Monday, May 14, 2007

Spelunking-travails of the naive cavers

Spelunking is the right word to use here for people like us. It conveys the idea of inexperienced cavers who use unreliable light sources(we had torches) and cotton clothing(we wore dumb). The following are some of the images of our trips into the hinterland of a national park in Chattisgarh where we explored three caves-Kutumsar, Dandak and Mahesh. The surreal thing about the entire experience was, more than the claustrophobia faced inside the bat-dunk stenched dark nocturnal stuff slithering narrow openings was the climb towards reaching those caves. We burnt more 'calories and skin' hiking towards those caves; that gives more than an indication of the kind of pizza ridden unhealthy life we city dwellers live.Puff Puff...

Most of the images are hazy and blurred here cause it was pitch dark and we had to focus our torches while clicking em while sitting,crawling, bending over at the weirdest of poses...

The Damocles Sword(The stalactites formed over centuries from the dripping of calcium minerals.)

Imagery of a Column(Given enough time, these formations can meet, resulting in a formation known as a column)

Tower of Babel(Stalagmite formed from the constant drip of the stalactites..they extend from the ground and move upwards.)

Entry view(The entrance leading to the Dandak cave inner well.Looks larger in camera whereas one has to slither thru to make it)

Trap-door shut(My friend and our driver almost got stuck trying to come out of it)

Sigh of relief(The air we breathe after the treacherous crawling is so sweeet)

From the House of Wax( Miss Hilton, get scared at least :P)

I like this one...

Boys will be Boys(Ani will neva learn, wants to go deeper down the hell hole)

Stuck in the middle(Nowhere to go for poor Ani :-) least he has air to breathe)

Finally air to breathe(The feeling of fresh air has no substitute.The air is so thin deep inside that you don't even wanna waste energy talking)

Second time coming(Ani and Deepak(our driver) are all geared to re-enter one more cave.If you notice, the small opening is the only way to enter the hallowed Kutumsar cave..we took this pic thinking this might be our Blair Witch moment before we get lost down the hell-hole)

Sidelined View(The last trace of light next to the entrance before we succumb to the eternal darkness...)

Some of the largest stalactite columns we came across

Solar Eclipse(Focussing our torches on a circular formation here)

Scary as it comes(The focus of the two torches helped us here)

Stalactite and Stalagmites intertwined(A rare pic though hazy; one can see a raised column and a sun-flame shape of the protruding stalactite)

And quiet flows the Don(The cave leads to a rivulet)

The darkest corner(Snaps of Mahesh cave, even the torches don't work much here.Plus there are too many bats for comfort)

Sigh...there it all ends(Of all my jaunts,this 'caving' thing has by far been the most memorable. In case any of you want to make a trip please include me, I will do anything for one for a trip to those pre-historic caves!!!)