My Visit to Elephanta Caves

20170315_115636Hey friends! Summer here, is keeping everyone on toes. I hope it is doing the same for you. It has been quite some time since I blogged last. I know, I need to get more disciplined. So, here I am today, though it is a Sunday and I’ve been doing lots of things today. As the title itself suggests, I am writing about my visit to Elephanta Caves. Elephanta Caves are a group of caves located on the Elephanta Island or Gharapuri (as it is popularly known as) located in the Mumbai Harbour, about 10 kms away from Mumbai city. When you live in Mumbai, you obviously get to know about the Elephanta caves. Similarly, I also learnt of these caves long ago, but somehow, I couldn’t go there. Recently in March, when our relatives came from abroad, as a Guide I accompanied them (I know it is hilarious that I went there as a Guide without even knowing where it is).

Before going there, I did a quick research. I came to know that you need to take a ferry from the Gateway of India to reach the Elephanta Island. Then, you need to climb 120 steps to reach the caves. Reading the sentence which said you need to climb 120 steps made me dizzy. I am so unfit that I pant if I walk uphill in our area.  I gathered courage and decided that I will do it come what may!

The day of us going arrived. The previous day was very tiring for all of us as we had guests over for lunch and dinner at home. I somehow managed to get up and shower on time. We had decided to leave by 9 am. We left by 9.30 to be specific. We reached Gateway and there were guys standing with receipt books for the ferry ride. To be specific, the Ferry ride was priced at 180 per person. We were four of us.  We took the tickets and left for our ride. We were ushered into Ferry at around 10 am. We had to wait for a long time for the ferry to begin its journey towards the Elephanta Island. It was a one-and-a-half-hour journey. We reached the Island at about 12 noon. One thing you must keep in mind when you’re going to this place is that you must be ready to walk a lot. Once you get off the ferry, there is a pathway to get to the steps (yes, it is the same 120 steps). You can take a toy train instead of walking. However, it is for a very short distance. We decided to walk.

20170315_120545We walked for a long time and then, reached the deadly 120 steps. It seemed very deadly to me, one because I was too exhausted from the previous day and second because it was peak noon and too hot. There is a tarpaulin covering over the stairways, but believe me, it was super- hot. We panted all the way (at least I panted). We managed to reach the top and I was celebrating quietly as I seriously did not believe that I would make it.

After reaching the top, you need to buy the tickets for the Caves. Since I went with my relatives from abroad, I was the only Indian. The tickets were ridiculously priced. It was 30 Rupees per person for Indians and 500 Rupees per person for foreigners. We bought the tickets and made our way to the Caves. According to what I learnt there, there are 7 caves on the island. The first cave is supposed to be very famous as the main Shiva statue was being worshipped there way before Portuguese rule. It was beautiful. It was worth the 120 steps I thought. However, what made me sad was the fact that the maintenance of the same was miserable. We have such beautiful and pretty structures, but unfortunately for us, we don’t know how to maintain or I’d rather say, we are too careless about it.

After the first cave, we visited the second one. It was generally fine, but not as appealing as the first one. There were empty places in the caves. It was very apparent that the statues have been removed from there long ago. Also, the carvings and statues which were present were damaged. It is a sad sate for us. After seeing the third and the fourth cave, we didn’t want to go any further as there wasn’t much to see. We ended our trip with the fourth cave.

There were a lot of monkeys on the Island. They were literally snatching water bottles from the visitors. Thankfully for us, one of the guys there, warned us against carrying a water bottle in our hands. We were truly grateful to that guy. We captured a few pictures of the monkey drinking water from the bottle like a human being.

We walked down the stairs and this time, we hopped into the toy train instead of walking the pathway to reach the ferry. Our return journey to Gateway was very interesting as we met a couple of foreigners and it was fun to hear the children talk.

Overall it was a good trip. Except for the first cave which was magnificent, there was nothing much to see, but, it was an experience by itself. Where else would you get to go on a ferry and climb 120 steps. I’m sure you wouldn’t. You should give it a try.

This was my personal experience. However, you would probably have a different view from that of mine once you visit it. So why hesitate. Put on your shoes and just head straight.

See you soon!

Cheers!!!!

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A Walk at Night on Marine Drive

