Monday, April 22, 2013
Located in between the two tectonic plates Eurasian and Indian, Nepal is blessed with a variation of
landscapes that not only amazes but enthralls in every bit of its earth. Looking at it from technical point
of view it’s the same seismic power that created the Himalayan mountain range, and different cave
structures that root inside making and marking its presence. From the top mountains to the beautiful
hiding gorges Nepal has the highest and deepest point here. To the south is the Terai, a flat tropical
land ascending up trend to the Mahabharat mountain range with peaks of up to 4877m, the climatic
and cultural values varies according to place and time. This is to result lay the wide row of the Central
Hills, an undulating mountain area which builds up to the snow –covered Great Himalayan range. Great
Himalayan summits shape the northern boundary of Nepal in the east towards the west. Nepal extends
beyond the Great Himalayan range to the Trans-Himalayan area which is part of barren plateau. This
impressive complex and vaned features involve the basis of attraction in indefinite variety in Nepal.
Penetrating and rooting below the Caves of Nepal ripple and expose the records of the different
geological and mineralogical eras. These caves offer a place to discover man's most ancient colours,
hidden away for ages in the vast mountains deep beneath variety of wonders. There are many cave
systems that which were accidentally discovered by normal people while engaging in their works. Simple
explorations of these caves have discovered internal passages. So additional survey by professional
people may bring many more marvels awaiting discovery.
Located at Chobhar Kritipur municipality, Manjushree caves is one of the common caves that lie in the
southern part of Kathmandu Valley. The Manjushree Cave is related with an interesting legend of the
origin of Kathmandu Valley. Manjushree Cave has a total length of 1250m long, although only 350m of
the cave is open to visitors. One has to pay an entrance fee to explore the cave. There are five routes
which have been opened at present. These routes converge at different points, so it is possible for
visitors to enter from one point and to exit from another point. There are three entrance points; one is
the main entrance and the others are Bagh Gufa and Naya Gufa. ('Gufa' means cave in Nepali). There are
two small ponds inside the cave. The first pond is Mahadev Pond which is 40.3m from the main entrance
and the other is Naya Pond which is about 60m from main entrance.
The need of the hour is to explore fully these caves and inventory to be prepared protected with a view
of protecting unique mineralogical, geological and touristic interests. Among the infinite number of
caves in Nepal firstly attractive and beautiful is Chamero odar or Mahendra Gufa in Pokhara. Mahendra
Gufa which is located 200km from Kathmandu that gives you a good idea of the richness and its
importance of limestone Caves. Mahendra Gufa consists two kilometer that is bifurcated at one point
leading to two dark holes, the limestone walk of which bear innumerable stalagmites and stalactites.
This cave has an icicle –like pendant of calcium carbonate formed by evaporation of water percolating
through lime stone on a roof and also an upward growing conical formation on the floor formed by the
lick from the roof.
Similarly, other caves in the western region of Nepal like Gupteswar Gufa in Kusma which is 457 in long,
Pandusera Gufa in Sinja, Dhara Village in Jumla. Jumla is in the mid-western region of Nepal. The mid-
western region of Nepal stretches from Chure Himal and Rapti river in the east to Karnali river in the
west. It embraces trans –Himalayan regions of Dolpa, Mugu and Jumla in the north to the Terai's fertile
valleys of Dang and Rapti in the south. There is an interesting cave in Jumla at Dhara Village and it is a
cave containing many kinds of formations in the roof as well as walls particularly stalactites formations.
Another cave lies at the northern corner of the Dang Valley and is popularly known as Chamero Gufa. It
can be reached in about four hours walk from Tulsipur. The name of this cave is attached with a flying
mammal which are noticed everywhere within the cave.
Another equally interesting cave is on the slope of the Bandipur hill. This cave is 103 meter long and it
can be reached after half an hour's walk uphill from Bimaltar, a roadside shopping centre located on the
bank of the Marshyangdi river on Prithvi Raj Marg Highway (Kathmandu) Pokhara road.
There is another sacred caves in Khembalung which are regarded holy both for the Hindus and
Buddhists. This cave is located in Makalu –Barun National Park and conservation area. It is situated in
the Eastern Himalaya to the east of Sagarmatha National Park. The name of Makalu –Barun National
Park is derived from Mt. Makalu (8463 m) –the world's fifth highest peak at the northern borders of
Nepal. The scared caves described above have images of gods and goddesses and so sacred for worship
both by the Hindus and Buddhists.
In 2007 a team co-led by U.S. researcher and Himalaya expert Broughton Coburn and veteran
mountaineer Pete Athans scaled the crumbling cliffs on a mission to explore the human-made caves.
Inside the caves, the team found ancient Tibetan Buddhist shrines decorated with exquisitely painted
murals, including a 55-panel depiction of Buddha's life. Similarly, in 2009, the 15th-century religious
texts and wall paintings were found in caves carved into sheer cliffs in the ancient kingdom of Mustang.
Few have been able to explore the mysterious caves, since Upper Mustang is a restricted area of Nepal
that was long closed to outsiders.
Cave system of Nepal hold rich values of traditional, historic and cultural aspect that cannot be
marginalized. Proper management, exploration and research are the need of time where due to lack
of attention, cave robbers are destroying the artifacts. This can not only be a big attraction for tourism
but can be an eye opener from the culture point of view. Thus, these caves should be fully explored and
inventory to sum up in order to gain full knowledge of the formation of these caves.