passage and this is the cave most of the Meghalaya tourism posts or caving in India posters show. This cave is specially known for the spacious chambers that are full of amazing calcite formations. Navigating this cave requires a local guide.
  5. Krem Mawjymbuin: This cave is very close to Mawsynram and hence is a very famous tourist spot. A stalactite and stalagmite formation of the cave bears uncanny resemblance to a Shiva Lingam and as there is a small stream flowing close by the camber resembling Ganga, this cave has become a sacred shrine for Hindus. Due to its popularity and ease of access and navigation, this cave is not only for travelers and adventure junkies but also for tourists.



There are many other caves that one can explore in Meghalaya, but according to me and according to what information I could gather from the locals of Meghalaya, these five are a must visit.

P.S.- All photos used in the post are personal.

11 comments:

  1. Wonderful places to see, especially waterfalls!

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  2. Wow!!! Great place to be.... Thanks for sharing such exotic images......

    Natureram

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    1. Glad you liked the pics and post :)

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  3. Magnificent views of water falls and caves. Definitely a must visit place.

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  4. A very nicely represented blog. I found it very nicely written up and was looking to buy luxurious suite and it was very helpful. It’s an awesome feeling after travelling you get to relax in a luxurious suite .

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  5. Hi ,
    All I can say is hats off to you. The pictures are really amazing. For a minute, I was persuaded to book a trip by next week but sooner realized my damn busy schedule. I’m sure that I’m not going to leave my travel diary without including Meghalaya in it. Thanks for the wonderful post.

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    1. Thankyou so much Asmita...and book your tickets as soon as possible though :D

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