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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

Meeting the Mummy at the Museum in Mumbai

Samhith sitting in one place is not something you can see very often. Samhith listening to something intently is even rarer! But, there was a time last week, when my little boy actually sat quietly (well, almost quietly) for over an hour, intently listening, asking questions in between, peering close to see the details he was hearing about. What was it that interested him? Nothing less than the Egyptian Mummy which has travelled all the way from London to our very own Mumbai!

Photo Courtesy: Mummy - The Inside Story, Facebook Page

Nesperennub was a priest, who, like other members of his family, served at the temple complex of Amun-Ra at Karnak, in the shrine of Khons. The reason for his death isn’t very clear, but he must have lived sometime between c. 945 – 715 BC. His mummy was discovered at Luxor, the site of the ancient city of Thebes, in the 1890s and brought to the British Museum in London, in 1899. Now, more than a century later, he travels the globe, educating people across the continents, about his ancient civilization.

What makes this even more interesting is the fact that the exhibits don’t just explain the history and practices of the Egyptians, but they explain how we know about these things in the first place. Each item in the exhibit has its own story, and explains how it fits in with the rest. The mummy literally comes to life, with the visual presentation taking us inside, showing us what is left of Nesperenubb, and how we learn so much about him.

The Mummy exhibit begins with a visual presentation in the auditorium. “Mummy – The Inside Story” is screened every single day, every hour, on the hour, at the Auditorium right next to the Museum store. Please sit through the presentation before setting forth to see the exhibits. Believe me, it helps explain so much!

The exhibition itself is spread over 4 rooms, and there are free guided tours available at 11:00 AM and 2:30 PM every day. If you are not in time for these, or want a peaceful tour of the exhibits, there are audio guides available at the entrance for Rs. 70. This is not too steep a charge for a guide which takes you through the entire exhibition, step by step. The running time for the audio guide is about 45 minutes, but actually walking through the exhibits and listening to it took us more than an hour and a half. And this is what made Samhith actually sit down and listen. No human guide could have done that! So, go, get yourself and your kids an audio guide and see how much more they listen!

There is no doubt that the exhibition is aimed at the children. The language is simple, and easy to understand, no matter how complex the story told. Besides, the third section is just for kids – there are books to read, bookmarks to be made, drawing and colouring to be done, and photos to be taken, all on the Egyptian theme. Besides all these, there are also some lovely books at the exit, perfect for kids of all ages! My only grouse is that most of them are too expensive. However, the exhibit catalogue is on sale, and is worth a buy. It explains the entire exhibition in detail, and helps you remember all the facts you might have missed or forgotten.

The Mummy is at the Mumbai museum for exactly 2 more months – till the 24th of March. If you live in Mumbai, or are even visiting, during this period, please do not miss this exhibition. The museum has been kept especially open on Mondays just for this, so please make the most of it.

The Museum also has put up a load of information on their website, giving information for people visiting, for teachers, and also activities for kids. Please check their website before you go.

There are also loads of activities for kids, but most of the events have been held either on weekdays or weekends when we haven’t been free. But I have been hearing good things about them, so if you can, go, attend them... and let us know how they were. Also, there are special activities conducted for school groups, and you can contact the museum for further details.


  1. Will try to go .Thanks for Sharing

    1. you should surely go, Vishal. will await reading about it on your blog!

  2. Thanks for sharing! wil surely take my niece there. super excited already :)

  3. Is this still on?? Wanna know till when are these in India?


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