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Published: March 15th 2019
Had to get up a little earlier today as taxi driver was picking us up outside reception so after a superb breakfast (The Sahara Star does a wonderful selection) we wandered outside and he appeared as if by magic.
We had to head right down to the Gateway of India which we visited last time as that’s where the boats go to the island. So along the fantastic road built out into the bay on stilts to get clear of the main city traffic. As the road is 4 lanes and then goes to 2 it does have a bit of a traffic jam at either end but undoubtedly quicker than the stop, start clog of traffic by any other route. Then across to the other side of the pointy bit at the bottom of Mumbai and we were at the Gateway.
We arranged to phone the taxi when we returned in about 4 hours and noted he was parking near some bank starting with the letter B. Bandra probably.
A ticket tout found us and sold us our 600 rupee return tickets and directed us to a boat. We went upstairs as looked far more
interesting up there and were conned into a major expense. 5 rupees each to go upstairs (5p) but I was given a receipt.
The boat trip across the bay to Elephanta Island, 7km or so, takes about an hour. It soon got very interesting as people were buying packets of snacks and feeding the gulls and terns which were closely following the boat. Spent most of the trip trying to snap good photos. Not a terribly scenic ride otherwise as we went past what appeared to be fuel installations, gas or petrol don’t know which and lots and lots of large boats.
And so to the island. A long jetty sticks out into the sea and there is a little toytown train to take you along it. We decided to walk but might well have taken the train if we had realised how steep a climb was going to follow.
At the end of the jetty there are steps and all the way up the steps on either side are stalls selling all sorts of desirable souvenirs of the visit. The steps are steep, 200-300 of them, the day was very hot and to
make it hotter, there are awnings all the way up covering the stairway and trapping every degree of heat in even if it kept the direct sunlight out.
We stopped halfway up and bought a bottle of refreshing juice each. Don’t think we would have got to the top without it.
At the top we came to the caves and to our great relief there were no more ascents, steps or otherwise to climb and inside the caves there was even a bit of a cooling breeze. Bliss.
The caves are fantastic and a Unesco World Heritage site. A collection of man made cave temples predominantly dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva with some incredibly impressive carvings.
Really enjoyed our visit to them, lots of photos of course and even spotted our first monkeys of the trip.
Back down the steps then and so much easier going down. Managed to lose Bob for a few minutes as he went faster than me so stopped to make a couple of purchases from the stalls. Hard to be extravagant at prices like these.
Then back to the boat,
deciding again to give the train a miss as we wanted to catch the 2pm boat but the train got there well before us.
More bird pictures on the way back and it is a good ride as the views coming back to the Gateway are rather fine.
Then we had to find our taxi driver. We walked to where I thought he had pointed as we drove in but couldn’t see a “B” bank but did see a policeman. Lovely man, I gave him the taxi mobile number, he called it on his phone and arranged for taxi to pick us up from where we were. Excellent.
Back to the hotel, 2,500 rupees to the taxi man which is a pretty good price as we had him from half 9 to 4 o’clock. We arranged for him to pick us up next morning at 7 to take us to the airport then a last swim in the pool, dinner and everything packed ready for an early start next day.
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