The words ‘cave exploration’ instantly brings to mind the caves of Meghalaya and quite understandably so. The stunning caves of the state offer unforgettable experiences. However, people often forget that our diverse country provides these opportunities in other states as well. For those who have tried their hand at caving in Meghalaya and are looking for further opportunities, we have a list for some other structures to look out for:
While caving is generally attempted for the thrill of adventure, there is one other reason people find it fit to explore Kutumsar caves in Chhattisgarh. Formed naturally millions of years ago, this underground cave was discovered only in 1993 in Kanger Valley National Park. At the end of the cave is a Shiva Linga, which is why tourists flock to this cave for religious reasons. The entrance to the cave is narrow and there is hardly any access to natural light just a few steps into the cave. For this reason, it is important to carry headlamps during exploration. The cave is also known for its stalactite and stalagmite formations that are lined on the walls along with slippery patches. To help with the journey, railings are fixed inside. People are sent in batches to avoid commotion of any sorts. You can view various species of frogs and fish.
Though these caves were known to the locals for years, Belum caves were discovered only in 1884 by British Geologist Robert Bruce Foote. Even then, it was only in 1980 that Indian officials along with a German expedition group, set out to explore and map them. In 1988, these caves officially became a protected area. Belum caves offer spectacular views with its intricate black limestone formations, gorgeous sinkholes and even a natural waterfall. The most interesting part of the caves are the Saptasvarala Guha or the chamber of seven notes. The stalactite formations in this part of the cave emit musical sounds when struck by a wooden stick. The caves are currently under the control of Andhra Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation.
Discovered by British geologist William King in 1807, Borra caves in Andhra Pradesh are said to contain stones between 30,000 to 50,000 years old. The caves are very deep and carved through with staircases for visitors to enter. The stalagmite and stalactite formations within take unique shapes which are called by different names by the tourists. Some are known as Shiv-Parvati or Mother-Child. The pathway indoors are lit by halogen lamps for better vision. The caves were naturally constructed and thus, have not been tampered with too much. Additionally, there is a Shiv Linga present within the structure, giving it a religious connection the way many other caves do.
Another location known for its connection to religious roots are the Pandavleni caves situated in Nashik, Maharashtra. A collection of 24 caves, the structures are considered to be a holy place of Hinayana Buddhism. It is believed that this area was once a place where Buddhist disciples would hear sermons and preachings of their teachers. The caves are atop a hill and can be accessed by climbing 250 steps. The more open nature of the structures eliminate the need for adventurous spelunking, however instead provide breathtaking views of the city. The monsoon season is the ideal time to visit these caves. Additionally, Dada Saheb Phalke Smarak, displaying his works is structured on the foot of the hill.