Elephanta was the first on my list when I decided to visit places in and around Bombay. I wasn’t too confident about going there by myself so I went with a friend. It’s approximately a 1 hour ferry ride away from Gateway. On reaching the island, there is a small train that pretty much looks like a toy train. It’s a 2-3 minute ride to a certain point from where you have to walk. We chose to walk instead of taking the train.
You have to climb huge steps to reach the top of the hill and a non-fit person (like me) will get really tired. There are dolis to take you to the top but I recommend climbing it. There were tiny stalls selling things like kachi keri, cucumber, snacks, hats and elephant souvenirs.
The Caves are great to observe but have not been preserved well. There’s no information on display. We had so many questions on our mind regarding the caves but we did feel like trusting the guides there with the correct information. Elephanta caves could be a brilliant tourist destination if they’re maintained well and the history is displayed. There are books sold there giving you information about the caves but we found them to be flawed. They are not worth purchasing. You can simply Google the information.
Other than the Elephanta caves, there are sites on the island – a Lake View and Canon Hill. The Lake View was serene. We walked downwards towards the lake and it was extremely peaceful! There were 30 + eagles flying above us. All you could here was the sounds of the birds and the wind. The Canon hill was on the other side. We had to walk back to the caves and then climb the Canon Hill. For unfit people again, it is as good as a hike but it’s worth it. There are some remains of a wall of sorts at the top and two canons (I have no idea for what!); and the view is great. We were pretty tired so we went to an eatery where some Buddhist monks were sitting next to us and the view was a hill and greenery. It made us feel like we’re in the North (minus the heat)
We met two people there who were not too happy with the place and I’ve heard of people hating it. Elephanta won’t astonish each and everyone but it’s all about observing and experiencing all that there is. Overall, my visit was definitely worth it. I was extremely glad and was all smiles when I got back home; more so because I was told not to go there, that I wouldn’t be able to, that it is a horrible place.
Do not listen to what others say about the things you want to do.
Go do it and judge it for yourself.