It is seriously maddening, really. Same area , same people, same routine, disgusting; mind looks for respite from maddening environment. Of course, this search for respite may be different for different people. It would be best to escape to a snow clad mountain or at least the lush green environment of Nagaland/ Arunachal Pradesh but it requires a journey for 15 days which demands a lot of physical stamina. After a certain age, there is a limit to stamina that we can master. MILON MANCHA, have just successfully completed a similar remarkable tour in the north eastern India.
Ours one is very much unlike them, a short one day trip to near by Elephanta cave. This one day trip was dirt- cheap, ie Rs 580/- per head ( from home to home), but the joy was unbounded. All the necessary arrangement was done by Sri Mangal chowdhury. As I , several times, made mention of him as a very resourceful person yet unassuming, complete devoid of egos, always in the habit of helping others. His very presence among us encourages us.
Having such a person amongst us and as per preplan, we arrived at the right time at the india gate, just before nine in the morning, from my Naigaon home. Mangal chowdhury, his wife and their son just from Pune, and we two, me and my wife, a well woven team boarded the launch from India Gate. We got best seat in the terrace of the launch, as Sri Mangal’s people kept aside the seats reserved for us. Sri Mangal has a great influence amongst people who work in the various launches at India Gate, because many of the launch- people are among his friends and relatives, jobs for many of them was initially arranged by Sri Mangal, now they want to pay back to him through their allegiance. With their support our journey became very pleasant.
Elephanta is 10 km away from India Gate, takes nearly an hour’s journey. All around there are at least 15/20 other similar boats, many foreign ships, giant floating oil rigs, our all sorts of questions about those were answered by Sri Mangal. I was wondering what might be the depth of water in that area of the sea, I am told it is 35 feet. I find the depth is same as in Vasai creek –at its mid point —it won’t be less than 35 feet. I draw this comparison here because I live on the side of Vasai creek….. Sea water was very clean, sea breeze was blowing soothing our nerves. We passed by Buchar Island, from distance we saw four Oil tanks, a few months back one of those caught fire from lightening and raged everything around it killing top engineers of ONGC. At around 10 am our launch reached Elephanta cave jetty.
We carefully got down from the ship and boarded the toy train to reach the land of Elephanta, as the jetty is one km inside into the sea from the land. Per head ticket for toy train is Rs 10/-. Immediate getting out of toy train, we completed our breakfast. Then a flight of steps, total 120 in number, in a slight curved way. Instead, if the steps were straight upthout a break, on looking-up it would seem that those may break on your head, those being a snake like, we did not feel the fatigue. People with knee problem also can climb without much effort, and we did.
It is a rock stone sculpture worked out in sixth century AD, and is a UNESCO world heritage site now. It is a collection of temples dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva. The sculptural carvings narrate Hindu mythologies—Sadashiva, Nataraja and Yogishvara being the most celebrated. In this part of year—month of May, is very hot, of course sea breeze flowing will reduce your hardship.
Being a small area inhabited by 1200 people, there are not many eateries, except MTDC hotel and 1/2 restaurants. Walking at the top of the cave made us fatigued, and hungry. MTDC hotel is a very good place to lunch, we ordered for four thalis and enjoyed those much. Per thali cost was Rs 250/-. Apart from the good taste of the meals, what is remarkable here is the location of the hotel. From the verandah of the hotel we could see nearby green trees, Buchar island and at the distance Bhaba Atomic Centre, ONGC installations, and India Gate. Constant cool sea breeze was flowing to us creating an ethereal pleasure, I would only wish it engulfs whole of our life!!!!!! . Who knows a day will come when technology will offer us this also. With the gift of mobile technology we took photographs at every step.
Soon it was four pm, boarded the toy train, made for India gate enjoying the sea journey again. On return journey to home we saw the parsee temple, Art Gallery, Kala Ghoda etc etc. It was a short one day outing, costing us little energy, minimum money—Rs 1160/- for two of us, but enormous refill of energy. Our next destination is any of –Haridwar, Kerala; possibly we shall do Matheran before that. You may join us if you are of like mind.
Last but not least is about we Bengalis. Wherever I go on a tour and travels, I meet too many Bengalis, mostly from Bengal. The readers must also have experienced the same during their any tour—Bengalis talking noisily, loudly in mother tongue with exuberance believing that the language of the world is Bengali and everybody around should understand them. They loudly talk about their experiences of the ongoing tour. Bengalis generally considered to be misers in closed friedly circle, are tour loving, apart from tour they love reading books, art, music and cinema, and have the capacity to analyze things, and everybody right or wrong, have their own independent view. All these qualities makes them happiest …………… But now a days, all these bright qualities at home, has been marred by their self seeking politicians killing social peace, law and order and industry. In this sense these are their bad days. Hope, a day will come their golden past will revisit them.