Sunday, October 16, 2011

A day trip to Elephanta Caves.

It was a bright Sunday morning, and I had pre-decided on the evening before to visit the world famous Elephanta Caves. Elaphanta caves are now one of the World Heritage Sites. Situated on the Elaphanta Island, these caves are named because of the presence of a huge Stone carved Elephant placed at the entrance of the Islands.

I had read about the place in my Lonely Planet India book, and accumulated some information from Internet the evening before. So, On Sunday, after my servant left after cleaning etc by 8:15 am, I hurried myself to get ready as soon as possible. I knew, it was best to catch the first steamer launch boat form behind the famous Gateways of India at Colaba. So I had managed to get a cab by 8:30 am from near my house in Worli, which dropped me at Gateway of India by 9:03 am. I thought initially that I had missed my first steamer. and that , by the time now I reach late, the island would be populated  by visitors. But, I was lucky and on the way to steamer I was able to get a ticket to Elephanta Island. Got in the steamer soon. But before that, i did not miss the chance to take a couple of shots of the Gateway of India from its back side. In steamer launch, I got on to the upper deck, though its not allowed (also mentioned in the ticket). But the steamer guy charges Rupees 10 to go and sit on the upper deck. Only limited seats are there. The steamer started and took another 45 to 50 minuted to reach to the Elephanta Island.

The whole experience of seeing the whole Bombay bay from sea was thrilling. How beautiful it looked. The moment, as the boat guy removed the anchored rope loop hooked on to pillar, steamer started leaving the shore. And slowly slowly the steamer was in the sea, Everything started getting away. Every one started getting smaller and farther. The TAJ MAHAL HOTEL and the GATEWAY of INDIA, all got farther and farther as we strode away in the middle of sea.

On way to the Elephanta Island, I crossed many other big and small boats including some Huge Cargo vessels and other kinds of vessels. I shot photos of them all. I recalled the time in 1991 or 1990 i guess, when I had come to Mumbai with my parents, and had visited these places. Now after 20 years I was living here in the same city.

The city that had grown massively from being just a Big city to a humungous Metropolis. I was was watching all the skyscrapers lined along the city's skyline, towering up and high in the sky, almost touching the clouds. Some even overlooked them.

The Horizon got bleaker as I moved away and away and the Elephanta Island came closer and visible.
I had reached finally by around 10 am. Debarked from the steamer, I was in a completely new world just a few kilometers away from the mainland Mumbai.

The small steamer port opened into a long alley pathway that was going towards the hills. I followed all other fellow travelers. The not-so-long walkway also had a small pair of rails running along the track onto which a toy train moved. The track turned right at the end and led to the footlhills of the mountains in where the caves were built.

A flight of stairs were leading to the main caves. I had to buy a small ticket for Rupees 5 only, as a tax payment ticket, that was compulsory for everyone who went up towards the caves, or may be every visitor on the island. That was some Panchayat ticket. The stairway was lined up by small little tarpaulin covered shops on either side. Since i had reached early in the morning, so the shopkeepers were busy setting up their paradises. The sun shone from top and filtered through the lush of the leaves and then finally making way through the not so enchanting but interesting Cool Blue of the tarpaulin, and then touching the lives beneath. Lives of the people who lived there and of the travelers and visitors who made sure that those live there for ever. I took a couple of shots on my way up to the caves.


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