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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

Fort Kochi - Part 8: A Boat Ride

Wandering the roads of Mattanchery after visiting the Palace and the Jew Town, the Jetty beckoned, and we headed off to take a boat tour. After all, the sea and the port are the reasons for Fort Kochi’s existence, and its importance. And so, after all those long, detailed, historical posts, here is a photo blog for you…

The sea beckons, Fort Kochi to the left, Willingdon Island to the right... the contrast is clearly seen!

This is the mainland... the city of Cochin... the towering buildings line the new Marina... 
The islands however, have more interesting structures....

On Willingdon Island stands the old Port Trust Office, a heritage structure

Next to the old building stands the new office...
brand new, yet beautiful and striking in its own way. 

As for Fort Kochi, the shore is lined with old, colonial structures, some more majestic than the others, a few of them now Heritage hotels. 

 The Brunton Boatyard

This pretty colourful one is Aspinwall House

Aspinwall was among the oldest of the commercial establishments set up in Fort Kochi. I have no idea if this is still the headquarters of the company, but I would so love to go inside and take a look!

I have no clue as to what this is, but it looks like it has something to do with the coast guard.
The old fashioned charm is very much in evidence, isn't it? 

A visitor stands at the back gate of the Pepper House Cafe.
The grafitti on the walls were part of the Kochi - Muziris Biennale

This old structure surely looks like it can do with some care and effort. Imagine how beautiful it could look!

When we tear our eyes away from the buildings, there are boats to see...

 small fishing boats with nets in them..

Big boats which carry passengers to Cochin and elsewhere

Motor boats which double up as fishing boats, or for use of the Port

And then, there are the people...

Solitary fishermen passing the time...

Waiting for the net to reel in their daily catch

And big boats filled with local fishermen, and dock workers, waiting to leave, either for work, or to go back home. 

And then, there are the omnipresent Chinese Fishing nets

And, where there are fishing boats, fishermen and fishing nets, how can there not be birds? 

Gulls, Terns, Egrets, Herons and Brahminy Kites jostle for space, and fish, amidst this teeming mass of humanity.

It began raining while we were on the boat, and work went on as usual. For us, it was an experience... for them, it was life! 

  • Ferries are a common mode of transport in this area, and there are regular passenger as well as car ferries. This map from Wiki Travel is a handy guide to the routes and the frequency of ferries.
Map courtesy Wiki Travel

Tips and Suggestions:
  • It is easiest (and cheapest) to take one of the Fort Kochi – Ernakulam ferries to truly experience the journey. In that case, the Main Jetty at Fort Kochi is a better choice.
  • The Mattanchery Jetty has fewer options, though during the tourist season, there are regular boats hired out to tourists. This can be quite expensive, though a lot easier in some ways. We hired a whole boat, at the rate of something like Rs.500 for half an hour. It was enjoyable though, so no complaints. I would however, like to try (and would advise you to try too) the regular services.
  • The Fort Kochi – Vypin ferry is the shortest and easiest of the lot. It is barely a 5 minute journey, but there are services through the day. Also, this is near the beach, so easy to go across and come back. This one has a vehicle jetty too, and we used it to get to Cherai by auto. (That was another wonderful experience, in the pouring rain! )


  1. Nice captures of Fort Kochi. It comes alive during Biennale when the whole place is full of colours.

  2. Enjoyed looking at the beautiful photographs.

  3. I enjoyed this place on a rainy evening. Excellent one.


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