Today’s post is very special. Mainly because the place that I am going to feature today is one that is least known in Andaman and Nicobar Islands despite the fact that it has the potential of beating Discovery Channel’s narrowest limestone caves findings. Andaman and Nicobar Islands are indeed a God’s blessings. The narrow limestone Alfred Caves are the nature’s best gift to Andamans.
Alfred Caves lie in the Diglipur sub division near Ram nagar beach. To reach the cave, you have to trek for about an hour which is not very difficult though it can be cumbersome and tiresome for many.
These are limestone caves, similar to the ones that are located in Baratang.
The trek is through thick forests so even in the peak of the Sun, you stay cool but there is no place to sit if you have to take a bit of rest. For that, you may have to find a wooden plank and rest yourself over it. Carrying a water bottle is a necessity and so is a pair of good shoes.
As can be seen in the picture above, the path is a narrow lane inside the forest and thus it is very natural to lose your way. So, another necessity is to take a forest guide along with you who knows the way upto the caves.
Obviously, the best time to visit the caves is from October to March as otherwise rains would make the walk impossible.
Alfred caves are best known as the habitats of Swiftlet birds. There are about 10 caves in total in this area and most of them are inaccessible. You can get inside only in 2 or 3 of them. Some of them are so narrow that it is almost impossible to get inside them and from many years, even the forest guides have not got a glimpse of the inside of the caves.
As you move inside the caves, most of them are deep dark inside and you would not see anything.
We went inside a cave and as soon as I entered, I felt a flurry of bats all around me. I could feel their wings passing by my arms and swirling on my head. At the slightest hint of an alien sound, the bats all run off through the small holes in the caves.
The caves though appear very narrow, thin and small from the outside are in reality very long inside. There are caves within caves as you can see in the picture below.
Once we entered this cave, we found a chain of small caves inside. Here is a picture for you!
There was a cave that had the swiftlet nests. We ofcourse could not enter though we tried hard. The picture below is of the cave.
The forest guards appointed by the forest department at the caves are pro in entering the caves without much difficulty. In one of the caves, we spotted a swiftlet nest and I immediately took a picture.
Describing Swiftlet nests require another post. I would soon do a post on my experience of these swiftlet nests and their process of laying eggs and protecting them against poachers who pose a big threat to their posterity.
How to reach: Alfred Caves are in Diglipur. Get down at Kalara Junction and go to Ramnagar. Or else, board a bus from Diglipur bus stand and get down at Ram nagar. From here, you have to hire a guide or take help of a forest guard to guide you through the way to the caves. If you are planning a visit, start early in the morning so that you can be back by evening.