Diglipur is home to a cluster of extraordinary 41 limestone caves, or as it’s rightly called “Alfred Caves”. The unexplored caves were named after the scientist Alfred who discovered them. These isolated caves lie around 20 kilometres southeast of Diglipur and in close vicinity of Ramnagar beach. A some what lesser-known attraction of Andamans, these limestone caves are remarkably similar to the ones in Baratang and are different because of the geography collocation. A trek through the dense jungle leads you to the natural habitats of Swift let birds which nest in these caves. Their edible nests are auctioned after the birds leave the nests and are quite famed in Chinese cuisine and valued in the world. An hour of walking in the wilderness, this incredible yet challenging trek is not meant for the weak-kneed.
Free of cost, same-day permits are available at Ramnagar beach, from where it’s roughly an hour’s guided jungle trek. Hiring a guide is imperative as finding one’s way through the entwined wild trail sis tedious and nearly impossible. Since it is a challenging trek, visitors must wear a pair of good shoes and carry plenty of water. The most suitable time to explore the caves is from October to April, as during monsoon season the path is slippery and unsafe. A den for swift lets and fruit-eating bats, these caves have a rather narrow entrance, making only a few of them accessible to visitors. It is advisable to respect their habitat while also keeping a look out for these creatures, especially bats. One must also refrain from littering or causing any damage to this natural attraction as the forest department takes strict action against the ones that do.
How to reach
Alfred Caves are roughly 300 kilometres from Port Blair and 20 kilometres from Diglipur. Located near Ramnagar Beach, one can board a bus from Diglipur bus stand and get down at Ramnagar, where one can hire a guide to take you to the caves. An hour of walking in the wilderness, this is an incredible and challenging trek.
Alfred caves are a cluster of 41 limestone caves that are a nesting ground for the famed edible swiftlets. After an hour of walking under the sun, in the canopy of the trees, one arrives at the opening of these caves. While entering, visitors must be accompanied by a guide or forest personnel who can guide you inside out in the caves. Exploring Alfred Caves takes up a whole day, so it’s advisable to start early in the morning to ensure a timely return. The opening is quite narrow, with caves appearing small and thin yet elongated. Big caves open into a chain of smaller caves inside which get narrower, thus making several caves inaccessible for humans.