EuroSpeleo 2016 Sessions

Caving in the Abode of the Clouds, Meghalaya, NE India 2016

Session code: OE44

Oral / Exploration, Main EuroSpeleo Conference

Mr Simon Brooks


Meghalaya a small state situated in North East India has much limestone plus a warm and very wet climate that results in many fine caves. Something of a novelty in a subcontinent that was once considered devoid of any significant caves. Over the last 24 years, 27 predominantly multi-national expeditions have explored just over 1,000 of the known caves to yield over 455 kms of cave passage.

This lecture, followed by a slide/sound sequence gives and insight into the Landscapes, Karsts, Cultures and Quirks of Meghalaya along with a concise overview of the exploration from 1992 to 2015.

The most recent 2016 expedition saw a multi-national team of up to 27 cavers, based initially in the Sielkan Area deep within the forests in the Jaintia Hills and then for the main part of the expedition in the Mawsynram/Mawlongba Area of the West Khasi Hills. Across these two areas the team explored and mapped another 18.2 kms of excellent Meghalayan Cave. In the Sielkan Area the stunning river cave, Pielklieng-Sielkan Pouk was extended to 13.3 kms. In the Mawsynram/Mawlongbna Area Krem Puri was explored for 8.3kms and is ongoing, establishing it as the Indian Sub-Continents longest Sandstone Cave and the 2nd and possibly the longest Sandstone Cave in the world. This and other finds clearly indicated that Meghalaya Sandstone Areas have as much to offer as its Limestone Area.

Bio-Speleological work was ongoing by members of the team finding new Bat species. In addition find out about ‘best tea shop in Meghalaya’ and why trucking and caving are a good mix.