Sunday, 27 August 2017

Beauty of Darkness

Who lives in a cave?
Childhood memories tell us-- it is the king of the jungle.
Or, sadhus and hermits doing penance up in the Himalayas.
Or, mountaineers and trekkers seeking shelter from rain or snow.
Or, the Taliban terrorists hiding in Afghanistan!

So, caves mean different things to different people. There are many caves in India. But Borra Caves in Eastern Ghats are one of the deepest. Located 90 kms north of Vizag, it is a big tourist attraction.
See the map and official sign board below.
The caves are situated 2300 ft above mean sea level. The caves go down 260 feet deep into the mountain. Visitors get a chance to walk upto 700 feet inside the cave. With limited natural light, the caves have been illumniated with soft LED lights. With changing colours, it creates a surreal effect on surrounding rocks and ceiling.

A separate ticket for camera is required. Flash photography is not permitted as in Ajanta-Ellora caves near Aurangabad. Therefore, it is a tough call to keep the camera steady for long exposure. Ghumakkad did some experimentation with his monopod. Tripod would come in the way of teeming tourists, hence ruled out.

Pictures of Borra caves for you.










Am reminded of what Mahatma Gandhi said about darkness. Here is a picturesque quote- PQ- for you.

While negotiating a dark pathway around a tall stalagmite pillar, I took this picture. Here it is as a PQ with Hellen Keller's quote on darkness.





At the end of the cave, the lighting cast its shadow on the walls. Take a look with Adrienne Rich's famous line.



The next story will take you to Chaparai Waterflow near Araku to get a thrill of cascading and gushing river water.
Other caves in India are:
Elephanta caves near Mumbai
Borivli caves in Borivli National Park, Mumbai
Bellum Caves in AP
Narsing Cave Temple near Bidar
Caves near Sahasradhara, Dehradun
Ajanta-Ellora near Aurangabad
Bali cave near Chintamani temple, Hampi

Do share your pictures and experiences of visiting a cave.

Thanks for browsing

     - Harsh-the-Ghumakkad/ 27th Aug 2017


Postscript:
"Somehow despite the dramatic effects in some corners of the cave, where rock formations are particularly unique, in my opinion the bright colors of  the LED lights all through the cave length make the natural wonder appear a bit artificial, like stage lighting, I think.  Makes you wonder what the natural rock formation really is like/ or the true colors of rocks in nature are like."-- Am with you on this observation Trixie.
"Stalactites and stalagmites are considered natural heritage objects and are protected by law in most countries, and their collection, mining, and selling is prohibited." (both observations by Trixie Asirvatham, 30th Aug 2017).
Thanks much Trixie. Although there were no warning boards as such, but the fact that visitors are not allowed to carry any handbags, cellphones etc, is an indicator of similar restrictions in India.

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