Wednesday, 17 February 2016

Travels in India, 2016 - Elephanta Island & The Cat Man of Colaba



Check out my Indian waistcoat and prepare to faint with shock, it's the only item of clothing I've owned in the past 30 years that I've bought new, at full retail price, from a proper shop and not a chazza. Fortunately, at £8, it didn't break the bank.

WEARING: Rajasthani waistcoat worn with vintage 1970s maxi (from Curtise) with bastard massive sleeves (added by me) and a shedload of Indian tribal jewellery (collected over the years)

We've had to invest in a swanky new camera - India killed off our trusty little Sony Cyber-Shot. These photos of me are scarily sharp, aren't they?


Talking of photos here's more from our fifth and final full day in Mumbai, when we took a ferry over to Elephanta Island, 6.5 miles out across the Arabian Sea. 


One of the main draws of the boat trip was to see the Gateway of India from the water, sharing the same view as the Brits who sailed to India during the days of the Raj, and it was indeed truly beautiful (I shared the photos HERE) but on arrival we were blown away by the magnificence of the caves.


 Although we'd seen photos of the Elephanta Caves in guide books we couldn't get over the sheer scale of them.


 Carved between the 5th and the 8th centuries no-one is sure who created the caves but many Islanders believe that they weren't man-made.


They reminded Jon of a scene from an Indiana Jones film but I've never watched one so couldn't comment.


Apparently these figures would have originally been painted in bright colours. What a spectacle that would have been.








More photos HERE.


No idea what a "Prom Monky" is but these little sods were definitely a hazard. I don't know what it is with me and monkeys but wherever I am in the world they attack me. At one point a guard had to prise one off with a stick after it decided to climb up the back of my skirt and hang on for dear life. 


Don't even think about what that one on the left is doing with his hands, we've got the X rated photos to prove it.


A wonderful few hours of peace away from the craziness of the city but, unlike super-clean Mumbai, litter on Elephanta was a problem.


As usual, on our way out to eat, we paid a visit to the Cat Man of Colaba, a kindly gentleman who spends every penny he has on feeding the area's community of stray cats. The cats adore him (and so did we) and he appreciated our donation of a few quid to keep them in fresh fish, scrambled eggs and milk.


 Later we had drinks in uber cool #Social (if this bar was in the UK I doubt we'd even get past the doorman). As with many big Indian cities, foreign tourists are often seated together as, rather touchingly, the staff worry about us firanghis being so far away from home.



What were the chances? In a city of 22 million people we ended up sharing a table with Monisha Rajesh, author of Around India in 80 Trains, a book I like so much I own two copies!

See you soon.


56 comments:

  1. How sweet of that gentleman to look after those cats xxx

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  2. That island does look alot like Petra in Jordan where some of the Indiana Jones movies were shot. Too bad about the garbage but yay for the Cat man!

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  3. I don't know about anybody else's books, I've enjoyed your India Travels enormously and would buy it if it were in print xxx
    Ps the waistcoat is fab xx

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  4. What a great journey. Wish I can visit India soon!

    xx
    Steph/TreatU

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  5. With a title like Elephanta I was expecting elephants! The caves are amazing and I know exactly what Jon means about the Indiana Jones movie. The cat man is very kind - reminds me of an old boss I had (commonly referred to as 'The Cat Lady') who fed all the stray cats around the hospital and took them to the vets to be 'done' or if they were ill!

    Lovely outfit and the waistcoat is gorgeous.

    xxx
    Veronica
    vronni60s.blogspot.com

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  6. How cool is that? Seated next to an author you love!

    Those caves are spectacular!

    LOVED these photos!

    bisous
    Suzanne

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  7. Your vest is magnificent, no wonder you made an exception for it! I like how you added sleeves to this beautiful maxi. Congrats on your new camera!

    The caves are fantastic. Thank you so much for sharing! I'd be in awe just staring at them... And to meet your favorite writer just like that is so fun! Justin once met an author of many books about airplanes which he and his brother loved reading for years! And we were just at our neighbors' party, of all places! :)

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  8. Love the photos Vix! Jon's right, those carved cave scupltures look exactly like the ones from Indiana Jones. One of my fave films haha! What an amazing place it looks-I'm not surprised you go back as each time you do I seem to learn something different about the country from your snaps. What an amazing place it must be. xxxx

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  9. So much goodness in one post!

