The Elephanta Caves, Mumbai

The Elephanta Caves, Mumbai

India is known for one of the oldest civilization in the world. India is also known for large population and diversity in religion, languages and culture. India is known for a country of all seasons, for all season and by all seasons. India is also known for unaccountable number of places of worship by almost every religion of reckoning.

There is place near Mumbai (India).It involves almost every kind of travelling modes used by mankind to reach there. This place is being gainfully lived in harmony by people from several communities. Yes, we are talking about Elephanta Island where Elephanta caves designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is located.

Elephanta Caves are a network of sculpted caves situated at a height of about 100 meters in the Mumbai harbor almost 10 Km East of the city of Mumbai that look to be cradled in the arms of the Arabian Sea.

The Elephanta caves consist of five Hindu caves and two Buddhist caves. Caves and sculptures of various gods are cut into the rocks. Their history goes back between 200BC and 8th. Century AD. The main cave was a Hindu place of worship. The place was deserted during the Portuguese rule beginning 1534. You shall also find a pond (Baavari) at that height with inroads perhaps connecting all the caves where “Sanyasis” (Spiritualists) used to reach from their caves to freshen themselves.

The place must be visited for its historical and sculptural imprints where one community takes you near the Arabian Sea, second community strews the courtyard of Gateway of India, third community takes you across the waters, a fourth community sells eatables, fifth community sells artifacts and sometimes a sixth community acts as a guide for you.

Reaching the caves has spectrum of almost all kind of conveyance. You shall reach Mumbai (India) by air. You may take a cab or prefer to catch a local train to feel the Indian way of life. From the railways station, Victoria (horse driven royal cart) or taxi would reach you to the Gateway of India of the British times. You shall have to catch a launch, boat or ferry to reach the island which is about 14 nautical miles. The launch takes one hour. At the shore of the island, a toy train will take you near the site which is less than a kilometer. The caves are situated at the hilltop almost 100 meters above the ground. You have to go there on foot negotiating rock laid stair cases and slopes. For physically disabled, there are chairs bounded on both sides with bamboos and carried on shoulders by four people.

The main cave has the famous “Trimurti” known as three manifestation of ultimate reality- Creator, preserver and Destroyer. It was this place which was chosen by the eminent writer, W. Somerset Maugham for his dejected Larry to get mental peace and spiritual enlightenment after a conflicting tryst with destiny in his famous fiction “The Razor’s Edge.

The rest is infinite for you to stop, look, listen and if you have the urge: meditate.