IMG-20141121-WA0004Hi friends! Hope everything is going great at your end. Over the past few months I have been writing (quite irregularly, I know) about a variety of things rather than the monotonous book reviews. Out of the variety of topics, one of the topics I would love build upon is my Mumbai Diaries. I would love to develop my writing mainly on this topic because it is something which comes straight from my experience of seeing the different places of Mumbai. It is an out of the world experience for me as I am from Mysore, the city known for its pleasant weather and the silence (of course, with all cities being developed, Mysore is also not left behind. It is not that silent as it used to be. But when compared to Mumbai, yes, it is!). This piece of My Space would be much more useful for people who visit (or plan to visit) Mumbai for the first time. Last time, My Mumbai Diaries post was out and out for girls/women, with shopping as the theme! This time it is completely different.
The first time I came to Mumbai was after my marriage. I knew about the city and was told by everyone that it is completely different from Mysore and I also agree that it is. Every city has its own charm. The traffic here always baffled me initially. Now I am so used to it that I don’t get surprised anymore if I find some 100 cars stranded on the road at 12 am. Out of the many places I have visited at Mumbai, one of my favorites is the Marine Drive (I mean, how can it not be anybody’s favorite). My husband took me to Marine Drive for the first time at around 7 in the morning, a week after our wedding. I could see the place buzz with morning activities. That didn’t surprise me that time. It was like any other place for me. However, I just liked the place for its scenic beauty, the calmness and the breeze that occasionally brushes across your face. After that visit, I’ve never again been there to sit and enjoy the morning breeze, but have gone past it many times (I have lost count of it). I was never aware of the night time atmosphere of the Marine Drive until recently, when I saw it and was really surprised. We started going for a night time walk at Marine Drive once in a while. That is, when I observed a lot of things.
IMG-20141121-WA0003What can I say about my observations! First time, when I went there at night, I didn’t get surprised because we walked for a bit and just sat to enjoy the cool breeze. I saw a lot of people sitting by the side and relaxing. I could see people of all age groups enjoying and relaxing at the same time. It was like any other place for you – one could see couples (both young and old), families, friends and small children – all at 10 at night. My next visit was the one I was completely surprised about. Whilst we were walking I could see a lot of people enjoying as always. But as we started walking further and further I could see vendors selling small light snacks. What is unusual about it, one might ask! Nothing is unusual but the business idea of a small street vendor teaches a lot. In the dark it is obvious that nobody would be able to see what the vendor is selling. So the guy had a small LED light falling directly on his snack items that were for sale. It might not be new to people here, but for me it was a different sight altogether. I could see another vendor shouting ‘chai-coffee, chai- coffee’ at another end – all at 11.30 at night.
All of us in our family are crazy about movies. We usually end up going for late night shows on weekends. And on one such occasion when we were returning from the movie at 1.30 at night, I just couldn’t believe my eyes. I could see the same number of people sitting happily and chatting. Let alone the people, I could see small children playing there, while the families enjoyed the night out. As if that wasn’t enough for me, my next visit again surprised me. I saw a vendor cycling his way through selling ‘masala idli and sada idli’. I mean, the number of business opportunities this city offers, I don’t think any other place ever offers.
Seeing the variety of things happen at different points at this place really cheers me up for some reason. According to me it is the best place to just go relax and chill after a long day. There is a lot effort behind this very post of mine – bringing together the various observations over the past few months and compiling it into a post and also finding the apt pictures to post along with the post. The picture credits go solely to my husband. Thanks Mayur for the wonderful shots that go very well with my post!
With this I wish you very happy weekend. People at Mumbai, just take some time off and enjoy the weekend at Marine Drive.
Cheers!!!

Shopping at Colaba Causeway

DSC_0483Hello!! I’m back very soon as I’d previously promised, with something different and new on My Space. Being in Mumbai for two months now, one of the most interesting things I can do on my blog is build up Mumbai Diaries slowly, which would probably be of some help to people who wish to visit Mumbai for the first time. My road sense is quite fair (nothing much to boast about like my mom, who has a photographic road sense). But then, with the limited road sense, I make sure that I remember the places I visit in Mumbai. I have visited many places here. Being a typical girl, I love shopping (I just mean, any kind of shopping, though I don’t enjoy window shopping much). I’m sure all girls out there would agree with me. I can go on and on shopping for hours even without realizing the time. That is how I wanted to spend my last weekend- just shopping. When you have a fellow girl, then it turns out to be twice the fun. And when it happens to be three ladies shopping it is much more fun. In other words, I just can’t explain in plain simple words, how much fun we can have when we go shopping.

Weekend is always the time when the entire family is at home enjoying, bullying each other. And weekend happens to be the time when I actually find my sister at home, all for myself, without any tension. From the day I’ve come to Mumbai, Madhuri has been planning to take me to Colaba Causeway, the shopping heaven for girls of all ages. But somehow, things didn’t work out so far and our plan always got cancelled. Last weekend, we finally decided that it’s high time we actually went shopping (girls always love pampering themselves, at least, I love). So, like the three musketeers, mummy, Madhuri and I went shopping to just pamper ourselves at Colaba Causeway.

I had heard that Colaba Causeway is a heaven for girls with everything under the sun available at a single stretch. I was too eager to see what sort of place it is! I must say I was just too over excited to see the place. I must say, you really do find everything at one place – necklaces, bracelets, finger rings, head bands, anklets, chains, decorative items, clothes (every single type), footwear, hand bags and what not. I mean, finding everything at a place is something very awesome for a city like Mumbai because it saves your travelling time. Once you reach the place, you can just keep walking along the long stretch to find every single thing you’ve ever thought of owning. There’s nothing which you wouldn’t find there. For the first fifteen minutes or so I just went on admiring everything I could set my eyes on. It took me some time to get into the actual shopping mode as I’ve to admit that I was flabbergasted. But once I started off, then there was no one to stop me (Oh yes, my husband was intelligent enough to stay back at home rather than accompanying).  But as a matter of fact also, guys would really get bored at this place. If not all guys, at least, guys in our family would get bored to the core if they accompany us.

As I already mentioned, you find a variety of items which will for sure drive you crazy. But girls, just calm down and relax and also beware. I learnt a lot of shopping tactics from my sister (pat yourself Madhi, for instilling in me those important shopping tips while shopping at Causeway). The shopkeepers are proud owners of stuff which we girls go crazy about. So it’s obvious that the prices they quote will be a little too much. So just open your mouth, be firm and just get your price straight and do not give up. You will in the end get what you want. I don’t actually remember when I actually bargained last. But I thoroughly enjoyed my shopping at Causeway. We just didn’t realize that we walked for about three and half hours shopping. It was only after I came back home did I realize that my back had got the most of my shopping.

Everything apart, being a girl, I just loved being at Causeway and I’m sure girls, you’d all enjoy it as well. So what’s stopping you, pick up your bags and just go. I’m coming up with something too cool too soon.

Till Then, Cheers!!!