Treasure Trail continues in Monster’s Lair at Mawsmai caves, Meghalaya

posted in: Asia, India, Meghalaya, Nature | 43

Last week I shared my treasure trail through the unexplored Arwah Caves in Meghalaya. The stunning walls, the low ceilings, and narrow crevices were truly an adventurous experience for my entire family and me. There was a certain thrill in meandering through those caverns that were dimly lit and filled with water streams. It definitely added that punch to the whole treasure trail. However, the exploration was far from being over. Typically in a treasure trail, you have arduous trails and monsters that guard those trails. Right? So, we did our bit with the difficult trail (well! Not so difficult, just being dramatic!). We still had the monsters’ to tackle and guess what –  we found them right at the next set of caves – Mawsmai Caves in Meghalaya.

Inside Mawsmai Caves in Meghalaya
Inside Mawsmai Caves in Meghalaya

Well, technically, there were no monsters! However, the Mawsmai caves had a lot of their formations that resembled monsters and those dreary beasts that typically guard the treasure. It was fun spotting these strange formations and continuing our treasure trail through them. My daughter found these caves much easier to walk through as there aren’t too many of those crazy turn and twists. “Easy Peasy Lemon Squeezy” is how she termed it. The enjoyable bit for her were the cute shapes of the “scary” monsters that we encountered. 😉

Introducing Mawsmai Caves

Mawsmai caves in the local language mean “Oathstone caves“. I tried to find the reason behind this name but for the first time, I seem to have hit a dead end as to why it is so called. I was even more curious after I visited the caves for they definitely have some Eerie shapes that take me back to the world of the undead!  (Yes, I do read a lot of those Vampire and underworld creatures books).

Clamp like formation in Mawsmai Caves in Sohra
Clamp like formation in Mawsmai Caves in Sohra

Though the caves are quite long, only 150m of it has been open to the public. The interesting thing here is that you enter from the mouth of a giant monster and exit from its rear. You think I am kidding! See for yourself –

Monster One – The Entrance of Mawsmai Caves

Path leading to the Mawsmai caves in Sohra
Path leading to the Mawsmai caves in Sohra

Jubilant with our victory at the Arwah caves, the A team (aka us) walked confidently along the wooden pathway to conquer the next set of caves. Expecting the same body contortions, we felt we were all prepared till we stopped dead in our steps. A large monster with open jaws lay waiting for us.

The Open -Jaw like entrance that leads you inside Mawsmai Caves
The Open -Jaw like entrance that leads you inside Mawsmai Caves

The guy was ancient with lots of gray wrinkles, some of which was covered with green beard. His teeth looked like as if he has not brushed for ages. He sat there motionless, staring at us, beckoning us to enter his large belly that we could see from the entrance of Mawsmai caves.

Inside of Mawsmai Caves from the entrance
Inside of Mawsmai Caves from the entrance

Walking into the belly of the monster

A bad tummy trail of the monster caves - Mawsmai caves
A bad tummy trail of the monster caves – Mawsmai caves

Definitely, this guy had a bad tummy. I mean look at the whole path strewn with his ingested food. What was even more interesting was that this guy did not just allow humans in but also, his fellow monsters. Some of them looked like snakes, some like dragons like this one.

The dragon like formation in Mawsmai Caves
The dragon-like formation in Mawsmai Caves
The Grand old man of Mawsmai Caves
The Grand old man of Mawsmai Caves

The strange shapes kept staring at us as we walked past them till we reached the grand old man, waiting to ask us a riddle. I think he was just so surprised to see us that he was dumbfounded. We quickly walked past him to reach the point that looked like the epiglottis of the cave monster. From here, we seemed to have crossed over to its belly.

The epiglottis formation as I call it - in Mawsmai Caves
The epiglottis formation as I call it – in Mawsmai Caves

Drooling Monsters

Squeezing through the Epiglottis into the belly of the Mawsmai Caves
Squeezing through the Epiglottis into the belly of the Mawsmai Caves

I am really not kidding when I say we had to squeeze past the Epiglottis into the belly. A narrow cave passage led us to the most interesting sights. Coated with the gastric juices of the cave monster, the smaller ones within its belly were staring back at us – Drooling!

