SHILLONG: Cave research, encompassing the study of speleology and biospeleology, is still in its infancy in India. Although there are thousands of caves in India, research expeditions occur in few states. The Siju Cave of state Meghalaya is the first limelighted natural cave from India.
The Caves of Meghalaya comprise a large number of caves in the Jaintia, Khasi Hills and Garo Hills districts in the Indian state of Meghalaya, and are amongst the longest caves in the world.
Meghalaya Adventurers` Association (MAA) led 27 international cavers upon a 26 – day exploration of Krem Chympe in the village of Sielkan in East Jaintia Hills and new exploration in the Mawsynram and Mawlongbna area as part of the Caving in the Abode of the Clouds expedition 2016. The expedition team was accompanied by two associated scientists from India who conducted ongoing bio-speleological studies of the areas.
While interacting with newsmen, MAA general secretary Brian D.Kharpran Daly said, “Krem Puri is the great find of the expedition. It has been partially explored and surveyed for 8,269 m making it India`s longest sandstone cave delegating Krem Mawtynhiang (3.14km) to second spot.”
“The complexity of the cave is uncharacteristic to the great majority of the Meghalayan caves. Even as the cave is still open for future exploration it would already be considered to be one of the top sandstone caves in the world,” added Brian D.Kharpran Daly
Meanwhile, Krem Lumshken, located close to the Expedition Camp in the Mawlongbna Tourism Guest House, proved to be the second longest cave to be explored this year yielding 3,424 m of cave passage.
The pre – expedition of Krem Chympe during the first week of February, 2016 on the other hand resulted in the mapping of an additional 743 metres of the cave which is India`s sixth longest.
During the expedition three existing and partially explored caves and 33 new caves besides 18.9 kms of new cave passages were explored and mapped.
Featured image(courtesy): Just Shillong