Of all the caves in Meghalaya, including the longest cave system of India are situated in the Jaintia Hills. Mawsmai cave is by far the most accessible cave for many travelers as it is one of the few caves one can explore without a guide. It is just a small introduction to the world of caves and underground adventure, which in itself is another big world that requires a specialty.
Just about 6km from the main town Cherapunji, and after driving through golden field of autumnal grassland, we could finally see a small groove on a hill; Mawsmai caves lay hidden beneath these trees.
We came to halt at a lavish parking space lined on both sides by shops. There’s a ticket counter just before taking the steps to the cave site.
The cave has a spacious opening but it soon squeezed into a small neck. The cave is a one way road- enters from one and goes out the other. In the middle, there are places where you've to bend and squeeze yourself out. As beautiful and adventurous as it was it can be a bit suffocating, if stuck with a large group. The channel gets narrower and our walking pace slowed down. There was no going back; there was no fast way forward. There was fat lady in front of us. She had a hard time fitting into one of those smaller openings. All she needed was a bit of athleticism, which was too much to ask from her fat laden body. After few painful trials, she couldn't take it anymore. She created a human-jam in the cave. It was very unpleasant.
The cave is well lit with electricity. You don’t need candles or lanterns. Somehow it takes away the adventure and the uncertainty of wading unknown path, which is what it should be. One advantage of entering a well lit cave is that you can see each and every details of the rock formation. The colors and patters come alive and you can interpret different figures as you wish to. There was this particular figure that resembles the feet of an elephant.
Rocks glint in the light. Water dripped from the tips. It’s difficult to imagine, how a force of nature so insignificant can dictate the forms of such hard stones. It was a splendid display of the force of nature. The change however, is so insignificant that if I go back after 10 years I’ll see no significant change. But tiny drops dripping down the glistened lime stone continues to work like a patient artist.
The cave is home to various flora and fauna and makes a good home for bats and insects. On the right side a narrow channel leads to a blind end. It widens into a much bigger room like structure also known as the double storied. The whole length of the cave is just 150m. So it is nothing like a big adventure but people take more than I thought they would. I’ve heard many people saying that it was the most interesting sightseeing they had ever done. People are more used to visual treats like waterfall and pristine forest. This was an unexpected treat. A peek at the underground world; something we’ll remember forever.