SHILLONG, APR 4 : Close on the heels of the International Caving Expedition in the state, the Meghalaya Tourism department in collaboration with the Meghalaya Adventurers Association (MAA) conducted three days workshop and training programme on cave tourism at Siju located in South Garo hills district of Meghalaya.
The workshop, which was held from March 25 to 27, could not have come at a better time as the eighteen days International caving expedition had just concluded on February 21. Cave tourism has the potential of bringing lot of tourists seeking adventure and also the excitement of exploring the “unknown” beneath the surface. Meghalaya offers such an opportunity for tourists seeking adventure.
Realising the potential cave tourism holds for employment generation and also bringing revenue, the Meghalaya tourist department conducted the workshop as part of its effort to equip the local youths with the knowledge and also the skill of playing the role of facilitators to tourists coming to the state for cave tourism.
The turnout for the cave tourism workshop was quite encouraging as forty participants belonging to ngos, tour operators like Samrakshan Trust, Integrated People for Tourism & Conservation, MRDS (LifCom) Baghmara, Siju Eco-Tourism Society, Air Rover were among those who took active part in the workshop.
Well known Meghalaya caver and MAA general secretary Brian D Kharpran Daly along with his team imparted training at Siju to the participants on the importance of caves as a natural habitat, its importance in research and tourism, its preservation and conservation.
Siju cave is known as one of the most researched cave in the sub continent and is a habitat for various life forms including bats numbering in thousands.
The workshop followed the just concluded 21th edition of the International cave expedition held under the project “Caving in the abode of the clouds.” The MAA said the expedition was a huge success.
The eighteen days expedition was held in Jaintia hills district of Meghalaya and the international team focused on the caving areas of Khahnar and Larket.
Eighteen cavers from the UK, Ireland, Switzerland, Austria, Romania, Germany, and members of the MAA took part in the expedition. MAA general secretary Brian D. Kharpran Daly informed the team also consisted of two Romanian biologists and a researcher from Lady Keene College.
Daly said that during the eighteen days period a total of four existing/partially explored caves were further explore and nineteen new caves explored. Information was also collected about a number of caves in the village of Moolapui.
A total of 9.03kms of new cave passage was explored and mapped. This takes the total number of known caves in Meghalaya to 1,350, with 850 of these caves being explored or partially explored and a total length of mapped cave passage now stands at 387 kms. – By Our Reporter