Krem Marai Cave, Meghalaya

The Krem Marai caves of Shillong in Meghalaya lodged in the Jaintia and Khasi are ranked amongst some of the longest caves in the world. Among the 10 largest and longest caves of India, Meghalaya boasts of having 9 of them. Meghalaya has numerous cave systems that are expansive and hidden safely from prying eyes within the core of the Jaintia and Khasi hills. These caves are a product of limestone and calcite deposits and they are now part of the preservation movement to protect them as heritage monuments and prevent them from being poached by mining companies for lime.

Krem Marai is the longest cave in Meghalaya with a documented length spanning up to 427 kilometres up to what has been explored of it. The first exploration tour was led by the British explorer Lt Yule during the days of colonial India and Krem Marai was discovered during that expedition.

However, rampant limestone mining for the cement industry in the vicinity of these caves formed from several aeons of limestone deposits forming precious stalactites and stalagmites remains the major threat to the conservation of these caves. The seventh longest cave in Meghalaya was lost to extreme exploitation of resources in the vicinity for limestone and the damage is irreparable. The caves are also home to an alternate ecosystem hosting many different and rare species of birds, animals as well as plants too. Destroying the caves means destroying natural habitat of indigenous life forms that are native to this alternate ecosystem.

Timings

Krem Marai cave open at Sunrise to Sunset

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