Kashmir has a long list of spectacular sites, but among all these places the caves of Kalaroos have the most mystery. Located in Kalaroos village of Kupwara district, these caves are known to have tunnels that end at Russia.
Kalaroos got its name from Qila-e-Roos, that actually means Russian fort. It is believed that the caves in this mountain extend till Russia and during the Silk Route time they were used when Kashmir valley used to get completely covered in snow.
The Kalaroos caves are situated midway of the Lashtiyal and Mahdmadu villages. There is a giant stone in Lashtiyal village named Satbaran. The stone has seven doors which are known as Sath barr. Locals say that the doors symbolise seven distinct routes to Russia and other countries. Inside these caves there is a discoloured board with some foreign language written on it. Some villagers say that the caves hide some magnificent water bodies too. A group of youth told news agency GNS that inside these caves there are huge water bodies and they can hear the sound of running water. Many believe that Satbaran was a temple in the ancient era where the Pandavas used to worship.
At one of the Kalaroos caves, the entrance has a clear gap to let you in, but at some places inside it needs skilled technique to walk in it because there are many uneven slopes. Once you enter the cave you feel the air much cooler and darkness at its extreme.
Some American explorers like Eric Fries and Amber explored three caves back in 2018 and reached the termination points for each of them. They mentioned the possibility that two of the caves might have been connected in the past. One of the two caves is upward trending and the other one trends downwards. Both of them have similar elevations and azimuths. The explorers couldn’t determine a similar elevation for the third cave as it was sealed by the Indian army. Referring to Satbaran, they stated, “No one knows the history behind the structures who built it or its age”. The explorers have notified that though there aren’t any signs of recent human passages in the third cave, some Himalayan porcupine are present there.
All people who have visited these caves once have fallen in love with their antiquity and wish to visit them again and again. These structures are of unique archaeological importance and attract many people of adjoining areas. They have become popular picnic spots as well.
Concerned about the importance of these sites, locals are demanding to declare these caves as heritage sites. The department of Archaeology and Museums must preserve and declare these sites as “Protected Sites”. There should be more research and restoration work so that it will increase cultural tourism in the district. State government must provide basic civic amenities like road connectivity, foot paths and toilet facilities at these sites for the convenience of the visitors. There must be timely government action to save these caves. These natural monuments are in a remote area and the weather is unpredictable, so huts should be established as resting places for visitors. The youth should also play a role in preserving these ancient monuments.
Dear readers, be you also visitors to these natural monuments so that you can realise their charm, beauty, and value. We believe that once you pay a visit, you will be frequent visitors.
—The writers are students of Aligarh Muslim University and natives of district Kupwara. [email protected]