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Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Elephanta Caves - Three heads are better than one

This is another snippet of our recent India trip. My in-laws decided to treat us to a "elephanta caves trip" for our anniversary. Unfortunatly we had to fly back to the US on the same night. But we did have a great time. We travelled by car, boat, train and plane in 24 hours.. the bullock cart or horse cart would have completed the transport gamut.

First we went to the Gateway of India by Car. This was followed by a boat ride to the elephanta island. This almost takes two hours and we passed many tredging boats, oil tankers, defense ships etc. My father in law who is a shipping expert, gave me a detailed acccount of every type of vessel we saw on the water. My daughter was also running around the boat. It was very pleasant.

When we got off the boat though, it was extremely hot. Luckily there was a train to take us to the base of the caves. It was more like an open toy train but it pulled a 120 people comfortably. It was a relief, for such a hot day.

We went on to climb to the top of the mountain to reach the caves. The steps were very steep. We decided that my wife should go on a hand carried chair (palanquin of sorts). Four guys carry this chair to the top for a fee. Our first plan was to have our daughter go in the chair with my wife. She insisted on climbing the stairs on her own and just as the guys went out of sight promptly raised her hands towards me and gave the signal "carry me !".

This slowed us down a bit and by the time we reached the top, I was drenched and had to get rid of my shirt. My mother in law's leg started swelling as well. So the girls decided to take rest inside the caves while the boys decided to go explore.

The size of the sculptures and the pillars were amazing. Here are some sample pictures.

The best part was the three headed Shiva which had a beatific expression.
After taking pictures we made our way back to the boat.
It was a strenous trip but we were all happy. The day was coming to a close and by night we would be on a plane and trip would be behind us. My in-laws made our anniversary a memorable one.


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