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Monday, March 14, 2011

Langkawi's Caves Of Mystery And Intrigue

12pic107Bat Cave, Crocodile and Legend Cave. The names spark the imagination. Carved by water out of the soft limestone over millennia, the caves have only recently come to light.
Located at the Kilim Karst Geoforest Park, one of Langkawi's main conservation areas on the northeast tip of the island, the limestone mountains here also boast one of the world's oldest cave passage and natural rock formation.

To explore the caves, I joined a group of visitors from Korea and we took a motorboat upstream along the Kilim River to Bat Cave.
From a small jetty, a boardwalk leads right through Bat Cave and emerges at the other side, round the base of the limestone hill to rejoin the jetty.

The wooden planks thumped softly beneath our feet, expectations high on the wonders that we would see. Panoramic view of Gua Cerita. As we walked in the eternal twilight, the chirps of bats echoed in the gloom.

There are thousands of bats living in this cave. Using their sonar skills, they flutter about, looking for mosquitoes to eat before dangling upside down on their perches.

Between the flying rodents, the bat droppings and the drizzling rainwater, I was happy to be wearing a protective helmet. Ancient seashells stuck to the roof and walls reveals that this cave was originally the sandy bottom of an ancient river millions of years ago.
"Look at this column," our guide, Hassan said. "The stalactite formed from water droplets from the ceiling has joined at the bottom, becoming one big column. It takes millions or years to achieve this and only a few seconds to destroy it. We should do all we can to preserve these natural wonders," he added.
It was indeed beautiful. And so were the other intriguing cave formations found all around. Pointing my torchlight at the rock face, I noticed that one outcrop looked like a mother carrying her child and another looked like a tall, elegant lady

-- Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin

AL :-
I have a book which tells about Cave's of Langkawi. Interesting book. I will use the book as a reference & tell about it bit by bit in this blog. So for those who are interesting with Caves of Langkawi Stay TUNE!

Our next destination that morning was Gua Cerita or 'Legend Cave'. Overlooking the azure waters of the Andaman Sea, it is famous for the many legends about the cave.

Interesting formation of a mother carrying a baby with two kids in front.
The most famous one relates to Hikayat Merong Mahawangsa, an ancient Malay literature that chronicles the bloodline and foundation of Kedah, a state in Malaysia.

Long ago, rulers used to seal strategic alliances or settle disputes through marital arrangements. One such arrangement was the marriage between the Chinese emperor's daughter and the son of the emperor of Rome. A fleet of ships was sent off from Italy and an ambassador accompanied the prince.
One day, they docked in Sri Lanka, and Garuda - the mystic Phoenix - heard about the marriage and decided to stop it.
He realised that the union of such great powers may pose a threat to the smaller kingdoms. He told this to King Solomon, who warned him that God's will can never be altered, but he chose to ignore the warning.
Garuda kidnapped the princess and hid her at Gua Cerita. Then he sent a violent storm to stop the fleet of the Chinese emperor, and finally the ship of the prince sank. With the prince supposedly dead, Garuda was convinced he had won and flew away.
One day the princess took a stroll on the beach. She found a shipwrecked person washed ashore and nursed him back to health.
It was the prince. When they were both rescued from Langkawi, they went to China and the marriage took place. Garuda failed as King Solomon predicted because the marriage was God's will and His authority cannot be challenged.
Today, one can still find ancient pottery in Gua Cerita, where the prince and princess once lived.
On the way back, we made a stop at Gua Buaya or Crocodile Cave, a unique cave through which the Kilim River actually flows.

Garuda, the mystic Phoenix fighting with Jentayu - a scene from Hikayat Merong Mahawangsa.
Visitors making their way out by boat after exploring the rock formation in Crocodile Cave.
It is accessible by boat during low tide. Though named after its early inhabitants, the cave is not influenced by crocodiles anymore.
Rimstones, flowstones and dripstones of varying shapes decorate the cave. After spending what seemed like an eternity marvelling at the formations, we headed out of the cave.

-- Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin

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