When I was nine years old, my dad had visited the US and had got us a ‘View-Master’ with reels containing pictures of some attractive tourist destinations in that country. One of them carried pictures of stalagmites and stalactites making amazing formations. That was the first time I had seen such a natural wonder and I had no clue what it was called or how it was formed. More than awe I remember experiencing sheer disbelief that something like that could exist on this planet. It seemed so unreal and straight out of a ghost story.
A few years ago, when I read about the Natural Bridge Caverns near
, the images from the View-Master came right in front of my eyes. I was staying at San Antonio, Texas at that time and the caverns were only three hours drive away. I could not wait to see how it looked like in real life. Houston
|The King's Throne|
The Natural Bridge Caverns sees many tourists combining this with a visit to
San Antonio or . Outside the caverns, there is a nice park with huge dinosaur models that one can climb on. I took a tour of the caverns which lasted approximately one hour and took us about 180 feet below the ground. The pathway was wet and at some places quite slippery. Although there were railings all along, one had to watch every step. I paused to observe each formation along the way and found that every single one of them was absolutely unique although they had generic names like soda straws, chandeliers, etc. Each chamber has an interesting name based on the patterns and meanings drawn from the abstract structures that are formed. As I went deeper and deeper inside the cavern, it became darker but the lights placed at strategic spots gave a brilliant orange hue to the formations. New Braunfels
We were told that the caverns were discovered in the early sixties by a group of local college students who made repeated expeditions to the naturally formed limestone bridge that lies above the caverns. Thanks to these college kids who were adventurous enough to crawl through the small openings and discover the spectacular caverns, we now have a site that showcases what underground water flowing through cracks in the layers of limestone can create over millions of years. The stalagmites and stalactites are still dynamic and growing with water silently passing and dripping through the formations.
I tried to take a few pictures but I don’t think they can ever match the quality of what I had seen through my old View-Master. I clicked them nevertheless, not to showcase the unbelievable wonders hidden in the caverns to others but to remind me of the joy of actually seeing it after preserving its image in my mind’s eye for years.