Saturday, 25 September 2010

Elephanta Island

On the 24th the Bosun of m/y Ashena, Mohsin, asked if I would like to visit the Island and I thanked yes as I had not gone there yet (as it often happens in many places, you stay a long time but you never see the sights thinking "Oh, I still got plenty of time to do that).

The train from jetty to shore

Souvenirs, anyone?


The 1st cave

Mohsin has his own ferry boat to bring people from Gateway to Elephanta so I got special treatment as he knew everyone there but I still had to pay admission. Anyway, it went for a good cause as long as the money is used to maintain the Museum site on the Island and not fatten some Official's pocket.

Inside

As the shores are very shallow the jetty naturally is very long until it reaches acceptable depths for the ferries. There is a mini-train that can carry passengers all way to the shore. Nice touch but probably the lack of maintenance of the engine had the train leaking oil at the end stations which showed as a large black stain.

Carvings

We walked the whole jetty to shore and then there was a shallow staircase leading up to the caves. The staircase was lined with souvenir shops selling knick knacks for every taste. Closer to the top there was even a few restaurants and guest houses. The Island does not have electricity so the rooms are without A/C or fan.

Big Lingam in the background

After this we reached the entrance gate where I shelled out the 500 Rs foreigner fee. We walked forward and soon enough arrived to the first cave. It was carved straight into the mountain as were all the caves there, probably from existing caves that were shaped out to rooms, pillars, etc.

..another cave..

The path went from west onto the east side of the Island where I could see the JNPT container terminal on the main land and the Elephanta Island three villages and the fresh water dam supplying them. The path was lined with monkeys looking for food, some people bought bananas to give to them.

...and another...

The Island water reservoir

Unfortunately when I had reached the east side we had to turn back and walk back the same way as there was no path around (at least not officially). Once we arrived back to the entrance we exited and followed signs to the "Old cannon" which was a longer climb up on the top of the Island. There are 2 old cannons perched on the top of the Island during the English era. The cannon's with their muzzles turned down and locks removed most likely due to possible terror attacks.

The Cannon

Mohsin & Cannon


Mohsin told me that there was supposedly a tunnel connecting the two cannons but I did not feel tempted to go explore old military catacombs. We soon turned back and headed back down. In between we stopped at a drink vendor to enjoy a refreshing lemon soda. After finishing the soda we ventured down to the shore and got our tender back. Quite enjoyable afternoon.

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