As I was getting on the train to Mumbai from Udaipur in Rajasthan I had a little accident involving a bottle of beer, here’s what happened. I had a large bottle of Kingfisher in the top of my backpack which I was hiding as Rajasthan is a dry state and it’s illegal to have alcohol on the train. I wasn’t planning on drinking it but I was saving it for later when we arrived in Mumbai. I was in a 2nd class sleeper carriage which is what I usually go for. There are usually bunk style beds in rows of three; top, middle and a bottom. I had the top bunk. I lifted my bag to put it on my bed and didn’t really think about the bottle of beer in the top. All of a sudden the bottle of beer fell out and literally exploded on the floor. Beer and shards of glass flew everywhere, it was like a beer bomb. There was even glass on the top bunks. There were also quite a lot of Indians in the line of fire who were now covered in glass and beer. Anna and I frantically tried to clean up before an inspector came. We picked up all the glass we could find and threw it our of the window and used all the toilet roll I had in my bag plus several towels to mop up the beer. We had cleaned up as much as possible but even after everything was dry, there was still an overwhelming smell of ale. Fortunately, when the inspector came, he rushed straight through and didn’t say anything.
Back in Mumbai
It’s my last day in India and I didn’t really have anything planned. I was already familiar with Mumbai so I thought a nice stroll around some of the sights would be good enough. I set off towards the Gateway of India. I thought it would be good to see this again as last time I was here there was some sort of even happening and it was fenced off.
This time I was able to get up close to the Gateway of India and take some nice photos without a load of scaffolding in the way.
As we were walking around the Gateway of India admiring its magnificence, we found ourselves at the at the side facing out towards the water. Here, there were several boats and people buying tickets to go on them. After a little asking around I discovered that the boats were going to Elephanta island. This is a place that I had heard of, its an island that has some really interesting Hindu temples that have been caved into solid rock and the insides of caves. Before I had really thought about it, I had bought a ticket and we were out on the water on a mini adventure.
We arrived at Elephanta island about an hour later and were immediately faced with an option of walking an unknown distance to the site of the temples or buying a ticket for a miniature train. Well, it wasn’t much of a choice really. How can you turn down the opportunity to ride a little train? We bought our tickets and tried to find some seats. We walked the whole length of the train and there wasn’t one bloody seat; it’s just like all the other trains in India. We went right to the front and the driver let us sit in the drivers cabin. The train began to trundle along the tracks. The engine was right next to me and generating an ear shattering level of sound. It was soon up to full speed and only just going fast enough to overtake the people who had decided to walk. It turns out that it was only about a ten minute walk, and we had to wait ten minutes for to it set off, and now I’m deaf in my right ear and have severe tinnitus in the left. Oh well, I think we’ll walk on the way back.
Trek up to the temples
There is a bit of a walk up quite a few steps to get to the site of the temples from here, and all the way up the steps there are market stalls selling cheap tourist souvenirs. For 500 rupees, you can be carried up the steps by four men on a chair attached to a couple of poles like an Egyptian pharaoh. This is great if you are elderly or disabled and just as good if your just fat and lazy. Along the route there are quite a few¬†monkeys. I hadn’t¬†seen any monkeys in Mumbai but here on Elephanta island they are everywhere, and a bit of a nuisance¬†too.
The temples here are quite amazing. It is still not fully understood how they got here and who made them but the earliest carvings have been dated to around the 2nd century BC. The temples are a shrine to the Hindu god Shiva and hold many statues and deities relating to him. Much of this site is in very good condition for its age and a real marvel to experience.