The drool of the monsters dripping
The drool of the monsters dripping
Strange Gremlins staring at us in the Mawsmai caves
Strange Gremlins staring at us in the Mawsmai caves
The drooling snakes of Mawsmai Caves
The drooling snakes of Mawsmai Caves

Here the journey was quite like the Arwah caves but not as raw. We crouched and balanced through the narrow parts of the cave to finally reach a tiny hole.

Squeezing through the gut of the Mawsmai Caves
Squeezing through the gut of the Mawsmai Caves

Squeezing through the gut

Through the narrow holes of Mawsmai caves
Through the narrow holes of Mawsmai caves

This is the part where I felt I had to squeeze through the guts into the open, dark caverns filled with pools of ……Water! What else, you crazy people.

Into the pool of water through the narrow passage of Mawsmai caves of Meghalaya
Into the pool of water through the narrow passage of Mawsmai caves of Meghalaya

Out from the rear

Towards Sunlight and end of Mawsmai caves
Towards Sunlight and end of Mawsmai caves

The crazy ride with high ceilings and small slits of sunlight continued till we reached this point where suddenly, we were out in the open. This is where the treasure trail ended with us having picked up some memorable gems along the way. Mawsmai caves was truly a beautiful end to our underworld quest.

Out from the rear of Mawsmai caves
Out from the rear of Mawsmai caves

Once outside, you will also, see a lot of the ancient rock formations around the caves. The Mawsmai caves is an absolute must if you are a geologist.

The old rocks outside the Mawsmai caves
The old rocks outside the Mawsmai caves

Personally, I found the Arwah caves more adventurous but the Mawsmai caves were artistic. The experience through them gets your imagination wild – as you have seen in this post. I am pretty sure that what I discovered and saw might look different to you. This is the magic of Nature’s abstract art. I wonder what you felt like as you came along with me. You know where to let me know. And in the meantime, don’t forget to pin this journey to your board.

Mawsmai Caves

Getting here

  • Guwahati is the closest railway and airport to Meghalaya. You will need to get here and then, take a cab to Shillong or directly to Sohra.
  • The North East Explorers helped me with the cab and the stay in Sohra. I had hired the cab from Guwahati back to Guwahati for around a week.
  • Mawsmai caves are located close to the Seven Sisters’ falls in Cherrapunji (Sohra).

Travel Tips

  • The entrance to the Mawsmai caves is INR 20 per adult, provided you are more than 3 in a group. If you are less than 3, then it is INR 60. Here is the capture that tells your more.Mawsmai Caves
  • The caves are slippery and wet. Hence, please wear comfortable footwear that helps you grip and walk across these places.
  • Please carry a light raincoat or windcheater here.
  • A torch is advisable as certain parts of the Mawsmai caves are dark
  • You should be able to finish these caves in half an hour
  • There are restrooms and small cafes here in the parking area.


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43 Responses

  1. This is a very interesting narrative and ties in geology with the fantasies of a fairytale !

    (It is also like Pinocchio’s adventure when he was swallowed by a giant whale 🙂

  2. Wow!! This is very informative and interesting post. Thanks for sharing this pictures.

  3. Nice post good information will soon plan to visit here thanks for sharing.

  4. It is very wonderful and helpful post. Really it is very narrative. Thanks for sharing this post.

  5. Was there a couple of days back and I must say monsoons are the best season to visit the place.

  6. It is very interesting cave story, and it was also thrilling (i have wild imaginations) to visit a cave. Never done it before, but hopefully soon. Is it cold inside?

  7. The path leading to the cave looks quite mysterious. If I have a chance to visit this place I might feel like I’m exploring a hidden world or something like that. This is definitely a worthy attraction to visit Meghalaya.

