27th December 2012
One of the tourist spots in Bastar district is Kutumsar cave. Situated inside Kanger valley national park, it is about 40 km from Jagdalpur. The last 10km drive is inside Kanger valley national park where permission from forest department is required. That can be easily obtained at the entrance of the park.
The cave is about 350 meters long, 35 meters wide and 55 meters deep. It is a young cave if the date of its discovery is considered!! The world came to know about its existence only in 1993 even though it was formed million of years ago.
We had reached early in the morning but a small queue was already formed in front of the cave. Forest guard asks us to wait until people who had entered before come back. So, only one way traffic is allowed in the cave!! And the entrance did not look big. “Why the hype”, I tell to myself. I think I was expecting a cave as big as 10 storey building!!
But I was awestruck when people started to pop out from the cave. 1,2,3..5….10…20 and soon I lost the count of number of people exited cave!! The cave must be big enough!! The narrow passage at the entrance meant that only limited number of people can go at a time to avoid any confusion or panic inside the cave. Until the group comes out, others need to wait outside the cave.
|Entrance of the cave|
Once guard was convinced that the cave was empty, he let us in. As expected, the entrance of the cave was very narrow. Only one person can bend and enter into the cave. Iron railings are provided at places where we need to get down into the cave. I thought my daughter would get scared but she goes down in a jiffy!! My wife needed some help to get down. But once this initial hurdle is crossed, rest of the journey is plain walk!! It is a big and a long cave. Worth every penny we spent to reach this place.
Tourists are usually accompanied by forest guards who show the path using their torches. It looks like they got fed up with the huge number of tourists during the season. Hence they put few lights running on a generator. Their job now is just to sit and watch people roaming in the cave.
According to information on web and tourist department broacher, the cave is formed of stalactites and stalagmites in various formations. It has resulted in various forms of rock cutting some resembling animals and Gods!!
Since limited numbers of people are allowed inside the cave, you get enough space and time to look into the cave. At the end of the cave is a rock formation attaining the form of Shiva Linga. As expected it is being worshipped and a priest is appointed to take care of it.
|Shiva Linga formation at the end of the cave|
And it is time to move out of darkness. My daughter requires some help to climb back. The queue outside has multiplied several times. It is time to congratulate ourselves for starting early.
In our itinerary was another cave called Kailash which is 30 km away. Maoists have created some trouble there making it out of bounds for tourists.
|Kid in good mood!!|
Note: There is no public transport to the cave and it is best to hire a vehicle to the cave. During peak season start early to avoid long queues in front of the cave.