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Ellora Caves

Monuments of the ancient world

Kailasa temple

The Ellora are one of the largest rock-cut monastery-temple caves complexes in the world, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Maharashtra, India.

The Ellora Caves consists of 34 Hindu, Buddhist, and Jain temple caverns carved out from the basalt of the mountain in the Charanandri hills located 30 km fro 30 kms from Aurangabad or over 300 km from Mumbai or over 1200 km from Delhi.

Basalt is a very hard volcanic stone yet it has been carved with incredible precision and detail. The most remarkable of the cave temples is Kailasa complex (cave 16), and is dedicated to the Hindu god, lord Shiva.

Unlike other temples at the

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Mumbai

It looks like chaos, but there is order

The capital city of Maharashtra and formerly known as Bombay, Mumbai is India’s largest city with a population of over 18 million or even more depending on how one sees the city boundaries.

Mumbai is the financial, commercial and entertainment capital of India and home to the Bollywood film industry. Sometimes budget travellers are invited to be movie extras which is quite novel and pays a few rupees, but not enough to pay for accommodation.

For budget traveller, the Salvation Army Guest House located adjacent to the Taj Hotel is central and convenient to explore the down-town area while those more well heeled can stay in five star luxury at the Taj.

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Elephanta Island

A day trip from Mumbai

Shiva and Shakti

For anyone visiting Mumbai who has an interest in historic Indian culture and spiritualty, a trip across to Elephanta Island is an excellent day trip. But if you are to take in the fullness of what the island has to offer, an overnight stay may be worthwhile.

There is a regular ferry service from the Mumbai waterfront (by the Gateway of India). The ferry takes about an hour, but there is sometimes a fast ferry that takes 20 minutes. Ensure you buy your tickets at the ticket office, or you’ll pay extra. Fees: Indian Rs 10; foreigner RS 250 and open 9am-5.30pm Tues-Sun.

Once on the island remember the monkeys

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Prabalgad Fort

A challenging day trip

Up on the Prabal plateau in the Western Ghats between Matheran and Panvel Prabalgad is Prabalgad fort and lookout tower. It’s also known as Kalavantin Durg or Kalavantin’s Fort, and it’s only 40 kms from Mumbai. On clear days it can be seen from the Mumbai-Pune Expressway.

The fort is thought to have been built around the time of Buddha; approximately 600 BC for a queen named Kalavantin whose story has been lost. The spire is 700 metres or 2,300 feet high with a vertical climb of about 400 metres or 1300 feet.

As part of their culture and heritage, the locals from Prabalmachhi Village dance on top of the fort during the Shimga Festival

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India

A land of colours and contrasts

Taj Mahal, Uttar Pradesh, India

Since Siddhartha’s Journey to The East, seekers of truth have traveled India. In the 1960’s hippies called India home hanging out in this tropical paradise. Today the hippy hangouts have become fashionable and affordable holiday resorts with services and amenities to rival any in the English speaking world. For the modern visitor, India may be a place of learning, or a fantastic and affordable holiday destination.

History

India has a rich history, it has been invaded by successive armies including the Mongols to Alexander (the not so Great) and then the British, but India has survived them all. Kings and Maharajah’s have ruled, the British left their language,

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