The team which will be going to visit the ‘cave’ constituted a total of seven members. Earlier when I visited the “Thanlon Cave”, there was not camera in my hand. Since I was handed with a camera this time, I could capture many memorable pictures and considering this, it thrilled me. Also, in thinking that what would the cave looks like, my mind was filled with curiosity. According to villagers, the cave which we would be visiting is a beautiful one and I also have a strong feeling that it must be looking adorable. I had decided to visit the place because I want to construct a worth story out of it.
For reaching the cave, one has to step down along the hill from the Namkalong Village. Just after starting the journey, everyone was reeling under the hot sunlight. With the belief that we have to visit and explore the place against all odds, everyone continued heading towards the cave. As rain had showered in the last night, everyone was walking carefully as the road along was somewhat slippery. After walking continuously from atop the hill for around one hour, I started feeling tired. In between we halted at a shed which we found along the way and by having tea and roasted maze at there, we took rest for a while. May be of the tiredness and hunger I felt that time that I found the taste of the roasted maze very delicious. I think I will always remember the taste of it in my entire life.
After resting for a while, we headed further for the place. Indeed the cave is situated far away from the village. Again, we have to walk for around one hour. Since the passages nearby the cave were not visited frequently by villagers, it was found very bushy. The road way was also very muddy due to the rain showered last night. Then after covering certain distance, one of the villagers which headed the team for the trip said, “We have reached the cave”. Seeing at it, I found the appearance of the cave totally contradict with the one I speculate before coming here. The passage which leads inside the cave was like a gorge with heavy force of water running over it. When looking down, I could not see any land instead the surface was covered with big and vast black-coloured stone. While I was in a surprising state of mind looking at the passage, one of the villagers said, “For getting inside the cave, we have to climb down up to the gorge with the help of rope”. After hearing his words, it seems that my pulse has stop beating, it was like a dream. It could have been another thing if we are equipped with torch, rope and other needful instruments like the one see in Discovery channel. We were not accompanied with any of the needful equipment.
Who will take the responsibility if any casualties happen! And, what will I answer if the media house back home said, “Why you have went alone to see it?” Thinking all this my mind was putted into a puzzled. At that time, I was thinking of returning back to the village without exploring the cave. Then, while everyone was in a dilemma in thinking the danger and risk prevails for getting inside the cave, some among the villagers said, “Apart from this, there is another way for getting inside it. Let’s go from that way”. Looking at my expression, one of the villagers said, “Oja Dhana, do not panic. The other gateway is not too high”. There was in my mind that we must surely explore the place as the team have come a long way for seeing it. At the same time, everyone was also reeling under hot sunlight. Since I decided that I should bring at least 2-3 photos of the cave, I also agreed to be one part of the team for going through the other gateway. Then, the team together headed further up to the place. After passing a hill, we then reached the gateway of the cave. Like they have told, it was found little shorter than the previous one. After getting inside through it, we came across a big tree standing tall with its thick branches. Then, to the branches, we placed some bamboo in horizontal manner. There, we were supposed to get inside the cave by climbing down the tree through the laid bamboo. For me, it was a challenging task as there was full of hard rocks down the surface.
If I do not take extra care while climbing down, who knows I may suffered paralyse by falling down from it!
In the process, everyone started climbing down through the laid bamboo one by one by holding the tree tightly. As my turn come, after praying to almighty I also started walking through the bamboo. The shirt which I recently brought also got very dirty in performing the task. At that time, I decided that from next time whenever I visit any cave, I would not wear any new clothes. After putting much effort, at last the team reached inside the cave. There was much difference in temperature inside and outside the cave as inside it was cold. Inside, we noticed that water used to flow making river storm like sound. Talking about the cave, above, left or right whenever one took a glance at it, all are made up of stone. Also, we saw through the wall of the cave, water used to drop slowly and continuously. Inside it, we felt that the wave of the water flow made everyone afresh. Since the team was feeling tired and thirsty due to the prolonged walk in coming to the place, everyone started drinking water from the water flow of the cave itself. Interestingly, one of the villagers was seen fetching pure water in a bottle which was dropping through the hollow part of the cave. I also drank it and I found that it taste very good. In between the rest by doing all this things, the villagers started talking in their own local dialect. While I was thinking on what subject they are chatting, someone among them translated to me saying – “Oja Dhana we was talking on about the another way that can leads us back to the village. It would be found after we further headed inside the cave. Since we do not bring any torch and other equipment, we was discussing on how we can proceed further to the way which would be found dark”.
To be continued….
Translated by Rakesh Lourembam, Manipur Times.