CST and Elephanta Caves over a Weekend
I was in Mumbai over the weekend and went to the two UNESCO sites over there – CST and Elephanta caves. I have been to CST before, but this was my first time to Elephanta. Elephanta almost didn’t happen – i got to know only the day before that the ferries to Elephanta island are closed during the monsoon. And, none of the phone numbers published on the Maharashtra tourism website worked. I still took a chance and went to the Gateway of India (where the ferries start from) early in the morning. It paid off, as the ferries were on that day. It was a fun ride – I paid the extra Rs. 10 for sitting on the higher level, and the excellent weather made it totally worth it. There is a small train ride at the Elephanta caves which I would not advise anyone to take – very noisy and by the time they start, you could have reached the end of the line. After this, you have a short climb lined with shops selling souvenirs. Since I went in early, it was incredibly peaceful. I did see a lot of tourists coming in when I was about to leave. The caves here have gigantic sculptures. Many of these are in bad shape though. I did not spend a lot of time here, as I had more plans for the day. The ferry ride back took forever. First, the ferry did not start till they were full – which took an hour. Then it got windy and the sea very choppy. It took more than an hour and half to get back – and we had a ferry traffic congestion at the gateway, so couldn’t get to land immediately. I was one of the few people on the boat who got seasick, which didn’t help. After this, getting back on a train had never felt so good! Tips –
- Make sure you know that the ferries are on. Otherwise, the land distance to Elephanta caves is about 130km.
- If the weather is good, pay the extra Rs. 10 on the ferry and sit on the upper deck.
- Check the beautiful view from the Maharashtra tourism restaurant at Elephanta. It overlooks the small forest and the bay.
- Go early if you want to avoid the rush on weekends. I took the 9am ferry, but i believe they start even before that.