ถ้ำแม่นนางมณโฑ

Tham Mae Nang Montho - T̄ĥả mæ̀n nā ngmṇṯho - Mae Nang Montho Cave


Useful Information

Location: Mueang Yala, Yala.
6 km from Yala on Yala-Yaha road, 1 km before Tham Khuha Phimuk temple.
(6.529861, 101.233417)
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Classification: SpeleologyKarst cave
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Address: Tham Mae Nang Montho, Mueang Yala, Yala, Tel: +66-, Fax: +66-,
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
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History


Description

ถ้ำแม่นนางมณโฑ (Tham Mae Nang Montho, Mrs Montho Cave) is named after นางมณโฑ (Nang Montho, Mrs Montho), a fictional character in the Ramakien epic, one of Thailand's national epics. The Ramakien is the Thai version of the Indian Ramayana. The story tells about ancient immortals and gods, which are introduced in the first part, in the second dramatic events are depicted, and the third tells what happened afterwards. Nang Montho is said to be the most beautiful woman in the country. She is given to Thotsakan as a gift from Phra Isuan. They have a son with the first name Ronapak. Phali seizes Thotsakan's consort Nang Montho and they have a son named Ongkhot before she is returned to Thotsakan. Those stories are quite rough, lots of magic and lots of dead and reborn. In the far end of the cave, a large stalagmite which looks like a meditating woman was named Nang Montho, hence the name of the cave.

This cave is guided by locals on cave trekking tours. To reach the cave a 15-minute ascent through lush jungle with high biological diversity, and an abandoned limestone or marble quarry, is required. There is only a narrow path and the cave is hard to find. The cave is rather spacious and easy to visit but very hard to find. A local guide is essential, they can be contacted at the foothill, if not you can ask at the other side of the karst tower at the Wat Khuha Phimuk fr a guide. This cave is often mixed up with the Buddhist cave temples at the monastery, but this hill is riddled with caves. The visit of the cave required walking shoes, a lamp and physical fitness.

There are strange comments about volcanic rock in some descriptions, and marble in others, which seems a little off. This is a karst tower which consists of limestone, the caves are a result of karstification. There is as far as we know no marble, the high quality limestone was just called marble by the locals to emphasize its high quality, that's marketing. On the other hand there might be some volcanic intrusions, in the form of dykes, and the volcanic material is more resistant to weathering than the limestone. As a result there might be volcanic rocks at the surface and inside the cave.