Pedawada Cave, Kanger Valley, Bastar
Kanger valley is the king of valleys in Chhattisgarh. In addition to this, it is the most promising spot or heaven of speleologists, in the sense that numerous caves are waiting for the speleologists to be searched out. In fact Kutumsar, Kailash and Dandak are few well known names of the caves which are the jewels of Kanger valley, but hold on, this is just the beginning of your cave journey as there are many more names which are younger and more fascinating than the former ones, which has been discovered actually by the fellow villagers by the concerned areas. One such marvel is Pedawada Cave.
Where and how to reach?
Pedawada is a small village situated on the left side of NH-16(Jagdalpur-Hyderabad Highway) in Kanger valley. It is nearly 29kms away from Divisional Head Quarter, Jagdalpur and nearly 3-4 kms from Kanger valley barrier. After crossing barrier, we have to travel 2 kilometers more to reach another barrier on the unmetalled junction of highway. This junction is called “Basta Bachao naka” i.e.” Save Bamboo Barrier” which is a barrier of forest department meant for the conservation of Bamboo tree as Bamboo is the most dominant tree in Pedawada forest. As we follow this unmetalled path(kachcha road), we can observe one small pool (rapta pool in local language), which after half a kilometer traverse more to the left side of the road(before reaching the village “Padawada”) reaches upto a hill series of limestone, which after climbing up to 200 ft above the hill, reaches upto a fracture in the rock strata, which is actually the mouth opening of this cave called “Pedawada Cave”.
Best visit time: from November to June i.e. from the beginning of winter to the end of summer.
The Pedawada cave is actually an “aven” (Aven means Pitch (vertical space), in rock or ice climbing). covered or overlain by highly jointed rocks . As we reach the mouth of this cave, we have to climb down nearly 4 feet deep, to make it to the first chamber. The first chamber displays the rarest example of very initial stage of cave formation which is spectacular for any speleologist. Hence the first shows shows very less speleothems but still we can manage to see some youngest stalactites (soda straws) and some rarest examples of young flowstones.
Actually the first chamber is the upper surface of aven having a width a nearly 10-12 feet and the height of this chamber is just 2-3 feet high. As this chamber is actually the surface above aven, from here we can observe an aven which is nearly just 3 feet wide from top and narrows down at the end where the width is just 1-1.5 feet and the length of this aven is nearly 20-25 feet long which extends to the other opening of the aven. But in the real sense, its not advisable to climb down the aven for any more research as the place is highly risky to again come up. So its better to come outside of the cave opening and check for the other opening.
The other opening is nearly 20-25 feet away from the first opening, and it doesn’t show any chamber like features and directly displays the aven overlain by jointed strata. Here it’s a small 2-2.5 feet opening just making it possible for us to sit and visit the aven. But the walls of aven at the opening show a kind of solution activity of karst topography and can be called as flowstone.
Geology of a Cave:
Cave or Cavern?
Is there a difference between a cave and a cavern? This is a frequently asked question, and many people use the terms interchangeably. However, there is a difference. A cave is any cavity in the ground that is large enough that some portion of it will not receive direct sunlight. There are many types of caves (discussed in this lesson plan). A cavern is a specific type of cave, naturally formed in soluble rock with the ability to grow speleothems. So, although a cavern can accurately be called a cave (since it is a type of cave), all caves cannot be called caverns.(1)
The largest and most abundant solutional caves are located in limestone. Limestone dissolves under the action of rainwater and groundwater charged with H2CO3 (carbonic acid) and naturally occurring organic acids. The dissolution process produces a distinctive landform known as karst, characterized by sinkholes, and underground drainage. Limestone caves are often adorned with calcium carbonate formations produced through slow precipitation. These include stalagmites, stalactites, flowstones, straws, drip stones and columns. These secondary mineral deposits in caves are called speleothems(2)
As this cave is in its very initial stage of cavern formation, it a heaven for speleologist for their analysis regarding mode and causes of occurrence of a cave. For geology students, it’s a live example to see how cave are formed.
Lecture Notes from Sierra Nivada Corporation