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The Elephanta Caves

The Elephanta Caves , located on Elephanta Island, or Gharapuri, about 11 Km off the coast of the Gateway of India, Mumbai, are a UNESCO World Heritage Site. A visit to these caves, excavated probably in the 6 th century CE, is awe-inspiring, and also thought-provoking. Over the years, I have visited the caves a number of times, and also attended a number of talks by experts in the fields of art, history and archaeology on the caves. Together, they help me understand these caves, their art, and the people they were created for, just a little bit better. Every new visit, every new talk, every new article I read about the caves, fleshes out the image of what the island and the caves would have been like, at their peak. I last wrote about the caves on this blog, in 2011, almost exactly 11 years ago. Since then, my understanding of the caves has, I would like to think, marginally improved. Hence this attempt to write a new and updated post, trying to bring to life, the caves of Elephan

Navaratri 2009 - our Bommai Kolu

The most anticipated festival of the year is here at last, and we are all done with the preparations, and ready to make the most of the celebrations during the next nine days. Mornings are busy with all the work involved, but evenings are something to look forward to, with people coming home to look at our Bommai Kolu, and us visiting others’ houses for the same reason. The day ends with a visit to our local temple, where the celebrations are held on a grand scale, the highlight being a decorated tableau depicted some form of the Devi, either illustrating a story about her, or showing one of her many forms. Come; join me as I take you along with me through the navaratri festivities in my neighbourhood…..

We have worked long and hard for arranging our Bommai Kolu this year, a proceeding that was even more interesting, considering that we haven’t been able to celebrate any festival for the last two years. Here are the final results of all our hard work!

Here's the complete Kolu....

Take a closer look......

Take a closer look at some of the dolls......

The marapacchi..... The set on the right is a gift from my mom and aunt this year.... beautiful, aren't they??

Some of the gods and goddesses.....

Here's Shrek's son driving a cart full of sacks of grain!!

These are all wooden toys technically belonging to Samhith!

And here is the best part of our kolu - the arrangement for which we put in a whole lot of effort!

This is the first part - the city with the airport....

And here is the village with a jungle behind.....

And here's the railway line over the mountain which connects the two....

Take a closer look at the village.......right in front is the railway station....

and here is the village temple, built in the Kerala style by Samhith.... note the small Ganesha temple outside with a real idol inside.....

Here are more of Samhith's creations : a garden for the city......

...and another house, also for the city...

Here is the cliff overhanging the sea.. with sea creatures in it.....

And finally, here is Thomas the Tank Engine chugging along the mountain railway line.....

The preparations for this Kolu took ages, and led me to neglect most of my other duties, but the effort has been worth it! What do you think??????


  1. OH wow... simply superb!!! Both mom & son are super talented... Can you please ask Samhith to come help me or give me some tips now... :-)

  2. very nice golu.
    simply superb.congrats to sanhith and you for this wonderful idea.

  3. Really appreciate you and your son. I felt so good looking at those pictures. took me back to my child hood. I too have written a blog on Navarathri and kolu on wordpress. when you find time go through it.

  4. Patricia : Thanks so much!!!! both mom and son are thrilled with the appreciation, and would love to help you with whatever you need!!!!!

    Sandhya : thanks so much. .. samhith was thrilled!

    Chitra: thanks a lot! just went through your blog... god one!!!!

    ssstoryteller : thanks a lot..

  5. Kudos to the Mother and Son duo. I simply loved the railway line connecting the city and the village. Very creative and very nice. :)

  6. How I wish I had gone kolu-gazing with you! Wish I had the time! Had fun with yours tho and love the fact that a part of it is now at my place :P


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