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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

Beaches of Gokarna

I stood behind a small shrine, atop a hillock. Ahead of me, as far as I could see, was the sea. Below, the waves lapped at the rocks, sending a stray spray up to where I stood. On one side, I could see the rows of palms which designated the end of the beach. Beyond were rooftops, the only evidence of the town. Somewhere amidst those roofs was an ancient temple, the one I had come to visit. For once, it wasn’t just the temple, but the beaches which beckoned. For, I was at Gokarna, a town known just as much for its holy temple as its magnificent beaches.

Gokarna was nothing like I had imagined it to be. On an earlier trip, we had visited the temple and the main beach, but seen little else. Imagine my surprise then, when we left the highway and turned into a narrow lane, which led us through a thickly wooded forest, twisting and turning over the hills which surrounded the small town. Our sputtering auto surprised peacocks out of their peaceful paths, and we were entranced by the sight of them flying for cover. We rounded a curve, and one of the many beaches came into view. This one, we were told, was Kudle Beach.

The beach’s name comes from the word ‘small’ in Kannada. And it was small indeed, compared to other beaches I had seen, even in this region. The hills were obviously responsible, since they divided the long coast into small nooks – hidden beaches, which, even today, had to be approached by foot!

A little further was the beach we were headed to – among the most popular in the area, one which draws people from far and wide – Om beach. Here again, the hills hid the beach till we were almost right above it. Walking from the auto stand, where our driver dropped us, we could see why the beach was so named….

Of course, we were watching from the wrong side! The hills on the opposite end would show the ‘Om’ symbol perfectly, but it wasn’t difficult to imagine from where we stood.

Three beaches may seem enough for a town as small as Gokarna, but these aren’t the only ones! There are two more beaches, further beyond the hills, unapproachable during the monsoons, except for those willing to trek. Needless to add, we didn’t even try! Three such beautiful beaches was enough to keep us busy! 

This was originally published on the Club Mahindra Blog. You can read the article here


  1. Hello.. Gorkhana Beaches are amazing.. Nice clicks.. Thanks for sharing..

  2. Nice photographs! Brings back some good memories. Need to re-do the moonlight trek between these beaches.

    1. Thank you, Sankara. Good to see u back here! I wish I could do that trek too...

  3. Your pics are amazing Anu..Loved the OM Beach

    1. Thanks so much, Chitra! Its a beautiful place. you should visit Gokarna sometime. There are so many interesting temples all around!

  4. Replies
    1. Thanks Niranjan. your posts on Gokarna were really useful for me while planning this trip. thanks so much for that!

  5. Nicely written article. I suggest to visit Mirjan fort which is quite near from Gokarna..

    1. Thanks so much! I did visit Mirjan fort too, and will write about it soon. I just saw your photo, and its wonderful! much better than any I have clicked! great work!

  6. Gorkhana Beaches are amazing. Nice captures. Thanks. India holidays Tours -

  7. It’s hard to find knowledgeable people on this topic, but you sound like you know what you’re talking about! Thanks
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  8. amazing.. i have been to gokarna and after reading this, wish to be back there.. such a beautiful place.

  9. Thank you, It's really amazing to find good beaches in Karnataka. Till now, I was of the opinion that if one has to see beaches, Goa is the best place, After reading your inputs, Karnataka is equally good.


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