    Those caves are spectacularly intriguing. Wow.

    Funny (but not funny) that monkeys are so interested is messing with you. Must have been a bit frightening having one hanging from your skirt.

    Love the cat man and the fact you got to meet an author that you admire so much.

    xo

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  10. More great stories and sights, especially the cat man! And, that vest was worth every penny. So gorgeous! :)

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  11. it reminds me of indiana jones and the last crusADE! That's pretty cool. The monkeys in Bali were notorious little swines too!!

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  12. Oh how wonderful to see those caves. I think you being seated with a favorite author is terrific. I once sat next to Susan Shreve on a plane, not knowing it was her, and I had her book in my hand.

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  13. Those rhesus macaques are darned nasty! One mama macaque bit me on the butt at the monkey temple in Kathmandu because I wouldn't give her my potato chips.
    Elephanta looks gorgeous!
    Us firangis have celebrity status in India & Nepal, I just pretend I'm a movie star & roll with it.

    http://calmlycookingcurry.blogspot.com/2016/02/badaami-kokkhur-kashmiri-chicken-with.html

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  14. I get a kick out of seeing people with cameras that cost $$$ acting like they're a big shot photographer. My new Canon Power shot (under $200, with lots of extras) works find by me.

    Anybody that helps cats is fine in my book.

    You bought something brand new? Shock!

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  15. *Clutches heart* Those sleeves! Those sleeves!

    We had a small-town jeweler that would bring in stray cats on cold evenings to eat and sleep in the shop. I always thought that was a kind thing to do. He must have rescued hundreds over the years. Being a "Cat Man" is an honourable thing.

    You're really lucky the monkey didn't bite you-it would have ruined your skirt (and hurt. They have big teeth).

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  16. Another fabulous post - how lucky to meet the book author. Monkeys are scary little things, I suppose they are used to tourists and too bold. I love your waistcoat.

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  17. What wonderful photos - what's the new camera you bought?
    It's great to see another view of India a country I would love to visit sometime.
    Mind you, not sure about the monkeys either lol

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  18. Oh! Those caves! My world has just expanded...
    And yes, what WERE the chances you'd meet & chat with the author of a favorite book?????

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  19. Those caves look like a magical place to visit. And how funny about meeting the author of the travel book!! It's like it was meant to be. Did you have a copy on you so they could autograph it?!
    xx

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  20. If I owned an Island I think I'd call it Elephant Island. What a shame about all the litter. Eee naughty monkey!

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  22. God, I just love your holiday posts! I know nothing about India and I enjoy reading about things I've never heard of.
    I'm guessing the rubbish from Elephanta Island is washed up, as opposed to being left by visitors? Is it inhabited?
    Great little waistcoat, amazing colours!
    Zxx

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  23. Monkeys always freaked me out a bit.
    I just love these travelogue posts - thanks so much, Vix, for taking us along for the ride! xox

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  24. Naughty monkeys! Really fun pictures though. The caves are breathtaking - when I see the scale of them, I gasp. And I adore that pic of the cat man, and what he does - he's an angel on earth for caring for the homeless creatures. xox

    -Patti
    http://notdeadyetstyle.com

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  25. That waistcoat is so lovely:) ( I can't believe it is the only new item you bought in 30 years, that's pretty cool) and I do like that maxi.

    Those statues are gorgeous...I can only imagine how amazing they looked when they were painted in bright colours.

    The new photos ( I mean taken with a new cam) are very clear indeed.

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  26. Always kee yer elephant clean I say!
    Love that waistcoat and I have recovered from the shock of you paying full whack.
    Mumbai looks wonderful, naughty monkeys an'all. And how lovely is the Cat Man? There are some fab people out there aren't there? What a gent.
    Loves ya.
    xxxxxxxx

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  27. Those caves are truly amazing! Sorry but I had to laugh at the monkey. I went to Kenya with my family and every time we saw a monkey it'd attack my brother, the little buggers really seem to inexplicably have in in for some. Such a shame about the litter on the beach, it looks so tranquil otherwise.