    • It is a magical place – Meghalaya. There are so many lores and interesting things to do here. YOu definitely must visit and especially, visit Mawsmai caves

  8. “very informative and nicely written. thank you :)”

  9. Ahhhh!!! This is too much!!! I really gotta pack my bags and head in the north eastern direction. I have to agree, the formations, do look like how monsters are depicted in animation! Lolz! This is just awesome!!!

    • Doesn’t it feel like a page out of fiction? You will so love it Bhushavali. Plan quickly.

  10. Amazing – I love places like this, it looks mysterious and wild! I love the narrow passages and the rock formations. It’s great to discover such wonders – thanks for showing them, especially that they’re not that well known around the world!

  11. Sandy N Vyjay

    The Mawsmai caves really look intriguing and full of mystery. The entrance indeed is like the open mouth of a monster. However what I am really fascinated by is the bizarre and somewhat grotesque shapes of the rocks inside the caves, it does give an eerie aura to the place.

  12. wow!! very interesting place though I must say inside was eerie.. I admire you and your companions for managing to get into the narrowest and darkest parts! I hope one day we can all be enlightened with the origin of its name!

  13. Mawsmai caves look great! I was a bit disappointed with the entrance. In andaman islands, there is Limestone caves and the entry to those caves is through a canopy walkway so i had expected something similar here too! But anyways the shapes of the caves betray Stalactites and Stalagmites that we had been taught in our geography classes!

    • Interesting. Though my opinion of the same is a little different. The ones in Andamans were impressive in a different way . These ones I felt were more artistic. In any case, both of them are amazing. Thanks for stopping by Ambuj

      • I think one needs to be there to gather the different aspects of both the caves! Since you have been to both the places, you know much better! Hope to head to Mawsmai caves sometime soon!

  14. I love exploring caves. Looks like you had an amazing time. I visited India last year and its been one of my best travel experiences so far. Your blog makes me realize how much I still got to see and look forward to!

    • Thanks Lisa. India has so much that we Indians are unable to cover it all. You must come back again for these.

  15. I noticed that the stalactites and stalagmites are of dark color, what could be the reason for such discoloration? I have entered caves before but this is the first time I’ve seen one that has black tint. I like how you made this post interesting by creating a story, it did make me feel a bit like you guys were entering the belly of a monster.

    • Thanks Marjorie. I have a feeling that the colors that you see are owing to the low light pictures that I had to resort to. Else they seemed fine. Glad you had fun with my imagination.

  16. Hey Ami. Would love to know more about the history of this place and how these formations happened. Was it spooky inside there?

    • The caves were not spooky at all. They were fun. On the history, there is only geological evidence. Sadly could not find anything else. Thanks for stopping by

  17. This is actually very informative and detailed post. I love to explore caves always and I’m always left in awe whenever I gaze to its stunning mineral formations. This cave is truly beautiful, but I’ve noticed that some of the mineral structures are dying, and some are recovering. I hope that they can preserve it. Thank you so much for sharing your adventure with us.

    • Thanks a ton for your comments. I am not so sure of them dying or so. My pictures may not have caught the whole story as there was really low light within. Nonetheless this is a lovely place and for that reason, they should preserve it.

  18. Very beautiful! I’m just afraid I would panic there, as it’s soooo narrow. But great for you brave ones!!! 🙂

    • ohh, we just had the time of our lives. Fantastic experience here. Thanks for stopping by Jane

  19. swatisinha09

    Great narration and very interesting cave journey. BTW, are you sure that was ummm water ?

  20. I have never heard of something like this before.It sounds so unique and exciting.Inlove the way you described the monster as epiglamis and the acidity thing.It made me laugh.I shall definitely visit Meghalaya for sure

    • Thank you Harini. The cave monster was real in my head and I loved going through it. Cheers

  21. I enjoyed reading this article and I like the helpful information in it. I have always been fascinated with caves. They are full of mysteries. That’s why I love exploring them. Their aesthetics are just different from any natural wonder. Anyway,thank you so much for sharing your adventure.

    • Thank you so much. It was a fun and interesting cave. I hope you can sometime make it here.

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