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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

Our first encounter with the Kanchenjunga - A Photo Blog

It is the third highest mountain in the world, and the highest in India. Located on the border of Nepal and Sikkim, the name of the mountain range is written in various ways – Kangchenjunga, Kang-cheng-Dzo-nga and Kanchanjanga, among others. It is most commonly called ‘Kanchenjunga’, and it is one of the few mountain ranges so revered that even now, the peak is never scaled, out of respect for local sentiments.

The mountain’s name is said to come from the Tibetan phrase – Five Treasures of the Great Snow. The number refers to the five major peaks, and also to the five actual treasures  - Gold, Silver, Gems, Food Grains and Religious Texts.

These ranges are famed for disappearing for days at a stretch, behind clouds, showing no sign of existence, but we were lucky. We had our first sight of the majestic mountain range as we approached Darjeeling…

The peaks loomed over Tathagata Farms, where we stayed, far from the madding crowds of Darjeeling…

Over the next few days, as we explored Sikkim, the weather stayed clear, and the mountains watched over us, towering over the region like an omnipresent deity. No wonder the locals revere them!

They are also the biggest draw for tourists in the area, and the most visited places are the points which provide the best view of the ranges. We didn’t go to Tiger Hill in Darjeeling, but managed to the sun rise over the ranges, bathing them in a golden glow, near Baiguney in West Sikkim. I have already written about it here.

At Namchi, the Padmasambhava statue has a superb view of the snow-capped mountains…

and visitors at the TEMI Tea Estates click the mountains more than the plantation!

Around Gangtok, the best viewpoints also double up as temples, the only ones we visited in the region. The Hanuman Tok is, as the name suggests, a shrine to Hanuman. As at many mountains, it is also believed that he rested here while returning with the Sanjeevani mountain. The shrine is a relatively recent one, with an idol of the God installed in the 1950s by an officer posted here. The view of course, is magnificent….

The other point is Ganesh Tok, which is of course, a temple to Ganesha. This is an even more modern affair, but again, the view is what grabs the most attention.

However, the best view we had of the  Kanchenjunga wasn’t from any of these points, but somewhere near the Nathu La pass, when we visited the temple to Baba Harbhajan Singh.

The clouds had begun to set in, and had begun to cover the mountains. Yet, it was an impressive sight. It was here that we could see how the mountains changed as we approached the mighty range, and we finally realized just how lucky we were, that we had seen the mighty sentinels of this region, for over a week, without a single cloud obscuring them!

Here, seeing the mountains so close, and yet so far, so high, almost touching the skies, they did feel divine! 


  1. That's some grand views of Kanchenjunga! :)

    1. Thank you so much, Neelima! It feels wonderful hearing that, esp from you :D

  2. Majestic mountain range. Beautifully explained. Thanks.

  3. So majestic! Mountains like this give me a sense of peace and happiness. As a matter of fact, as I read your blog and enjoyed your photos, I have a postcard of the Grand Teton range in winter propped against my computer. :) The Tetons (in Wyoming, USA) are impressive, but would be only foothills compared to the heights of this mountain range. Thank you for the beautiful post, Anuradha!

    1. Thank you Natalie! I guess mountains everywhere are beautiful, no matter what the size. But of course, the impressiveness increases with size :D which means i have lots more to see and be impressed by :D you know what, you should plan a trip to India, and we should meet!

  4. Hi Anuradha,
    Seeing your post on The Kanchenjunga really captivated me and inspired me to pack my bags and leave for Sikkim. The pictures of the Kanchenjunga truly were majestic and unreal. You are very lucky to get a week of clear skies. I wish that would be the case when I visit, cheers.


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