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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


If you ever go to the Gateway of India, you cant miss these guys.... they are everywhere!!

They roam around with a camera in hand, clicking photos of the multitudes of tourists.  They have been around for what seems forever!!! I remember a time when they used to work as a group - one clicking photos while the smaller boys ran to get the photos developed. The customer was asked to come back in an hour, and the photo would be ready. There was also a phase when the Polaroid was all the rage! Instant photos!! Customers lined up just for the thrill of seeing the developed image emerge from the camera!! Digital cameras and photo printers have made life easier for them. They simply take a pic, print it, and hand it over to you within a few minutes, and go on their way, looking for their next customer.

These guys are great at spotting prospective customers. I have never been accosted by them when I have been there alone..... but every time I go with Samhith, they are right there, promising the best photograph!! And they can get really pesky when we are there with the full family!!  This time, I was at the Gateway with my cousins and Samhith, and one of the chaps approached us. And then he spotted the DSLR hanging from my cousin's neck, and the high zoom camera hanging from mine, and turned away, but not before giving me a big smile!! 


  1. Well said Anu. In Mussoorie one of them told me, I will click your's from your SLR only. I just smiled and moved ahead!

    1. true Mridula, these guys are everywhere!! and most people do enjoy having their photo taken, so they manage to make a living too, i guess!! there are few of us completely uninterested in our own pics!

  2. I loved that last line!!! Could picture the scene so vividly!!!!


  3. How about offering them back to click their photo?

    1. Hmm yes, Shrinidhi,good idea, should do that sometime....

    2. The contents are really good…

  4. The contents are really good…

  5. It isnt easy to get away from them. :)

    1. absolutely!!! they can stick like leeches at times... which is why people like her are a refreshing sight!


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