India’s deepest shaft cave discovered in Meghalaya
Barely a year after the discovery of the world’s longest sandstone cave Krem Puri in Mawsynram region of Meghalaya’s East Khasi Hills district, now a cave with the deepest shaft in the country has been discovered.
The discovery was made during the 28th edition of the annual ‘Caving in the Abode of the Clouds Expedition’ that took place between February 3 and 28. It began with a recce by a five-member team of cavers of the Meghalaya Adventurers’ Association (MAA) at Laitsohum village, which focussed on completing survey of Krem Puri.
In the process, Krem Um Ladaw that has the deepest shaft in the country was discovered, said Brian Daly Kharpran the founding general secretary of MAA. “Though located on the valley floor, Krem Um Ladaw yielded an astonishing 105m deep shaft entrance passage,” he said.
Krem Puri, which at 24,583 metres, is acknowledged as the longest sandstone cave in the world, has now been further extended by another 459 m to top the cave at 25,042 metres.
The milestone of this year’s expedition was the 503 km of cave passage explored and mapped in Meghalaya, with much more still waiting to be discovered said Kharpran, a recipient of the Tenzing Norgay National Adventure Award in 2002.
This year’s expedition had a team strength of 30 cavers from the UK, Ireland, Austria, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Serbia and members of the MAA.
The main expedition team concentrated its efforts in the area of Muallian in East Jaintia Hills. From February 11 to 28 they explored and mapped 8 new caves including a revisit to Krem Shrieh (Tangnub). Krem Shrieh which was earlier explored in the year 2000 was now extended from 8,713m to 9,844m.
The other major caves explored and mapped are Retdung Khur 3724m, Tui Khur Lut 2185m and Kellung Puk 788m. Overall the 2019 expedition explored and mapped 12.3 kms of new cave passage.
Till date the whereabouts of about 1,700 caves and cave locations are known in Meghalaya of which over 1000 have been explored or partially explored.
“Most of the caves that have been explored and mapped in Meghalaya over the last 28 years consists of impressive river cave mixed with massive and often richly decorated relic passage. These caves have magnificent clean washed shafts that create cave systems equal in size and beauty to those found elsewhere in the world,” Kharpran said.