Or, the mini Taj Mahal. Located in Aurangabad, this monument is best seen in the early morning.
Siddhivinayak Temple, temple dedicated to Ganesha.
Saaksji, art gallery specializing in the Baroda school
Chemould-Prescott Road. Place for contemporary Indian art.
Chatterji and Lal. More art.
Project 88. More art.
Lakeerein. Controversial art.
Tips: People tell me the best time to go is in November. This is for lush greenery and nice temperatures. They also say the rainy season is good for the waterfalls that run right past the caves. So that means June on into November. Take shoes with good tread for the rainy season because these rocks can get slick, and I personally would take a walking stick for this weather.
The posh experience: For luxury in India, it is my bet that you can’t beat the Taj hotel and its affiliates. Just be aware that you get what you pay for. These hotels can be as expensive as nice hotels in Seattle and New York City. But their service is phenomenal.
Authentic and more affordable Ellora caves experience: For much lower prices but to still get a safe and enjoyable experience, I have a couple of people to recommend. These guys are “hometown” men and know the region better than anyone. I have full confidence in them and they are who I would contact if I ever decided to return to the region. They can get you an affordable hotel walking distance from the caves! If you want to support local people, this is a great way to do it.
The other person I met I don’t have permission to share his name and contact number simply because I didn’t ask. This person took me on a wonderful tour of Khaldabad, the resting place of Aurangzeb himself, and he too knows everyone. Younger and less experienced than Sadeek, this man is highly honorable. If interested, contact me via this blog and I can ask him if I can share his contact info.
For the finest cloth I have ever seen, hand spun on looms, you must visit this place. It is fairly close to Ellora caves.
And for great, trustworthy, knowlegable cab drivers, my choice is:
No real birds
Old lady carrying peacock feathers in front of a museum
Painting of peacocks spotted immediately upon opening my eyes on the brides maid bus.
One golden peacock in front of marriage platform, stage?
In the lobby of my hotel in Aurangabad
The Jehangir Art Gallery showcases the work of local artists, and when I went yesterday, there were four exhibitions. The artists were onsite and ready to explain their work. They were all good, but one stood out above the rest. I think she is nothing less than a great artist and thinker if our time.
Now granted I am a layman when it comes to art and art critique, but as with science I also don’t hold an isolationist or an exclusivist view of the subject. I believe that art and our ability to enjoy and create art is one of the qualities that defines what it is to be human. (Though I could be wrong as some birds so clearly exhibit an artistic bent on dance and nest design).
I believe that art is for everyone and everyone is entitled to his opinion and reaction to art.
Milburn Cherian is a surrealist who paints complicated scenes with acrylic on canvas. I don’t feel knowlegeable enough to describe her work in technical terms, so please visit her website to learn more.
One of her pieces struck me so forcefully that it almost seemed like a memory. Complicated, symbolic, technically masterful, and thought provoking, Milburn Cherian brings a unique and moving perspective into the world. She clearly is comfortable embracing that often terrifying yet exhilarating creative force.
Located 9 km into the Arabian Sea, off the coast of Mumbai, is the small island known as Elephanta. Formerly, as with most things in Mumbai, it used to have a different name, Gharapuri, which means the place of caves.
These caves contain magnificent statues carved from rock and are thought to date back to approximately the 5th century AD. The caves are named after the basalt elephant that the Portuguese saw as they approached the island. This Elephant now resides at a museum in Mumbai.
Spoiler alert: I did not see all the caves. There is one primary cave that the Portuguese did their best to destroy back in the 1600s. The others are much more “Spartan” and after seeing three caves, I was good, what with the heat and the tourists, stray dogs, monkey families, and random young men approaching for photos, plus the prospects for a ladies room looking pretty slim, I decided not to be a hero about this tourism stuff. And, since the 20 hours of flying I had just done, both my feet have swollen up like balloons with the swelling crawling up my legs toward my knees.
Regardless of the defacement performed by the mindless idiots several hundred years ago, proving once again that humanity’s stupidity is timeless, regardless, the cave sculptures were pretty cool.
Here’s a tip for anyone well adapted to cold but not heat—go in the morning! Take the first ferry, which leaves at 9 a.m.
Someone tried to stop me on the way to the ticket office and convince me to go in the afternoon, but that would have the wrong choice for me.
The trip takes about an hour. To sit on the upper level, you have to pay 10 rupees more. Either place, top or bottom seemed fine. I opted for the top.
Porters will carry you up the hill for about 1200 rupees.
I chose to walk in hopes of relieving the swelling in my feet that happened after my 20 hour fight in.
It was a hike, but doable.
I had hoped to see the rest of the island, but proved to be too harsh an environment for me. Heat, bugs, mosquitoes, seemingly abandoned dogs, monkeys, and people eyeing me, sometimes not in an entirely friendly fashion.
These people laughed at me for how I was wearing my scarf (incidentally it was like a babushka), so I questioned them about it and then took their photo.
I thought maybe it was the color or the pattern, but the concierge at the Taj said that this is how old women in remote Indian villages wear their scarves out of modesty and respect.
Later on someone really liked my scarf. So there.
|Place||Admission Times||Price||When Closed||Address/Photo OK?/Interesting Details|
|Jehangir Art Gallery||11 a.m to 7 p.m.||?||?||161 KALAGHODA|
|Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu
Sangrahalaya (Prince of Wales Museum)
|10:15 a.m. to 6 p.m.|| Museum Entry for Foreign Adult: ₹500 (? $)
Mumbai Experience Documentary Foreign Adult: ₹50
Mobile Phone Photography Pass: ₹100
Audio Guide: Complimentary
|Only Closed on Certain Holidays||159-161 Mahatma Gandhi Road, Fort, Mumbai|
|National Gallery of Modern Art||11 a.m. to 6 p.m.||Foreign Visitor: ₹500 (? $)||Mondays||Sir Cowasji Jahangir Public HallM G Road, Fort Mumba|
|Leopold Cafe||7:30 a.m. to Midnight||Menu|| S.B. Singh Road,
*Current exchange rate: $1 = ₹67.8209 (Rupees)
But I also want to see: