The world’s longest sandstone cave named Krem Puri was recently discovered in Meghalaya. It has a staggering length of 24.5 km, almost three times the height of Mount Everest, and contains some dinosaur fossils from 66-76 million years ago as well.
‘Krem’ means ‘cave’ in Khasi language. The cave system which is 24,583 metres long was discovered in near Laitsohum village, located in the Mawsynram area in Meghalaya’s East Khasi Hills district.
Though Krem Puri had been discovered in 2016 itself, its actual length was mapped only recently when the Meghalaya Adventurers’ Association (MAA) took a 25-day expedition to this end.
The dinosaur fossils in the longest sandstone cave in the world include those of the Mosasaurus, believe palaeontologists. It was a carnivorous aquatic lizard that resided on Earth around 66-70 million years ago.
The previous world record holder in the longest sandstone cave category was Venezuela’s Cueva Del Saman in Edo Zulia. This is an 18,200-metre (18.2km) long quartzite sandstone cave.
Meghalaya is also home to India’s longest cave in the general category – the Krem Liat Prah-Umim-Labit limestone cave system located in Jaintia Hills. It measures over 31 km in length.
Krem Puri is now the second longest cave system in the general category after this.
The 25-day expedition by the Meghalaya Adventurers’ Association was carried out by a team of four Italian scientists from La Venta, 30 experienced cave explorers from UK, Ireland, Austria, Romania, Switzerland, Poland, the Netherlands, and the rest of the members from MAA.
This expedition, which took place from February 5 to March 1, 2018, explored almost the entirety of Krem Puri. Only a few leads have been left open.
The North-Eastern Indian state of Meghalaya is renowned for its complex cave systems underneath the many hills. It has more than 1650 known caves and cave locations of which 1000 have been partially or fully explored. Official data says 491 kilometres of caves have been already surveyed while many more remain to be explored.
There are so many cave systems in Meghalaya located in the areas of Cherrapunjee, Shella, Pynursla, Nongjri, Mawsynram and Langrin, that the explored caves amount to only five percent of the total caves in the state.