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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

Our 'Pet' Snails!

Samhith's fascination for snails is well known to all those who read this blog! This monsoon was no different, though the enthusiasm has worn off a bit for me, and I refused to take pics of every snail we saw! He, of course, continues to look for them, and at last count, we had at least 20 big ones living among the bushes opposite our building, and numerous small ones (babies). The last time he tried to count them, he managed to go till about 80 before the bus arrived and he was forced to stop! That will give you an idea about how prolific the snails are at reproduction!! and also why they are considered pests!!! He has even started thinking of them as his pets, but which he leaves free to roam around, since he doesn't want to put them in a cage!! We have a variety of snails, ranging from huge ones about 10cm long, to tiny ones less than a centimeter in length! Here are some of them!!

These are the most common snails we see. The shell alone is about 5 cm in length, and about 3 cm in circumference at its widest part. When the snail is out, the complete length goes up to almost 10 cm! These are just estimates.. (I have not got around to actually measuring them, though Samhith wants me to!!)

These are babies of the same variety, so are smaller, with about 3 cm long shells...

And we saw this one at the Maharashtra Nature Park. Samhith took the photograph himself!

And now we come to the twist in the tale. We recently started a tiny kitchen garden at home with a few pots on our window sill (more about that later), and to our surprise, we found some really tiny snails in them!! These were less than a centimeter long even when they were out, and the shells too tiny to measure! Here are some pics...

Of the two snails in this pic, the larger one has a shell about a centimeter long! The second is half of that!!!

Persistence does pay off, for, after taking about a hundred pics, I managed to get some decent ones of them....these have been cropped and enlarged....

And now we come to the best part of the story..... We found a snail the other day on a leaf, which Samhith took to school, much to the amusement and entertainment of his friends! The fact that he actually touches it without a qualm makes him feel like a hero, which has encouraged him to 'collect' more!! Here is one which he found yesterday, brought it home, and has taken to school today!!!

That Samhith likes snails and would want to take them to school came as no surprise, but that his friends would like them too, definitely was a big surprise for me!! Apparently, they have kept the snails among the plants in their 'pot culture' class, (wonder what will be their reaction when the snails eat up all their plants!!) and to top everything, they have even named it!!!! He is now a 'class pet' - of course, when the manage to find him, for, in Samhith's words, "He escaped through the window into the plant there, but we know he will be there, so its ok. He is our pet, but he is free!" Kids come up with the most interesting things, dont you agree? 

Other Snail Posts on this blog:


  1. Rashmie @ Mommy LabsAugust 8, 2011 at 3:17 PM

    How adorable this love of Samhit is for Snails :) Totally sweet and innocent. This photography practise that you are gaining will make you a pro (has already made you, infact) at snail photography.
    I have an idea - give that camera to Samhith so he can shoot his photos hmself - of his fav subject. That will be double whammy. He pursuing his love for snails as well as capturing them and learning some camera tricks!
    What a snail carnival he has got going in his class as well. I LOVE this story :) - had me grinning from ear to ear!

  2. Thanks so much, Rashmie! He did try to take pics of the snails, but unfortunately, their size and my camera make it difficult for him! The snail pic from MNP is his, though, because it was in the open... near our place, there are too many bushes, and the snails disappear before he manages to focus and click!! am trying to get him to write something about the experience at school... have promised to chip in with my photographs to help him out, but lets see what happens!!

  3. Great Anu, Good to hear the kids love them. Hope they stick on this fascination and carry them into the next generation.

  4. Samhith likes snails! That is great.

  5. Thanks, Santosh! I hope so too...

  6. oh yes, Mridula! wait for a while and see the kinds of things chhavi starts to like :)

  7. These are fantastic snail shots. I have only seen empty snail shells, I don't think I have ever seen a live one. Don't know why but your site always takes an unusually long time to open and leave comments.

  8. Thanks Pradeepa! There are plenty of snails in my area, and Samhith has loved seeing them since he was quite small.. its only now that he has built up the courage to pick them up, though!!
    About the site, this seems to be a recurring problem.. have been toying with the idea of shifting to my own domain since the pics are large size and take time to load, but wonder if it will really solve the problem :(

  9. Excellent photographs. It appears that now you are a proud owner of a DSLR.

  10. Thanks so much! but no, that happy moment hasnt yet come... am still stuck with my digicam!

  11. What a pleasant surprise! Good to see young Sanhith has an intense interest in snails! There're a lot of amazing snails out there to explore. I'm sure he will be very fascinated! All the best in his endeavours!

  12. What a pleasant surprise! Good to see young Sanhith has an intense interest in snails! There're a lot of amazing snails out there to explore. I'm sure he will be very fascinated! All the best in his endeavours!


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