Today we went to Elephanta Island where there are immense statues of hindus gods, mostly Shiva. Taking the first ferry out, it was already very warm when we arrived at the island (expecting a high of about 97 in the city). About an hour by ferry, we climbed a steep stone staircase to caves carved out of basalt stone. Framed in huge columns, the largest and most impressive is of Shiva in the three manifestations of creator, destroyer and preserver. The other statues captivate with intricate detail.
Dating back to between the 5th and 6th century AD. they know very little about the people who build this illustrious work of art. One remarkable feature of the ruins is that there is a fairly complex and sophisticated hydro-system that was presumably created by the builders of the statues. So effective is this system that the local people of the island use it to this day. There is also a Buddhist stupa on the island dating to 1st century B.C.! We met a very sweet couple on the ferry. Here is my new friend Shuba, who came with her husband Shek.
Last night we had a most remarkable meal at a restaurant specializing in Maharastrian and Karnatakan food. Maharastra is the state in which Mumbai resides. I have been eating what I thought was authentic Indian food my whole life but now I know differently. Highlights of the meal were Rasam (a complex tasting watery lentil broth) and Sol Kadhi (a cold soup made with thin coconut milk infused with green chilis, ginger, cumin and juice of Kokum, a purple berry native to the Konkan region). TWO OF THE MOST AMAZING SOUPS EVER!!!