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'Golden cave' to boost Meghalaya tourism

‘Golden cave’ to boost Meghalaya tourism

The cave in Meghalaya. Picture by Banbitlang Marbaniang

Shillong: Meghalaya, a place known for its scenic beauty, is home to some of the country’s majestic caves. Now, they have a “golden cave” as well.

Krem Liat Prah, Krem Puri, Krem Mawsmai, Siju, Krem Mawjymbuin and Krem Kotsati are some of the renowned caves found in the enchanting Khasi, Jaintia and Garo Hills.

In the village of Jalaphet, lies a newly discovered cave which awaits promotion to a tourist destination.

Jalaphet, a village situated 15km away from the district headquarters, Khliehriat (East Jaintia Hills), comprises two villages, Jalaphet Bri-Sutnga and Jalaphet Bri-Sumer.

In March, the villagers discovered the cave in one of the forested areas of the village known as Rynsong. The villagers found out that there were two more caves in that particular area. The discovery has been revealed now only.

The word krem means cave in the local Khasi language.

The stones inside the cave appear golden and hence, the villagers have named the cave Krem Ksiar or golden cave.

“We did not know that there were some more caves in the village. There were some fishermen from the village who went to areas nearby the caves. When they found out about the caves, they brought it to the notice of the villagers and elders. It was during the month of March that Krem Ksiar was discovered,” Jalaphet (Bri-Sutnga) headman Womly Chyrmang told The Telegraph.

He also said the two villages will hold a meeting and approach the tourism department to develop the cave into a tourist destination.

Stating that most of the people in the village are jobless after the ban on coal mining by the National Green Tribunal, Chyrmang said, “We not only want to promote tourism in the area but also employment opportunities for the villagers, especially the youths,” he said.

“The cave is beautiful indeed, it looks as if it is lit-up with gold,” said the headman. He added, “This place is sure to attract tourists.”

Hynniewtrep National Youth Front (HNYF) general secretary, Jalaphet circle, Damechwa Syrti, said experts were welcome to explore the cave.

“There are many youths from the village who are pursuing their studies in tourism and in a year or two, they are going to complete their courses. If the government gives us a chance, then there would be many who would fit as officers in the department of tourism. Many of our youths are working outside, if the government provides us with opportunities, we are always ready,” he added.

Serial Syrti, a young boy from the village, said one day he heard a bird chirping near the cave and it was then that he first discovered it.

He and his friend ventured inside the unexplored cave and were amazed at what they saw. “After this, we called our friends and went back. This time we went to the extreme ends of the cave where we could also find water, but the cave does not end there,” he said.

Till date, all the three caves are being managed by the villagers and support from the government through the tourism department would definitely boost the cave tourism in the area.