Last Friday , I thought I was overworked. Fed up of my workload, I felt like going away from the whole atmosphere for a change.. Cos I have experienced Change brings in a lot positive things.. So I followed up with my brothers for the pre-registered, planned Naval Dockyard Trip. But it wasn’t on cards. There wasn’t any confirmation received. Then I suggested the Elephanta Caves trip. Luckily they agreed. Also we decided ( All on Yahoo Messenger, This part of chat was done on Yahoo!) we could call our Orkut and ULHAS friends.. The More the Merrier. So it was a unusual Sunday morning , had to get up at 6 - which I don’t do on normal days even- and reach Mumbai CST station at 8:30. My cousin had come home previous night. so I had company :-)Else it would have been a lonely stretch..
Reaching there, we( Ananth and Me) found that my brother, Abhi, and Nagesh were already there sipping Coffee. As obvious , we joined them in that. As we were discussing our regular topics, Yahoo groups of which we are members, their moderators, our Yahoo conferences, Orkut groups, Orkut Discussion topics, etc. Abhi found a interesting frame of BMC Building and got the camera to capture it. As we all followed, all of us found various things and we started clicking. ( Vaise do hi camera the, EK DigiCam and Ek AnaCam , But still everybody was looking out). Tap Tap ! Here is brand Ganesh Nayak , in his favorite "Lunch&Tea" yellow. As he already knew others, only I was introduced to him. Since he was the last member supposed to join at that time of the day, we started off towards the Gateway of India on foot. As globally known, Mumbai hosts a lot of Heritage buildings, and incidentally we saw many of them enroute. And the cameras in hand went click-click! :-P
Gateway of India
A magnificent structure in itself, and a Beautiful sight to see in the morning, when the Sun Shines at the Gateway. Built in 1911(Is this correct?) in the honor of King George V, it still stands intact in Republic of India. But our centuries older structures like the Stone caves of Elephanta and many others ?... Thts how we are tolerant! so we are different from others! Again going Click click for some beautiful snaps depicting "The Mumbai" and planning to make the Bangloreans of Internet communities jealous, we spent some time there. Finding our Economy Launch which started off towards Gharapuri - Islands where the Elephanta Caves are carved out in stone.
The Sea View
I wasn’t looking at the endless mass of water for the first time, but as always, when I see a water body, I was mesmerized. Water draws me towards it.. I like watching the waves dancing with each other on the rhythm of the wind. As our Launch went inside the see, we could watch the Mumbai Skyline..going farther from us and showing all the landmark buildings. Also many specs in the sea, growing to become Ships, Oil tankers, Watch-Islands( Watch-towers on Islands) with all the necessary security measures. Fortunately, "PHOTO GRAPHI" is not allowed on the Launches. But we enjoyed the trip watching all Sea-marks (Land-marks) and the commentary by Nagesh and Abhi. The last landmark was the Trombay Island, and just opposite was our Destination - Gharapuri! It was an amazing sight to have such a Nationally important structure openly in front of a world-famous tourist spot! Or is it an Illusion?
Alighting from the Launch on land, after being water-borne, for 1 & 1/2 hour, we actually lightened the weight of the Launch. After a short discussion on to or not to try the Mini-Train, we decided to go by the 11 number vehicle. Only this way we could actually get to savor the salted "Bora" and "Avalo". Arey I shud not forget to mention the "Gharapuri Statoin" We dint this was the first Spell check for Words there.. Furthering we even found "Elephatnta". Then there was a "SHOT CAT to Canon Hill" instead of a Short Cut.
After buying the third ticket ( first was the Launch, second was at the entry of the Island and the third at the entry of the Caves) , we entered the premises of the caves.. An amazing coincidence is that the world famous face of Trimurti( Brahma, Vishnu,Mahesh) or "MaheshMurti" as it is called , faces directly to the 'Reactoreshwara' as if it is guiding it to unlock the infinite energy locked in infinitesimal particle. Being a science student , it seems an exaggeration, But since I have seen a Reactor under construction, I believe in similarity in an Atomic reactor and Shivalinga. To relate Indian "Mythology" or as I call it Indian Scriptures with Modern tech is a topic of controversy and I prefer to keep away from controversies. As we entered the Caves, it took us a different world altogether. As we knew, they are Rock-cut caves . The cool atmosphere inside, as opposite to the hot air outside was welcoming . The Magnificent sculptures, the minute details incorporated are fabulous. There is the Trimurti( Mahesh Murti) in centre. This has the Ardha-Nari-Nateshwara at the left of it. There are other portrayals of Ganesh, Nataraja-Shiva, Atmalinga episode-giving it to Ravana, Veerabhadra Shiva, and many more such Shivarupa etched in the Sculptures.. As the History goes, the Foreign invasions on Our country have destroyed these caves to lot extent. Probably only one of these is in the original unbroken form. That is one of the Dwarpals who is at a dark end. Else all of them have broken their parts.. There seems to have been some attempts to reinforce some sculptures with RCC , but in vain. They dont hav the originality. When we see the huge carvings we are overwhelmed by the art and minute details taken care.. At the same time the sad state they are in brings in the shame.. We havent been able to protect our heritages. Even today, do we take care that we dont throw the wastes in the provided dustbins? or are we careless enough to throw them in the easily available corner? After the , now usual , round of clicks with trial of some Photo tricks, we came out of the caves. Further venturing led us to way to go atop the caves. Trying to get the fun of climbing, we reached the top where the clear view of the span around was awaiting us.. the Whole stretch of the Gharapuri Island lay around us.. The breath taking view of Mumbai and Navi Mumbai Skylines, the beautiful Trombay island in front.. My words fall short for the view.. After devouring the view, we headed to find a place to devour the oondis ( More about oondis on http://answerinwind.rediffblogs.com/ and http://ananthpai.blogspot.com/ ) and "adgai" a pickle of Kadgi. Wow! that was our reaction to the Oondis and Adgai..
Next Destination...SHOT CAT to Canon Hill ;-)
That was the board that led us to the Canon Hill, The Hill from where probably the ruler controlled the see around.. There is a rusty canon in place.. While Nagesh , Abhijit and Ananth were trying Camera tricks with the Canon like whistling thru it, smoking it as a pipe, playing handball.. Ganesh and I savored the cool breeze on the rocks. The 'Snap'pers were looking funny trying to adjust the view and distance. Finishing up we came out to the way downhill thru a an alley probably the rooms for storing the Gunpowder for the canons as well as the resting place for the canoneers. The way was quite lighted but the rooms were pitch dark..
Back to the Jetty
Watching the time and the heat, we decide to walk back to the shore to return back to Mumbai. On the way down, seeing the pearls and other sea-wares on display, I could not resist having a pearl tops. Very simple ones, but will be a souvenir..Thts wht I thought! (I doubt if they are real pearls..but tht was a second thought ) Our bantering was continuously on.. and After a few more snaps of our primate brothers.. finally we reached the jetty. On the way back, we were tempted to sit for a while idling away breathing in the sea, but a star was expected to join us.. There a Launch was waiting to take us to Gateway.. We climbed aboard it and lo! ..we were started on our way back.. In the span of one and half our we were back to Gateway, Ganesh slept halfway and we dint hesitate to click the nidrasana pose.
The Star Attraction
I have reached this part after typing for so many days in discrete packets..So will continue on the Star Attraction some other time..I hope I havent disappointed anyone ;-)