Discover the breathtaking caves of Meghalaya, home to some of the longest and deepest caves in the world. These natural wonders are spread across the Jaintia, Khasi Hills, and Garo Hills districts. In fact, Meghalaya boasts the top nine longest and deepest caves in India, with the tenth situated in Mizoram. The caves vary in size, with Krem Liat Prah in the Jaintia Hills measuring a staggering 30,957 m (101,600 ft) long. Interestingly, the local Khasi language translates the word “Krem” to “cave.”
The Caves of Meghalaya provide a perfect blend of scientific exploration and recreational activities. There are numerous partially explored and unexplored caves in the state, providing a wealth of opportunities for adventure. The Meghalaya Adventurers Association (MAA) organizes annual caving expeditions as part of their “Caving in the Abode of the Clouds Project.” However, these caves face a constant threat from the limestone mining industry, as they are primarily located in limestone formations.
Among the many natural wonders that Meghalaya has to offer, the caves of the state stand out as one of the most spectacular and fascinating features of the region. The state is home to some of the most popular caves in India, which attract thousands of tourists every year. In this article, we will explore the most popular caves of Meghalaya.
Mawsmai Cave, located just a short distance from Sohra, is a must-visit attraction that offers easy accessibility and an unforgettable cave exploration experience. While some passages may require squeezing and crawling, this only adds to the thrill of exploring the cave. The tourist-accessible route in Mawsmai Cave is both safe and not very long, making it a unique opportunity that should not be missed. In addition to its stunning limestone formations, the cave is also home to a variety of fossils that can be spotted by carefully examining the walls and formations inside.
Mawsmai Cave offers a fascinating glimpse into the subterranean world beneath our feet. The approach to the cave is pleasant, with a short walk through a densely forested area filled with the cheerful chirping of birds and the soothing sounds of insects. After visiting the cave, many travelers enjoy taking a relaxing stroll through the surrounding forests or simply taking in the natural beauty of the area.
Krem Mawmluh Cave
Krem Mawmluh Cave is a fascinating maze cave located just 3.5 km away from Cherrapunji Bus Stand in the small hamlet of Mawmluh, Meghalaya. This prominent cave is a must-visit attraction in Cherrapunji and is the fourth longest cave in the Indian subcontinent, measuring 7.2 km in length. Krem Mawmluh has several entrances and was formed at the junction of an early Eocene dolomite and sandstone formation, which has created unique calcite formations and massive caverns.
Although the entrance is narrow and requires some squeezing to get inside, exploring the waist-deep pools and passages of the cave is a unique experience. However, some areas of the cave can be completely submerged in water during the monsoon season. Only a quarter of the cave receives sunlight, with the rest remaining shrouded in darkness. It typically takes 3-4 hours to complete the round trip. It is important to note that the atmosphere inside the cave can be dizzying, so individuals with acute respiratory disorders are advised to avoid visiting Krem Mawmluh Cave.
Krem Liat Prah Cave
Krem Liat Prah, the longest natural cave in South Asia, is a must-visit attraction in Meghalaya’s East Jaintia Hills district. As one of the approximately 150 known caves in the Shnongrim Ridge, Krem Liat Prah (Krem meaning “cave” in Khasi) is a popular spot for spelunkers and caving enthusiasts. It is also worth noting that the length of the cave is likely to increase as it is connected to several nearby caves in the area.
Once you enter Krem Liat Prah, you’ll be immediately captivated by the stunning wilderness and the chance to explore the depths of the Earth. Be sure to take in the milestone plateau of the state in all its glory. One of the most distinctive features of this cave is the Aircraft Hangar, a massive transit trunk that stands out among other natural formations.
Siju Cave, also known as Bat Cave, is an intriguing limestone cave system located near Naphak Lane and Simsang River game reserve in the South Garo Hills District of Meghalaya. As the third longest cave system in India, stretching over 4,772 meters (15,656 feet), it offers a unique visual experience that will capture the imagination of anyone who visits. Despite most of the cave being filled with water and inaccessible, it remains one of the most thoroughly researched and explored cave systems in Meghalaya.
Entering the Siju Cave is like entering the belly of the earth, as you watch the light from the outside world gradually fade into a speck. The limestone hills of Meghalaya receive a lot of rainfall and moisture, and many cave systems exist within them. Siju Cave is among the best-known systems and boasts of unique formations that will leave you spellbound. The cave is home to many bats, hence the name ‘Bat Cave’, and you can also follow some of the underground streams that are clear and unpolluted. There are several ponds and waterfalls within the cave system that will leave you in awe.
Arwah Cave is one of the most renowned caves in Meghalaya that is accessible to tourists. A major attraction of this cave is the fossils that are visible in the illuminated interiors, especially towards the end of the cave. In addition to its historical significance, Arwah Cave will mesmerize you with its numerous twists and turns, and narrow passageways that lead to other sections. The cave features underwater streams that have been flowing through the ancient formations for thousands of years.
The path leading to Arwah Cave is visually stunning and passes through thick vegetation, carved aesthetically to enhance its beauty. At one point, the path passes through the side of Lawshynna Hill, offering amazing views of the waterfall and the surrounding valley. You can relax at the seating area near the path while enjoying the breathtaking scenery.
Mawjymbuin Cave, also known as Krem Mawjymbuin, is a natural cave made up of calcareous sandstones located in Mawsynram village in the Khasi Hills, which is around 60 kilometres away from Meghalaya’s capital, Shillong. The cave, towering at 209 meters high, is a must-visit for tourists due to its stunning beauty and serene surroundings.
The cave is famous for several stalagmites, which are formed due to weathering, calcium carbonate deposition, and dripping of mineral-enriched liquid. The most attractive feature of the cave is the natural and accurate formation of the Hindu deity, Shiva Linga structure. The formation is a result of a giant pillar formation and is held in very high regard. The Shivlinga is constantly bathed in water issuing from a stalactite that is shaped like a cow’s udder, making it unique.