February 21, 2019
Spelunker’s delight, world’s longest cave
MEGHALAYA, INDIA - The world's longest cave in sandstone was recently discovered in India's north-eastern state of Meghalaya.

"If you get lost inside, you may never be able to find your way out," warns Brian Kharpran amiably, jabbing his finger at the unkempt entrance of a sinister-looking cave.

After trekking downhill for nearly an hour through a forest's mossy trees and plants, we are at the mouth of Krem Puri, which translates from the local Khasi language to Cave Fairy.

At 4,025ft above sea level and overlooking a deep valley, the opening is at the base of a steep cliff. The cave is 15 miles long and covers an area twice the size of Gibraltar - in lush green Mawsynram, reputed to be the wettest place on Earth.

Up until February, the Imawari Yeuta in Venezuela was the world's longest such cave.

Mr Kharpran, a remarkably agile 71-year-old banker, knows a thing or two about caves. He has been discovering them for more than a quarter of a century in this hilly, rain-drenched state.

When he began exploring in 1992, there were a dozen known caves in Meghalaya.

Twenty six years and 28 expeditions later, he and a 30-strong international team of cavers, geologists, hydrologists, biologists and archaeologists have discovered more than 1,650 caves in the state. Meghalaya is now known to be home to some of the world's most complex cave systems; and has more caves than any other place in India, the BBC reported.

Story Date: April 16, 2018
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