Kanger Valley National Park.
38 km from Jagdalpur.
|Dimension:||L=1,371 m, A=560 m asl.|
|Guided tours:||D=60 min, L=330 m, VR=35 m.|
|Address:||Kutumsar Gufa, Tel: +91-, Fax: +91-,|
|As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
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|1951||discovered by tribals who were hunting a porcupine and followed it inside the cave.|
|1958||discovered by geographer Shankar Prasad Tiwari.|
|2011||additional chamber discovered and explored.|
Kutumsar Gufa (Kutumsar Cave) is really astonishing. Being 330 meters long, it is the longest natural cave of the world! Having in mind that the longest cave of the world is Mammoth Cave in the U.S.A., which is some 572 kilometers long, we really giggled when reading this. There are numerous sources on the web about this cave, most seem to be copies of the same unintentionally funny text.
Other texts are obfuscating the cave description further. One is talking about "India's first and the world's seventh underground cave" (we can only imagine they talk about length) and tells the cave was 35 m below ground level and 1,371 m long. Another text calls it "the world's second longest natural caves", but we have no idea what they mean when they talk about "several blind wells". Another text, also calling it the second longest natural cave in the world, claims its length to be 330 m. One says "Kotumsar Caves are the caves which are about 2 km (1 mi) deep" and despite the fact that the conversion rate between kilometers and miles is somewhat strange, we are sure the caves are not that deep, we guess they also talk about the length.
But the most funny story tells about the lack of oxygen deep inside the cave, as the reason for access restrictions. There are various reasons for such a dangerous situation, normally a high amount of carbon dioxide which forms "lakes" in lower sections. This may happen in karst caves, but is extremely uncommon. Long time ago there was an accident with people suffocating in a cave in India, which very well may be an Indian urban legend, but makes visitors and cave management equally nervous. Many show caves in India have unnecessary ventilation systems.
At the end the facts about the cave in which most sources agree are feeble. The cave is open only on guided tours by National Park guards, self guided tours are not possible. The guides provide lamps, but it is recommended to bring your own. The guides take visitors in their 4WD to the parking at the cave entrance. From here stairs lead up to the cave entrance in the hillside and inside are more steep steps, so sturdy shoes are advisable. The cave seems to be rather high but often narrow, and the tour visits five subsequent chambers with good acoustics. There are cave lakes containing blind fish and frogs.
The area is populated by indegneous people which are called tribal people. They know the cave for a long time and have several legends about the cave. At the end of the cave is a characteristic stalagmite which is revered by tribals as a Shiva Lingam, a phallic sybol of Lord Shiva.