Trip Report: Meghalaya Adventure Trip

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#31 Dec 27th, 2012, 01:43
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#31
Kapil,

Really enjoying it. I love the clarity of the pictures. By the way Merry Christmas.

Karikor
#32 Dec 27th, 2012, 12:41
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#32
Day 5: 12th December, 2012
Part 1

Today was the caving day. The plan for the day was to have a caving session at Krem Mawmluh (krem=cave). The length of this cave is 7kms, of which we were going to cover 3kms with different entry and exit points. As usual, we were ready by 0815hrs. One of the guys developed a stomach bug and sat out for the day. We asked the hotel manager to get him a cab to the local hospital at 1000hrs so that he could get some medical attention. After all, tomorrow we had a vertical caving lined up and almost half the trip was left.

After we were ready, Men distributed the gear for the day: a bodysuit to keep us warm, wellington boots to keep our feet dry, a helmet and a helmet torch. We had a quick photo-op with the gear and then proceeded to the starting point. The entrance to Krem Mawmluh is located near the Cherrapunji cement factory. I cant remember the exact name, but the factory is hard to miss in the Cherrapunji skyline. There is quite a bit of blasting which is performed near the factory as a result of which, there is a speculation that the cave will cease to exist in another 5 years. Already, we were told, a few sections of the roof had caved in.

Just before the entrance, we had a quick briefing by Men about the rules and techniques for the day. The entrance to the cave is at a height of 4-5ft from the ground level and you have to haul yourself up to that height to enter. It is important to note that since the weather was chilly at the time, our freezing hands hut a lit as we grabbed the rocks for support. I feel gloves could be a bit handy in such a case, but I will leave it to the experts to decide.

Once inside the cave, you are greeted by the jagged walls of the cave. The edges are not sharp, but they tend to look scary. A little inside the cave, we came to a section where we had to pass through knee high water. The water level was just above the height of my wellingtons and I could feel the water trickle in to my boots. The feeling is a bit funny. After a while, the water level was high enough to completely submerge the boots. After crossing this section, we were made to do the hand-pump manoeuvre (not a technical term) to remove the water from our boots.

Further up the cave, we saw a variety of cave formations like stalagmites, stalactites, straws, marbles (95% pure), marbles covered with limestone, calcite formations, cave corals, wall curtains, moon-milk and a few others I cant remember. A little further we came across a section of the cave where we had to crawl through a 1ft gap between the floor and the ceiling. The floor and the ceiling were both uneven and most of us bumped their heads on the ceiling. The total length of this crawl could be about 50ft. We had a break after this section. The crawling does require a lot of effort.

After the crawl we proceeded through vast open spaces to the hanging garden. The walk had a few areas with quicksand and a few areas which were tricky to negotiate due to jagged rocks. The formations could be seen here too. A point worth noting was the amount of garbage in the cave. A major portion of the cave floods every monsoon with water coming in from the surface. This water bring along some of Cherrapunji's finest trash which can be viewed in a few sections of the cave.

Tales from the hanging garden and the rest that lies ahead to be covered in the next part.
Cheers!
#33 Dec 27th, 2012, 14:22
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#33
Nicely written. waiting for the next part
#34 Dec 27th, 2012, 17:07
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#34
Day 5: 12th December, 2012
Part 2

The hanging garden is a room-like area in the cave. The place derives ts name from the numerous stalactites and stalagmites that adorn the place. They can be seen everywhere you pan your view. We had a small photo-op here. After the photo-op, Men said he wanted to show us something different. He made us all sit in different corners of the room and then slowly asked us to shut off our torches. Everyone followed suit.

The result was astounding! The cave was pitch-dark; so dark that my eye hurt. I could feel my pupils stretching, trying to form a vision, but to no avail. And the time now was 1212hrs on 12/12/12: Epic!

We were in this position for almost a minute. We all saw a flicker of light in the distance during this time. The source was a drip-rate meter set up for some scientific study of the cave. From there we moved to another section of the cave which had a small pool. Enroute we passed a small waterfall. No one knew where the waterfall ended.

The pool which we saw was roughly the size of a living room with ice-cold water. We had to get to the other side the pool. Men instructed us to move from the edges and not to venture in the water as it could lead to hypothermia which can further lead to paralysis or death. The water remained in the pool throughout the year and only just flooded over in the monsoons.

