Walking down the narrow, steep staircase in a rock crevice surrounded by dense foliage, one enters through a small iron door the pitch dark and intimidating Kutumsar caves. Considered one of the longest caves in the world, the exhilarating journey which lasts for about an hour is a must for those seeking an adrenaline rush. Situated in the Kanger Valley National Park in Jagdalpur, which is around 350 km from the Chhattisgarh capital Raipur, in central India, the caves have been named after the nearby village and are about 40 feet deep and an amazing 4,500 feet in height.
The entrance of the cave is extremely narrow and big enough only to crawl through. However, a couple of feet down via the man-made iron staircase, the caves open up to be explored with the help of guides equipped with solar lanterns. Once inside, the enigmatic setting will help travellers play out Indiana Jones of Hardy Boys fantasies as one walk on the uneven and treacherous rocky terrains. However, breathing in the damp air amidst pitch darkness and echoing sounds does make it a spooky adventure and a strict no-no for the faint-hearted or claustrophobic.
The natural patterns have formed over hundreds of years due to rain water percolating through small crevices in the rocks. While a pattern on the roof may resemble the eyes of goddess Durga another on the wall may look like an elephant's trunk or a peacock's feathers. As travellers move ahead, small water pockets are inhabited by a unique species of fish and frogs which according to the locals are genetically blind and breed in the dark as not a single ray of sun penetrates inside. At the very end of the main cave lies the naturally formed Shiva ling and every year on Maha Shivratri hordes of locals climb down to offer prayers.
The Kanger Valley National Park adds to the fauna of Chhattisgarh. The National Park is located near Jagdalpur and is one of the most beautiful and picturesque national parks of India. The Park also has a sizable tribal population and is an ideal destination for wildlife enthusiasts, nature lovers, researchers, anthropologists and for anyone who wants to discover the very best of Chhattisgarh wildlife and unique tribes of the region. The best season for travellers visiting the National Park is from October to June.
Entry into the National Park is permitted form Netanar and Kotamsar barriers. Netanar barrier is situated at 33 km from Jagdalpur on the road passing through village Sargipal, Bodal, Murma, and Netanar. The Park starts after 3 km from the Netanar barrier. Main entry of the Park is from Kotamsar barrier situated at 27 km from Jagdalpur on the Jagdalpur-Darbha road i.e. NH 221 which connects Jagadalpur to Vijayawada in Andhra Pradesh. Raipur (330 km) is the nearest airport and Jagdalpur (27 km) is the nearest railhead from the Kanger Valley National Park.
Where to Stay
Rest houses, Hotels, lodges, Resorts of good quality are available for lodging at Jagdalpur. Inside the Park Forest, rest house at Kotamsar and Tirathgarh is available.