India’s fourth longest cave mapped in Maghalaya
Much of the cave that has been explored and mapped in Meghalaya over the last 25 years consists of impressive river cave mixed with massive and often richly decorated relic passage along with magnificent clean washed shafts that create cave systems equal in size and beauty to those found elsewhere in the world, maintaining Meghalaya’s status on the world-caving map as a significant caving region.
A cave system in East Jaintia Hills has proven to be far longer than once thought thanks to an expedition of Meghalayan and international cavers undertaken since February.
Krem Sakwa, previously explored up to 520m, has now been measured in length to 5,113m and it is linked to Krem Chympe, thus making the Chympe cave system India’s fourth longest cave at 18,571m. The Krem Chympe system is expected to gain considerable more length as Krem Sakwa is still being explored.
This information was provided by the Meghalaya Adventurers’ Association, which organized the 2017 edition of ‘Caving in the Abode of the Clouds Expedition’ from February 6 to March 2 with the help of the Directorate of Sports and Youth Affairs.
A team of 28 cavers drawn from the UK, Austria, the Netherlands, Romania, Switzerland, Lebanon and Meghalaya explored Krem Chympe from its upper entrance in the village of Sielkan, East Jaintia Hills, and then Mawsynram, East Khasi Hills. Three students and a professor from NEHU also joined in to study and collect samples from Krem Dam.
Overall, the 2017 expedition explored and mapped 13.8km of new cave passages, according to a press release from the MAA.
Another achievement of the expedition was to explore further the length of Krem Puri. Previously explored up to 8,269m, which made it India’s longest sandstone cave, it is now been ascertained to be at least 12,367m, making it one of the longest sandstone caves in the world, if indeed it is truly a sandstone cave and not limestone mixed with sand.
“Krem Puri cave, which is developed as a complex system of mazes, is still ongoing and must remains to be explored,” the release said.
Up to March 2017 the whereabouts of over 1,600 caves and cave locations have been identified in Meghalaya, of which 1,000 have been explored at least partially, with much more still waiting to be discovered, the MAA said.