Western India is famous for a string of rock-cut temples ranging in date from the 2nd century B.C. to the 12th century A.D. Around Mumbai alone one can see several of them including the Buddhist rock-cut temples of Kanheri and Kondivita and the brahminical caves of Elephanta, Mandapeshvar, and Jogeshwari within a radius of 20 kms.
The Elephanta Island is the site of the magnificent Elephanta caves, one of the principal tourist attractions of the Mumbai city containing beautiful carvings, sculptures, and a temple to the Hindu God, Lord Shiva. It also has traces of early Buddhist culture and is now designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
A Boat Ride to Elephanta Islands
We took an early local train to Churchgate, then a cab to Gateway of India to reach there by 8:30 in the morning. The idea was to reach the island as early as possible since last ferry back from Elephanta is at around 4:00 PM.
While buying the tickets you are guided by them as which gate you should head for, to take the ferry. Once they start boarding, the mad rush to get the best-view seat starts. As I always try to get the experience of both options; while going we took the seats on upper deck (by paying extra) & on return tired as we were, wanted to sit in shade.
The boats stand one after another touching each other and most often than not the passengers are asked to go to the farthest boat. It requires jumping from first to second, second to third.. all when they are rocking furiously. 🙂 Here also, we had to go to the farthest.
And then we started, leaving mesmerizing Gateway of India and the Taj behind.
Even if one is not interested in caves, let me assure you, the best part of the entire trip is the ferry rides to & fro Elephanta island.
Hum Saath saath hain. A row of boats holding hands together. 😉
A chugging ferry ride leaving the Taj and the Gateway of India, surpassing the fishing boats, large ships and oil tankers, small islands, enjoying the cool breeze and the surroundings.. I enjoyed every bit of it. It takes 45 minutes to reach the Elephanta Island.
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