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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


We see all kinds of animals on our roads... There are dogs all over the place, cows and buffaloes are seen now and then, goats and sheep are a regular feature as Id approaches, pigs are a common sight, and we even see the odd elephant at times. The only animal we see rarely is the donkey...

On our recent trip to interior Maharashtra, the sight which greeted us on most roads was that of a donkey (or donkeys) standing shock still in the middle of the road! 

Its an amusing sight to see the donkeys stand so perfectly still in spite of all the noise and chaos. Of course, it is not so amusing for those who drive on those roads. Nothing makes the donkey move - not the loud blowing of horns, not the irritated cursing, not the sudden swerving to avoid the donkey! 

Have you seen a donkey on the road? Do you find it amusing or irritating? 


  1. Anu it depends on the mood. If I have already been in traffic for a while and I want to get home I would not like donkeys obstructing the way!

    1. Yes, Mridula, I guess thats true.... its good that we rarely see donkeys in Mumbai, so its only when we travel that we see them.. and most of the time, we are relaxed and in no hurry, so its more amusing than irritating!

  2. In our fast paced life, Donkeys are a reminder for us to take things Slow!! Even if that means coming to a complete standstill to take stock of things!!

    1. very well put, Sowmya! sometimes wish we could just be as still as them, dont you?

  3. Ma'am you haven't mentioned the beauty of those poor animals. Poor because being helpless. Since you travel make a trip to Kutch as well to see those lovely wild asses.
    The animals can't be blamed for being on the road. We have to blame ourselves for adoring them when the mattupongal day comes and let them loose everywhere to fend for themselves the rest of the year. It is like ready up the vehicles spike and span come ayudhpooja and ride or drive all throughout the year just dust the seat and ride/drive.!!!

    1. I completely agree, Kumar... its true for most of the animals we see on the road.. the gaur is such a majestic animal, it is hard to believe that the buffalo on the road is a relative... and it is left loose because the chap running the tabela has neither the space to house it nor the grass to feed it. he lets it loose free to eat up any junk it finds and only uses it when he needs to milk it.. and these donkeys are used simply to carry stuff and left loose to fend for their own... its sad, its a pity, but this is true all over India.. unfortunately... i have wanted to go to kutch for a long time, lets hope the time comes soon

  4. I fell in love with donkeys, when a neighbour got an abandoned baby donkey home. I was about 11 at that time and we were in Jodhpur and the baby donkey was a great rallying point for the neighbourhood to pamper and love. Pappu, the donkey's name, was an absolute darling and was with us for about 4 months when the neighbours took him to their village.

    Donkeys are not meant to be domesticated and the way they behave is only a reaction to their surroundings. There is no point in being amused or irritated with the donkeys; any reaction should be directed at their human owners !


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