Hey 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.
We 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!