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  28. I think I held my breath through this whole post. I adore your India trip posts, the way you write and the amazing photos. You look so gorgeous in that 'bought new' outfit and I love the red you are wearing in that last photo at the club. That red is amazing on you! The caves are stunning and I agree with Jon about the Indiana Jones comment. When you said they used to be painted in bright colours it reminded me that I've read that about Greek statues too. Thanks for sharing. I almost feel the sunshine! xoxo

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  31. Love your pricy Indian waistcoat Vix, it goes a treat with Curtise's maxi. How DO you cope with those sleeves though? Don't you end up dipping them in your tea/cider/rum/loo?
    Superb travel pics once again. So interesting to learn about Elephanta Island...those caves and the carvings are staggering...how did they erect them ? Shame about the litter but nowhere's perfect. Those monkeys can be little bastards I found...trust you to find a wanking one! What a lovely man Mr. Cat man is, no wonder they adore him. Xx

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  33. you meet that author just so in a bar! awesome!!!
    but this is india - a magical place! and magical are this caves on elephanta! very impressive!
    cool colorful outfit of yours! love all the bling!!!! xxxxxxx

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  34. Love the waistcoat. You should treat yourself every now and then although you do vintage so well...the vintage queen

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  35. How nice to meet an author whose work you love. And the cat man of Colaba must be a very kind chap. Anyone who's kind to stray animals is all right by me. Though I'd have avoided the monkeys; Pete got chased by some on Barbados and only got rid of them by triggering his camera flash at them repeatedly. I'd have freaked if one had hung on my skirt like that one did to you. They'd have heard my girly squeals right across the bay.

    Your waistcoat is aces, well worth the £8.

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  36. I'll wager that the waistcoat will someday serve as a pattern for similar garments for sale by Kinky Melon. You might therefore consider the original, bought NEW!, and investment.

    Cutting enormous public structures from living rock involves a staggering expertise in engineering. A pity there wasn't some sort of commentary or video to illustrate the steps and timeline required to create this temple.

    The Cat Man is a saint of a sort, sharing his loaves and fishes with those street waifs. Thinking of our own plump pets at home, it does seem appropriate to contribute to the worthy cause. I've nothing nice to say about monkeys. You're fortunate you weren't bitten or worse.

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  37. That island looks AMAZING! Those caves! I think I have a love/hate relationship with monkeys, I really love them but once in Malaysia I'm pretty sure a monkey was ready to battle me to death over the ice block I was eating. I love that cat man too, such a good heart xo

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  38. Elephanta looks amazing, and thanks again for the tour. What is it about people and litter? The bin was right there ffs!! A new camera, how exciting.

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  39. I DID notice that your pictures are clearer. All the better to see you my dear. That's the nice thing about visiting a place many times, you have the opportunity to explore new places each time instead of just the regular tourist hot spots. Looking lovely. Thank you sooooo much for the photos. You have no idea how much I love them.

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  40. The only time I was near wild monkeys was in Penang where they left Ian alone but attacked me, a male with humungous teeth chased me out of the park!

    These India posts are always excellent, I look forward to them every year.

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  41. Those Elephanta Caves are incredible; they look awesome in your photos, but imagine what they must have looked like when new and painted!! Mind blowing stuff.

    Ha! That monkey does look very shifty indeed. Reminds me of a tv programme Monkeychild and I have watched recently, 'Monkey Thieves', which follows a boisterous troupe monkeys in Jaipur. We love the bits where the monkeys nick people's bags and phones! xxx

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  42. This really is an incredible travel guide! Absolutely fantastic, everything from your vest (you did well although he buy it again, because it is beautiful and you're too good!). These caves are a crazy show, I imagine live it is even more! If they were also colored had to be an incredible world! Really impressive!

    And that nice gentleman who takes care of the cats? I love it! A little 'reminds me of my grandfather Gino, he was a bit' Indian? Maybe not, but he also loved cats (as well as its Arno river) ... They are so cute and tender these cats!

    And rightly at the bar you have met the right people! You deserve it!

    serena

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  43. I envy a little! India looks almost as pretty as you are

    Lyosha
    Inside and Outside Blog

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  44. These caves look awe-inspiring! What can you say? Monumental. I adore your £8 jacket, it's so beautiful. I've never been that close up to monkeys. That saucy boy reminds me of Mr Yip at my mum's place. He's always getting his sausage out to show me. He looks ridiculously pleased with himself when he does it. He's knee high to a grasshopper and very naughty. I say 'No, Mr Yip!' Get you, mixing with the stars! Bet she's showing the photo to all her friends, saying, 'look who I met, the author of my favourite blog!' Xxxx

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  45. