Probably everyone will get a chill down the spine while wrapped in total darkness. And what if you have to tread through a pitch-dark cramped space where the loudest sound is your breath? This can only be quirky and outlandish.
Surprisingly, Wayanad, which is known for pristine verdant forests, lofty mountains and expansive paddy fields, has in store many similar outré settings that will keep you on the edge. One such destination is the Kaduvakuzhi cave at Ambalavayal in Wayanad district in Kerala. If you are chicken-hearted better give Kaduvakuzhi cave a miss as the cavern is ideal for those who have adventure in their blood.
A long rope, helmets, protective knee pads, gloves and headlamps are mandatory while stepping into this cave. Darkness envelopes you once you descend to a depth of 10m from the ground level. As the chances of bats, small animals and insects giving you company are high, people with allergies should be cautious while entering the cave, and importantly the air inside the cave can be heavy with a peculiar smell.
After stepping into the initial portion of the cavern, you will have to lower yourself with the help of a rope through a slanting, slippery and small rock. You have to forget about the luxury of standing upright for at least three hours while inside the cave as the sharp edges of the rock can be menacing. After cautiously descending to a depth of 35 to 40m one can reach the point where the upper rock meets the one on the lower side. It is so dark that you will be able to see only 40m ahead to the right with the help of a headlamp.
This point is so narrow that it can unsettle you, and movement is also restricted as one can proceed only by crawling on hands and knees. As this first landing area is 40m away from the cave mouth, there is pretty good air circulation and breathing won’t be a problem but if you get panicky things can go awry.
Now you have to lie on your back and inch forward with the dexterity of a caterpillar. The space between the rocks is so narrow that the tip of your nose can brush the rough edges of the stone formations above you.
As you inch forward don’t ever think of 2016 Hollywood film ‘The Last Descend’, in which the protagonist gets stuck in a cave. While moving inside the cave, drink a lot of fluids, be calm, cool and collected and follow the guide with utmost concentration.
Being in the dark is an out-of-the-world experience. If you switch off the headlamp for a while, the darkness around you in this silent environment can be daunting and incredible. Many a time, even the most powerful torches are unable to punch a hole in the cave darkness.
Presently, caving can’t be completed at the Kaduvakuzhi cave as loose mud had blocked the way from the middle of the cave, which is 800ft long. It will take close to 10 hours to go to the nook and corner of the cave.
The DTPC Wayanad will open the cave for adventure seekers after putting in place requisite safety measures and don’t ever think of venturing into the cave alone or without a trained guide.