The trip starts at the Gate of India, from 8.30 am onwards. It takes more or less an hour before arriving at the island. The ferries are often crowdy, it is hot sitting at the upper deck. But the journey – once the ferry starts – is relaxing. When you arrive you can take a small train or walk directly to the caves’ entry where 120 stairs expect you. Well, if you are tired there are 4 men waiting with a wooden chair. If you want (and pay ) they carry you up to the hill…
A huge number of touristic shops are along the way. Food and drinks, bags, earrings, bracelets, elephants, of course, made by several materials, scarfs, all the Indian stuff is there … and magnets. I like magnets – so I am a proud owner of an Elephanta magnet now ;-).
At the top you get a fantastic view. The caves are impressive. Huge. Better than expected. Inside, you see people practicing Hindu rituals, with red flowers, water and some ruppies. They put it on these old big stones and pray. The caves have several entries and columns. The highlights are the big religious statues – it must be the several gods. I like their creativity, their expressions… These statues are very old, but they have survived many generations.
Then, there is also the hidden lake. With a lot of empty plastic bottles and cans inside, just thrown way. People living here take the water from this lake…and drink it.
Waste is everywhere. It is a pity.
Two hours are sufficient to visit the caves and surroundings. There are lots of different animals, monkeys, dogs, goats – they are a good contrast to the archeological and historical testimonials here. The animals are used to see so many human beings. Sometimes, the monkeys steal things from tourists. So, you have to watch out…
It is an attractive half day trip – without doubt.
What I did not expect was finding a group of Indians, probably very poor men, close to the caves, sitting on the ground. How they spend their day? They split huge stones into smaller parts! Just with a small tool and their own hands. It is a strange noise. Tac, tac, tac… Their wives – in very colorful clothes – stay with them, sit there, talk and look at the tourists passing by…with souvenir bags, big cameras and icecream. The extreme contrasts are visible everywhere in this country.
But it is difficult to describe. Just have a look at the pictures.