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Elephanta Caves

30th Sept 2001

After Gangotri-Badrinath Trekking Expedition in May-June 2001, we had plan this exploratory visit to the Elephanta Caves. I was wondering why I haven't planed this before since from when I started my exploration habit(1988). Actually our plan was to go out for two days trek at Lohgadh, but due to some reason it has got canceled & we landup into a fantastic satisfactory visit to Elephanta Caves.

We reached  the famous Gateway Of India at around 12:20pm & booked our return ticket for Elephanta Caves at Rs. 85/- each by so called Deluxe Launch. As per our expectation & Indian Standard, Deluxe Launch stood for few normal arranged seats  inside the boat, as well a special service for Rs.10/- additional to sit on top of the boat. Whatever it is, since we had decided to visit the place we were eager to reach the place, all this money worthiness matter was there for a few minutes till starting of our boat. I was accompanied with my trekking partner Milind. Since we were visiting first time to this place we thought this should be a good experience. As per our initial inquiry this tour takes total 4 hrs. 2 hrs. for total journey & rest 2 hrs. for exploring the place. This was our one of the longest sea journey we had ever experienced. 

As soon the boat started I loaded my Camera gun by film role & got ready to shoot this beautiful journey. There were a group of Firangi(Gora) in our boat like us, entertaining other travelers(due to their typical clothing like visitors in the hot summer day). Everybody started to maintain their balance in the beginnings, so little excitement to all. My first photograph was for Mazgaon Dock, where some fighter boats of Indian Navy exists & so on.  It was wonderful to see Mumbai from the sea. While reaching to the destination it was an experience of fresh sea breeze which made all of us fresh & still more eager to see the Gharapuri Caves; previously this place were known as Gharapuri.

After one hr. we reached the destination. At the entrance one fancy train was waiting for all who wish to reach the base of the caves. Naturally for the first comer it seems the base of the caves are far away, but actually the distance is hardly 10 minutes by walk. We walked to the destination. There are total 5 caves in the vicinity. After 5th caves one small route heads towards a giant Canon. From the top we can get a beautiful view of the surrounding area.

***   Nature of these caves are Brahmani Shaiva from 6th Century A.D. ***
The main cave is huge supported by around 26 Pillars with various positions of Lord Shiva. The main attraction is the TRIMURTY, Three headed idol of Bramha, Vishnu & Mahesha. Peaceful Bramha is the creator, gentle Vishnu is the preserver & ferocious Mahesh is the destroyer. Elephanata name was given by portuguese due to huge rock cut elephant now shifted to Jijamata Zoo in Mumbai. The site of these magnificent caves, containing beautiful reliefs, sculptures, and a temple to the Hindu god Lord Siva, is now a designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site

At 3:30pm we were back on the board for our return journey. While returning we saw an Indian Submarine. While reaching the Gateway Of India we took some photographs of Gateway of India. While returning, as the gate comes closer; I got a feeling like I will be entering back to Mumbai via Gateway.
Do visit this place atleast once in your lifetime. If treated with respect, a visit to these caves will be a very memorable one for any visitor to Mumbai.

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