Meghalaya, with its majestic hills, spectacular waterfalls, dense forests and valleys, is considered to be one of the most beautiful states in India. A haven for nature lovers and adventurers, the state is now also home to the longest sandstone cave in the world—Krem Puri.
The cave is 24,583 metres (24.5 km) in length and was discovered in 2016. But its actual length was found during an expedition by the Meghalaya Adventurers’ Association (MAA) to measure and map it between Feb. 5 and Mar. 1 this year, according to a report from Hindustan Times.
The Krem Puri is more than 6,000 metres longer than Cueva Del Saman, a quartzite sandstone cave measuring 18,200 metres in Edo Zulia, Venezuela. “This sandstone cave has also become India’s second longest cave in the general category after the limestone Krem Liat Prah-Umim-Labit system measuring a little over 31km in Jaintia Hills in Meghalaya,” said Brian Daly Kharpran, a recipient of the Tenzing Norgay National Adventure Award in 2002.
The cave is not only a delight to adventurers and cave explorers, it has also begun to attract palaeontologists from across the world. The cave system has fossils of dinosaurs, especially the Mosasaurus, a giant reptile that lived 66-76 million years ago.
The expedition team comprised 30 seasoned cave explorers from the UK, Ireland, Austria, Romania, Switzerland, Poland, the Netherlands, members of MAA, and four Italian scientists from La Venta. The 25-day exploration mapped almost all of Krem Puri, with little leads left open, Kharpran added.
Sandstone caves are not as common as limestone caves because of the high solubility of sandstone. In Meghalaya, the presence of such large sandstone caves is primarily due to the prevalence of calcareous sandstone, which has a small percentage of lime, and the high rainfall.