After the pool, we made our way to the fossil park of the cave. The rocks in this portion were a part of the sea-bed a few hundred thousand years ago and contain fossils of small life-forms. None of us knew the names of the fossils so we could only give them a blank stare. This was also the area where we found a bat and a spider. This meant the exit was close by.

The cave exit had another crawlspace of about 20ft. The feeling of seeing daylight after a few hours inside the cave is simply awesome. After exiting the cave we had to cross a hill to reach back to the parking spot near the start point. It was here that we realized that we had not gone deeper in to the earth, but had actually climbed up through the earth!

We returned to the Coniferous Resort by 1500hrs, had a quick bath and went to the Halari Restaurant for lunch. The other guy had recovered well through the day and was expected to participate tomorrow. But, I developed a queasy stomach sometime before lunch and a pork cutlet left me a bit tipsy. Some of the guys decided to check out the Cherrapunji market while the rest decided to take a rest. I decided to have tiger biscuits for dinner.

Pics will follow in part 3 as usual.
Cheers!
#35 Dec 27th, 2012, 17:13
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#35
The place opposite Halari, Avron, serves better food especially rotis & Indian dishes.
#36 Dec 27th, 2012, 17:20
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#36
@karikor

Will remember that for my next trip ... a belated merry Christmas to you too ... it must have been awesome in Shilong right?
#37 Dec 27th, 2012, 17:54
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#37
Yeah Christmas was good here. However I figured it was much smaller compared to other years. Else every year we would have a Concert going on till 2am in the morning in the Police Bazaar circle. This year there wasn't any, so most of the celebrations were mostly indoors.

Anyway yesterday I had the pleasure of meeting AmalP from here in Indaimike and his group. They were in Meghalaya for 4 days and are now off to Tawang now.

By the way those staircases to the Double Decker were pretty mean right?
#38 Dec 27th, 2012, 18:12
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#38
Quote:
Originally Posted by karikor View Post By the way those staircases to the Double Decker were pretty mean right?
Mean? ... like I said ... "Huff, Puff, Break, Curse, Repeat!"
#39 Dec 27th, 2012, 18:34
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#39
Haha .... Good one. You must have repeated those lines atleast 2000 times.

Anyway waiting for the Day 5 pics.
#40 Dec 27th, 2012, 21:25
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#40
@karikor

Mate do not underestimate my stamina! ... i just repeated it a 100 times ...
Pics will come soon...
#41 Dec 27th, 2012, 21:46
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#41
Man,

After you have completed your trip report, you shud jot down your reviews on TripAdvisor.in You write welll, so it definitely will be very helpful for many out there. Just type in Meghalaya and walla...
#42 Dec 27th, 2012, 22:16
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#42
Day 5: 12th December, 2012
Part 3A

Pic1: Krem Mawmluh
Pic2: Entering the cave
Pic3: The mouth of the cave
Pic4: Wading through knee deep water
Pic5: Negotiating low ceilings
Pic6: Calcium deposits on the floor
Pic7: An opening in the ceiling
Pic8: Cave marbles - 95% pure

Other pics to follow.
Cheers!
Attached Images
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#43 Dec 27th, 2012, 22:36
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#43
Day 5: 12th December, 2012
Part 3B

Pic9: Fallen portion of the ceiling (background) due to blasting
Pic10: Jagged rocks on the right, quicksand to the left
Pic11: Hollow stalactites are called straws
Pic12: The crawlspace
Pic13: Section of the hanging garden
Pic14: Cave pool
Pic15: Curtain formations
Pic16: Exiting the cave

Tomorrow we go for vetical caving!
Cheers!
Attached Images
9.jpg 10.jpg 11.jpg 12.jpg 13.jpg 14.jpg 15.jpg 16.jpg 
#44 Dec 27th, 2012, 22:43
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#44
Kapil,

You have really outdone yourself with the photos and their description. Bravo. The cave pool reminds me of the Lara Croft Tomb Raider game that came out way back in 1999-2000. Can't wait for tomorrow.
#45 Dec 27th, 2012, 23:07
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#45
Wonderful trip report and beautiful pictures!! I actually look forward every day to read the next installment.
I used to visit Meghalaya many years back, but never knew about the caves. I will now plan a visit just for the caves.
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