The Caves Of Meghalaya
by Tony Oldham
Meghalaya means The Abode of the Clouds. It is a north eastern state bordering Bangladesh in the south and Asam in the north, it is reputed to be the wettest place on earth but is also a land of caves, with more than 500 according to B.D. Kharpan Daly, General Secretary of the Shillong based Meghalaya Adventurers Association which was formed in 1990. One reason for the abundance of caves could be the heavy rain in the region reacting with the limestone deposits. He claims with confidence that the figure would go up to 1000.
The Meghalaya Adventurers Association have organised a tour to the following caves. This package covers of all aspects of the tour from the point of checkout at Borjhar Airport on arrival till the point of check-in for departure. Specialised guides receive the groups on arrival equipped with snacks, cold drinks and beverages along with mineral water in well appointed vehicles. Food, accommodation and transport for the whole stay is covered. The pattern of the stay during the tour is as follows: Syndai (3 nights); Lumshnong (4 nights); Cherrapunji (3 nights); SIJU (5 nights).
For details contact: B.D. Kharpan Daly, General Secretary, Meghalaya Adventurer's Association; c/o Hotel Centrepoint Shillong. Phone Number: 91-364-225210 and Fax: 91-364-225293
Caves in East Khasi Hills
Cherrapunjee (Sohra) - 56 km from Shillong, the capital of Meghalaya, situated in one of the rainest rain belt in the world, 1,300 meters above sea level. A pleasant drive to see roaring water falls leaping into deep gorges, including the famed Nohsngithiang falls. The lovely town is also famous for its limestone caves and orange honey. Centre of Khasi culture and literature, it also has the oldest Presbyterian Church and also an establishment of the Ramkrishna Mission.
Caves in Jaintia Hills
Jowai, the headquarters of the Jaintia Hills district is situated 64 kms from Shillong, along the Shillong-Silchar national highway. A picturesque town circled by the majestic Myntdu river. In the village of Lumshnong, 60 kms from Jowai there are numerous caves. South of Jowai, there are caves in the villages of Amlarem, Pdengshakap, Syndai and Nongtalang. Syndai village is dotted with a number of caves which were used as hide-outs during the war between the Jaintia kings and the foreign intruders.
Caves in the South Garo Hills
The Garo Hills are known for their abundant wild life. Two mountain ranges- the Arabella range and the Tura range, passage through the Garo Hills, forming the great Balpakram Valley in between. The capitol is Tura, 323 km from Guwahati, at an altitude of 657 m. The highest point is Nokrek Peak, 1.412 m.
Tura has a picturesque landscape of hills against a backdrop of low lying plains, with the mighty river Brahmaputra making sweeping curves as it flows towards Bangladesh.
Balpakram is a National Wild Life Park, about 167 km from Tura, also known as the "Abode of Perpetual Winds". It is believe that here, the spirits of the dead dwell temporarily before embarking on the final journey.
Text by Tony Oldham (2003). With kind permission.
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