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Monday, 31 October 2011

Mawsmai Caves in Meghalaya- Day 5

Fascinating region with age-old traditions, picture-book villages with small houses, beautiful scenery, sweeping views and an excellent network of paths dotted with mountain huts. We came across many trees ablaze with blossom covering the lower slopes. The air was deliciously cool and on each side, mountains rose steeply from deep, narrow and wild ravines. As the road wound up through forest and the car turned at a corner, suddenly we saw green, undulating meadows laid out like a patchwork before us, dotted with tiny huts and framed by mountains. The green grass, small flowers… life here can lull anyone into a peaceful sloth. The splendor of the landscape does not fail to impress... Had there been such a meadow back home, we could have heard the gentle clanging of cowbells in the distance. More meadows before we reached Mawsmai Caves. 







Maw Smai in Khasi language means ‘Oath Stone’ and according to the locals, these caves were discovered by their hunters who hunted down animals living in this cave. Most likely the name comes from one of local megalythic monuments.

Umer


We bought tickets at the counter and went ahead. The caves are open from 9 am to 4.30 pm daily. Mawsmai Caves are just one of more than 200 caves in this area and is comparatively short, approximately 250 metre.

Entrance of Mawsmai Caves

Umer

The main entry to the magnificent limestone cave was fairly narrow and vertical. The first part of the caves was old and well lit. This part had several larger caves. As we moved further, there was the so-called new part which did not have lighting. Inside the caves there was a window opening upwards, with jungle in sight.
Narrow vertical entrance
 

A window opening upwards
 

Once inside the cave, we found large, amphitheatre-like halls with endless galleys connected to similar halls of varying size and shapes. Myriads of stalagmites and stalactites could be seen all over the caves. Some of those formations were covered with special crystals that made them glitter. Some parts of the caves were dark inside, but the cave was well lit by generators and the reflection of light enlivened the internal environs and the caves seemed to radiate a million crystal colours off its walls, stalactites and stalagmites. Some parts of the caves were large enough to facilitate easy movement within them.





Umer sits below a stooping stone where
all of us bumped ours heads


The kilometer-long tunnel through intricate rock patterns was amazing. We had to wade through ankle-deep waters at some parts inside the rocky maze. We could see some careless tourists bumping their heads on the stooping roof. Dim-lit rocks assumed shapes. Some tourists had written their names on the rocks as well.












A window opening upwards, with jungle in sight

Another window upwards




Exit point

Exit
One more thing, people often get confused that Mawsmai Caves are also called as Krem Phyllut, but Krem Phyllut is another, much longer cave nearby.

Umer








We sat on the rocks, enjoying the lovely breeze and had a couple of photographs before leaving the place. We decided to have lunch on the way and left for our next destination Thanghkarang Park, but stopped on the way at Ka Khoh Ramhah to see Bangladesh. Our cellphone network was very quick in catching the signals and I got a welcome message from Bangaladesh network!

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