Visiting the Elephanta Caves is like undertaking a pilgrimage (cross the water, climb the steps, enter the caves). The rock-cut caves, located on the island of Gharapuri off the Mumbai coast, are shrines to Lord Shiva, and have mixed heritage (Chalukya, Rashtrakuta, et al; historians are not really sure who did what).
When you enter, there are two contrasting sculptures of Shiva, in the Yogishvara pose to your left and in the Nataraja pose to your right. Both are pretty badly damaged, with missing arms and/or legs, but you can take your time to marvel at the majesty of the sculptures, and try to forget the sculpting class you took during that long weekend where you managed to end up in hospital after hacking at a block of stone.
Elephanta Island is such a perfect place for setting a Hindi movie. Picture this. Hero and heroine are in love, but heroine’s father opposes the match. They run away and jump on a ferry to Elephanta Island, believing that nobody will think of searching for them there. After a couple of songs (on the boat, in the hills, near the caves) and with the support of the local population, they decide to get married, in the presence of Lord Shiva. But an unscrupulous boatman (who has seen the heroine’s ‘Missing’ ad in the papers) notifies the father, who lands up with a bunch of goons. Fight scene ensues (on the steps to the caves, near the caves, on top of Cannon Hill). Finally heroine’s father has a change of heart on seeing sculptures of Shiva-Parvati wedding scenes and gives his permission for the match.
Any movie set in Mumbai has a scene in a love song where the heroine runs amid the fluttering pigeons in front of the Gateway of India and the hero watches her tenderly. After braving numerous obstacles like wind and rain and the reluctance to leave a cozy bed on an overcast morning, we landed up at the Gateway to emulate the scene, only to be thwarted by the greatest obstacle of them all- the Government of India. The pigeons were cordoned off, guarded by watchful policemen. To add insult to injury, they refused to fly for the camera, and the above is the best shot I could get. No flight of the pigeons, no Andrew Garfield looking out from a window of the Taj, no proposal before the Gateway. What has a girl got to do to get some romance in this world?
After a lengthy bargaining session at Mangaldas Market, we unfurled our umbrellas and headed to the place we had been dying to visit ever since we began planning our Mumbai trip- Marine Drive. Anyone who has watched any movie set in Mumbai knows the significance of this place (cue song- Jiya Dhadak Dhadak Jaye). After a lot of direction-seeking (up the steps, under the bridge, around the bend, through the puddles), we saw it. We ran toward it, trying not to be run down by the zooming cars. And got thoroughly drenched.
What is life if full of care
No money to shop, only to stare.
Mumbai is the land of markets. If you are like me, forever looking for good stuff at a good bargain, Mumbai spells heaven for you. No matter what you are shopping for, be it clothes, accessories or souvenirs, there is a market for everything.
Linking Road: A popular hangout for fashionistas, Linking Road in Bandra is the place to hit if you want shoes, bags or casual wear. Roadside shops jostle with big brand name stores, and you can easily spend all day shopping, so come prepared, with your husband’s/daddy’s credit card.