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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

Ved Shala - The Observatory, Ujjain

Our trip to Ujjain was purely a temple tour, but I simply can’t imagine a visit to a place without going all over it, looking at interesting places and things. From all I had read about the city, the Kalideh Palace seemed an interesting place, situated on the banks of the Shipra at the site where once stood a sun temple. Unfortunately, our driver absolutely refused to take us to the palace, saying that there was nothing worth seeing there (this is certainly not true, from all that I have read of it, but he refused to budge). His refusal, coupled with a bit of unexpected delay at some other places led us to abandon the idea. The driver seemed to feel sorry for us, and as a sort of a bonus, took us to the observatory, which is called the Ved Shala.

The observatory at Ujjain was also built at the behest of Raja Jaisingh of Jaipur, the same man who was responsible for the observatories at Jaipur and Delhi. While I have not visited the one at Jaipur, I have visited the Jantar-Mantar at Delhi and have fond memories of visiting the place with my cousins and uncles. The observatory at Ujjain is not as grand as that one, but it is an interesting one, considering that Ujjain was the centre of Astronomy and astrology in ancient India. The Panchang or calendar in North India is based on the calculations made at Ujjain.

The observatory is something which has been much written about, so instead of going into details, I shall stick to my pics of the place with names of some of the yantras. Those of you who want to know more details, please check out the following link.

Look who's bearing the weight of the Earth on his tender shoulders..... a huge globe at the entrance.

Some of the Yantras..........

sorry, no pic of this one... seem to have missed it, running behind Samhith!

Samhith had a ball, scampering up and down!!!!

Recently, efforts have been made to decorate and maintain the place and make it interesting for the kids who visit... these are part of the developments.....

where there are flowers, there are butterflies......


  1. I got fascinated by the globe! So many places in this world.

    And your son must have had a wonderful time!

  2. This is fascinating. Makes me realise just how much of India I haven't seen.

  3. @ Mridula: Yes, the globe was fascinating, especially for him, considering its size!!!!!

    @ Lost Wanderer: Oh yes! there are so many more such fascinating places in India.... don';t think a lifetime's enough to see all of them:-))

  4. What a beautiful place, and I liked that the trip was not just temples but so many places :)

    Dagdusheth Ganpati

  5. Nice crisp post! Ujjain was indeed once a thriving centre for art and education in India. Must have been a very educational trip for Samhit....

  6. @ Bhavesh - well, much as we like temples, we like visiting other places too, and after a while, a strictly temple tour becomes boring.... thankfully, all of us think alike, and try to get in some other places on the tript too..

    @ Rashmie - not exactly.... he is too young to understand such things... so as of now, he simply runs around all over the place.... but as they say, travel does broaden the mind, and he is open to seeing and learning more about all the places we go to...

  7. That was again a good post. Nice to the pictures you've got there, especially Samhith with the globe.

  8. I didn't know that Ujjain had so much to offer including the temples. I am not a big fan of visiting temples but the next time my parents force me along, I know where to go :)
    Nice series of posts.

  9. @ Chitra : Thanks..... the pic was Shankar's idea,,, and it seems to be the best of the lot!!

    @ Sid: the next time you have to accompany your parents to a temple, let me know..shall tell you more interesting places to visit... :-))wherever there are temples, there are interesting places too,but usually few are aware of them!!!

  10. Woww, fascinating... I've always wanted to go to jantar mantar, maybe this yr if i do end up in Dehi!!!

    lovely pics amd write up... Samhith sure looks like he is having a ball.. and i ABSOLUTELY love the last pic with butterfly!! :)

  11. Very informative one, I find ur travelogues are much better in content , quality and writing need to learn from u a lot! and such a big globe!!

  12. Passed by your blog and got magnetized by Ujjain. Lovely write up and I felt as if I would have no trouble going around Ujjain the next time I plan to go there. Thanx for sharing


  13. @ Aaarti : thanks so much! Yes, do make a trip to the Jantar Mantar......its worth at least one visit.... and samhith made the most of the vacation... really had a 'ball' as u put it...

    @ Sri : THanks a lot!!! you flatter me!!!!

    @ Ms. Chitchat... Thanks a lot and welcome to my blogs..... ever since i started writing, I have tried to get as many details about a place as possible so that more people can know about the wonder that is India..

  14. That's a nice post Anu!
    I didn't know there was one observatory in Ujjain as well. I was always fascinated by these observatories in Delhi and Jaipur. Thanks for the info. :)

  15. Though you missed the Kalideh Palace, Observatory looks like a good replacement. :)

  16. @ Wandering soul : yes, this was info for us too...... and was as fascinating as the others...

    @ Bindhu : yes, for this time, it made a good change from all the temples we visited..... but next time i go there, i am planning to go first to the palace and then anywhere else!!!

  17. Varanasi also has a similar observatory built by Raja Jai Singh on the terrace of a building on the ghats of the river Ganges. Well worth visiting for a grand aerial view of the river.


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