Meghalaya Part 2
It is always a unique experience to travel to a place where there can be some exploration, some kind of adventure, one feels like moving in a totally different world. And to my surprise I visited that kind of place too; i.e. ‘Mawsmai Caves’, which is really very long cave in Cherrapunjee, Meghalaya. We have made it sure that while visiting Cherrapunjee, Meghalaya, we should not miss the opportunity at all when the matter of exploration comes in a way.
On 31st October 2014, while touring with family at Cherrapunjee, we came across about this place, known as Mawsmai Caves. So we planned to make a move to have a glance rediscover the mysterious cave.
Cherrapunjee is a sub divisional town in the East Khasi hills district in the state of Meghalaya, which is 56 kilometers from Shillong. It is located at 4500 feet high above the sea level and as set high above the hazy valleys, amidst the deep gores and foaming rivers hidden in the rolling clouds and perched on a headland. It is credited as being the wettest place on Earth and Cherrapunji is the traditional capital of a hima which is Khasi tribal chieftainship constituting a petty state, as known as Sohra or Churra.
The original name for this town was Sohra, which was earlier pronounced "Churra" and then this name eventually evolved into the current name, Cherrapunjee. The name "Cherrapunjee" which means 'land of oranges' is one of the most picturesque cities in India, where it receives the highest rainfall. The state capital Shillong is often referred to as the 'Scotland of the East,' coupled with the two-tier living 'Root Bridge' at Tyrna village and lush greenery of the Khasi, Garo and Jaintia hills lures the visitors to the natural beauty of the hills. Here a good no. of fountains and green meadows and puffy clouds articulate the tourists. One can spend time comfortably to witness the beauty of waterfalls, creating a picturistic view. Clouds are moving one direction to another way and clash with each other with unique lightening. Beautiful rainbows are created down to the waterfalls. It’s a unique scene created by nature to entertain tourists. It’s nature’s gift to human on the earth. Tourists can have a glimpse of the water falls & clouds through binocular by paying a small charge. Well known Ramakrishna Moth is established in this region at a high altitude. One can avail the opportunity to visit the moth and experience a beautiful view of Cherrapunjee. One can have a good time taking rest in the moth and experience various activities undertaken by moth to extend benefit to the local residents.
Mawsmai Caves –
Mawsmai caves are located at a distance of six kilometers from Sohra market, Cherrapunjee and to the south, the village of Mawsmai lays in the direction of Bangladesh border. This place is mostly called as Krem Mawsmai which means as - ‘Krem’ meaning ‘cave’ in Khasi, and ‘Mawsmai’, meaning as ‘Oath Stone’ is a relatively easy cave for beginners to navigate. The cave is 820 feet long which is lit up with halogen lamps, which are awe-inspiring, spine-tingling and mysterious.
Though the caves are very long but only a distance of 150 meters is open for tourists, while the other section is closed. The caves are made of limestone and the mysterious environment inside that spellbinds the visitors, the moment they enter the caverns. The entrance is well lit, but as one enters further inside, the eeriness and the mystery starts unfolding.
The cave has a spacious opening but it is soon squeezed into a small neck. Seeing this, my mom got so scared that she did not enter into it and even my dad came out from the entrance. But I was not in mood to avoid as I wanted to explore this place as this is a rare opportunity to visit such place and this will be my first ever experience in life. So I entered the cave to explore along with my guide.
The cave is a one way road; means one enters from one end and comes out at other end. There are places in the cave, where visitors need to bend and squeeze themselves out. This place is unusually beautiful and adventurous, but if stuck with a large group then it is not possible for one to move out. And this happened also as one family were entering the cave but when they saw the narrower path to enter, most of them went away as they could not enter due to their size. Hehehehe …… !!!!!
The channel gets narrower after proceeding inside and our walking space got squeezed. The cave is home of various flora and fauna. On the right side of the cave, a narrow channel leads to a blind end. The cave is well lit with lights where visitors need not to carry any candles or lanterns. While at some places, the openings are big enough for a person to just crawl, whereas at other places the roofs are as high as 40 feet! Interestingly, while the entrance is large and roomy, the exit is so small that a full-grown person has to kneel down for coming out into the open area. The most advantage of entering this cave is that we saw each and every details of the rock formation. The colors and patters come so alive that we can interpret different figures as we wish to; and there was a particular figure that resembles the feet of an elephant and I also saw the formation of a sitting person at the high point. The stalactites and stalagmites caves have innumerable forms, shapes and sizes inside leaving people to imagine as many life forms as possible. This magnificent natural wonder is the handiwork of years of natural abrasion and underground water.
The constant dripping of water from the cave roofs and the formation of stalactites and stalagmites, which is a phenomena specially found in limestone caves and where the roof and the floor of the cave joins together to form pillars that adds to the beauty of the place. The rock glitters so much in light and as the water drips continuously from the tip points of the cave. It was so splendid and beyond anyone’s imagination. These limestone caves have the distinction of being the only caves in Meghalaya that enable tourists to enjoy the natural formations in awe. But tiny drops dripping down the glistened lime stone continues to work like a patient artist.
The Mawsmai Caves are a major crowd puller that leaves tourists spellbound and I feel, this as a visual treat and nature’s gift to me. It was a thrilling and magical experience. This was a peek at the underground world; an amazing exploration to the different world It’s a memorable event to me forever. J