It was a sudden trip planned before one day. As I came to know about elephant festival from my journalist Mam. So I made up myself to attend this festival. Next day morning of Mahashivratri I woke up early and grabbed a bus for gateway of India. After few minutes of travelling I reached at gateway. Over there I went on 'MTDC'(Maharashtra Tourism) counter for ferry ticket. On counter I inquired for rates of ferry, which was about Rs 140 per return ticket. I asked him for one ticket but he refused me
"I mean, I want one return ticket," replied him on refusal. "No, we don’t allow solo traveller for Elephnata trip," he shouted. "May I know the reason,"I told. "Due to people committing suicide over there we restrict solo traveller to go on this island," he replied. The other staff sitting near the counter also shouted at me and told me to leave the counter. It was really ridiculous and I was totally disappointed with MTDC and his staff.
It was a bad start for my trip. I was almost planning to go back at home. But suddenly it strike that there must be some private ferry for Elepnata. So I just moved inside the Gateway of India. At the entrance there was a man shouting “elephanta... elephanta”. I asked him whether he is selling the tickets for Elepanta ferry and also whether he gives single ticket. He gave me a positive reply and told me to sit for a while near the statue of Swami Vivekananda. As he went to grabbed for more customers.
Near the statue there were already two men sited. So I asked an old man whether he is also going to Elephanta cave in the same ferry. He replied,“no, I have just come here to enjoy the sunrise.” The person next to old man raised a question, “What is there at Elephanta Cave?” "It’s an small dotted island with storytelling caves and currently there is festival going no," I informed. I want to go in MTDC ferry but they don’t allow solo traveller, I added. "Even me also want to see Elepahanta,man told excitedly. So if you don't mind we both can go together,than they have to allow us, he added. Yes, great idea I replied. We both moving towards the counter of MTDC. On our way we were stopped by the private ferry ticket seller. And he was offering me a ticket. At same time,"don’t give him the tickets," a voice came from backwards. Its was a same staff man who was sitting at counter. He informed the private seller that they are not providing tickets to solo traveller for Elephanta. "But this time we need two tickets," the man argued. Even I started arguing with the staff man, but he was not trying to listen, instead he shouted on me.
Now I was totally disappointed and sad, because the private ferry ticket seller also refused for tickets. For me the doors of hope were closed. But it was this unknown man who opened up a door. I told him to go on MTDC counter and purchase two tickets, instead of me going personally.
He went for me and brought two tickets. Till now we didn't know the names of each other. We were not even having any social media relation. But still we both got ready to travel together. It was just after the tickets I asked his name and from where he was. I paid him the money for a ticket, and took a walk towards ferry. As we were both opening up more about our personal life, we reached near ferry.
Over there we again came across with that staff man who was actually a ticket checker, before sitting on ferry. This staff man again started arguing with us. He shouted,“Who gave you the tickets, tum apne svaarth ke liye isko lekar aaye, and etc.” He wasn't allowing me to travel on ferry but somehow I managed to convinced him.
Now we both were going to Elephanta cave. On our way we both share some personal info with each other. He requested me to leave early from Elephanta as he had to catch flight for Delhi. We both were enjoying the ferry ride with some beautiful scenes and big ships.
After the ride of 40 mins we finally reached at Elephanta.
A small dotted mountain island floating on the Arabian sea with
caves covering the stories of Lord Shiva.
Itinerary:- Its 40 minutes away from the Mumbai City. One can catch ferry from Gateway Of India, to reach on this Island. The cold breeze under the shadow of tree makes it a perfect getaway from City life.
At Elephants we took a free mini train till the steps.
Once we reached we both started climbing the steps. As we were early to the spot so many shops were still closed. It took about 15 minutes for us to reach up.
There are this special chairs for those who finds difficult to climb steps. One can sit and relax on this chair while few folks lifts the chair and climbs till one reaches up.
The caves were silently speaking the stories of Lord Shiva. On each wall of cave there is story. It is a peaceful place with limited lights entering inside.
Temple:- Inside the cave there is a big temple in which there is a big Shiv Ling.Its a place for all the devotes of Lord Shiva. This temple has a big entrance with statue welcoming us. As I was moving in and out of this cave, I witness many things. I loved the way shadows and lights playing inside the cave, making it photogenic.
Now we both move to another cave which was right next to the first cave we entered. In this cave also there is story of Lord Shiva curved on stone, along with Shiv Ling. And outside of every cave one can find people enjoying them selves. Some sits and enjoy the peace whereas other enjoy by clicking memories. We both used to walked together and he was so kind that he use to wait for me where ever I pause for clicks. He keep me reminding about his flights. So I also cooperated with him. He use to tell me for clicking his pictures in his cell phone. Sometime he helped me to click of mine. After completing all the caves we paused for a while, had water. We took a rest under the shadow of tree.
Food:- This place gives tourist to enjoy together a tasty family meal. It reminded me the days of my school picnic.
For those who don't like to carry food can enjoy the local meal in the hotel. There is hotel as well as Chats hawkers for every saliva.
Monkeys:- It's not just Caves or beautiful scenes that attracts the tourist. But also the Monkey's gains an attraction from tourist. People enjoy themselves feeding and playing with monkeys, whereas some enjoy by clicking pictures with them.
It was time for us to descend. As he was getting late for his flight so we went back early. On our way towards ferry he shopped for his family.
Shop:- A person who loves to shop some unique stuffs should visit over here. They can find every thing from muddy God to Antic pieces.
It was slow and steady descend for us, as we paused many time. I had introduced him with Indian Bruger "Vada Pav". Our saliva enjoyed the spicy taste of vada paav. At last we reached at ferry. We sat in ferry for returning back to Mumbai.
I was little sad as I wanted to attend the Elephanta festival, that I couldn't manage because of this Ghost friend. But I was happy too have him on a trip, because of him I witness this beautiful place. I really very thankful of him.
A ghost friend of Haryana it was really wonderful meeting you. We were unknown to each other, but he never make me realize it. He was so cooperative and very helpful.
Finally we reached at Gateway of India, I thanked him for baring me. We didn't share our number but we both shared memories, and a hope of words meeting in future.