The hilly terrain and forests of the virgin Kanger Valley National Park, in the epicentre of the tribal Bastar district, house a number of ancient caves. Exploring them can make you feel quite like Christopher Columbus! The Caves are closed during the monsoons and for some time thereafter. They normally open around the time of Bastar Lokotsav. Guides take tourists in and out safely. However, it is advised that children below 8 years, those above 60 years, and those suffering from claustrophobia avoid the Caves. Wear walking shoes with a sturdy grip as the floor is often uneven and occasionally slippery. A nominal entrance fee is charged. This covers the cost of the guide who takes you in and out of the Caves and also provides a torch.
Buried deep in the forest close to the Tiratgarh waterfalls, this underground cave, about 40 km from Jagdalpur, has the most spectacular formations of stalactites (limestone pillars hanging down from the roof) and stalagmites (pillars rising from the ground). Millions of years old, it is deep in a hill, 200 metres long, 35 meters wide and 55 metres deep. If you remember that stalactites and stalagmites are formed drop by drop, and that an inch takes about 6,000 years to form, the huge pillars of the Kanger Caves will leave you speechless. Some of the stalagmites have markings, indicating that they have been worshipped as shivalingams. It is possible to drive right upto these caves.
Kutumsar Cave , Kanger Valley National Park
Access to this subterranean cave near the Tiratgarh waterfalls , about 38 km from Jagdalpur, is by a narrow spiral staircase that descends about 40 feet. As you enter, you realise what the phrase "pitch-dark" means. As your guide holds up a lamp, the stalactites and stalagmites come alive as mystic creations of a master sculptor. Look for a special variety of genetically blind fish here.
This large, spacious, cool cavern is set in a hillock. You have to ascend about 500 steps (a 20 minute climb) to enter the Cave. At the entrance, is an extraordinary rock formation, that gives the effect of a carving, so detailed and symmetrical is it. Inside, stalactites hang down in giant halls, much like chandeliers in a royal palace. The floor is smooth.