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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

A day out....

Christmas vacation is on, and our long vacation has been cut short to just a few days... more about that later... but as of now, we are stuck at home, with only trips to the ration office to look forward to (Ration card verification is on, you see, and there are forms to be filled.... papers to be attested.... and finally documents are to be submitted... amidst many arguments in hindi/marathi of course.....).

We decided to take a break and head out to some temples within Bombay - Siddhivinayak, Phanaswadi (Venkateswara Temple at C.P.Tank), and Mahalakshmi..... While I did click some pics of the first, I was dissuaded from using them, thanks to a couple of the army officers asking me not to click pics, so I am not going to put them up. There were no such restrictions at the other temples, but I stuck to just the outer view, and did not even try for some more....

But here are a few glimpses from our day out....

I have always been fascinated by the old houses and buildings of Bombay, and how they have taken on an entirely new look in the face of are just a few I managed to capture on this trip....

The Phanaswadi Venkateswara Temple....

..and Mahalakshmi Temple... probably the most famous temple in Bombay. 

According to one of the legends surrounding this temple, the goddess Lakshmi was roaming around, looking for a place to rest, since it was one of "those 3 dreaded days" of the month...... and all over, she was barred from entering the house. When she reached this place, she was welcomed into the house of one kind family, who cared for her, and thus she decided to bless them and stay on here for ever..... This is one of the reasons why Bombay is considered to remain wealthy at all times...

Incidentally, as the story goes, no one is ever barred from here for any reason.. what a great contrast to this day.. when we seek to separate people on the basis of religion, language, caste.....  I wonder how long the Goddess would continue to remain here in this situation!!!


  1. Nice post Anu.. Lucky you!! I'm fascinated by the old homes as well.. the first pic is awesome..

  2. im really amazed Anu, at the kind of travel you do, be it within B'bay or outside..and then u do these lovely write ups, that makes me feel like im wasting a LOTTTTTTTTT of time, just mopping indoors.. sighh..

  3. @ Pat: thanks.... every time i pass these buildings, I think of taking pics, but this was the first time i had my camera with me....

    @AJCL: actually, id rather be outside the house than inside, at any given time... am not a great one for any household chores.....

  4. This is very striking Anu. Interesting know-how of goddess Lakshmi and Mumbai! Truely loved it :)

  5. @Aarti : thanks..... it is an interesting story, and is relevant even today.. so just felt like sharing it...

  6. Your posting about the temples in mumbai brings back my memories during my days in mumbai, I really miss it!!! Oh, I love old houses too...

  7. Your posting has brought back my good old memories in mumbai..I like old houses too..


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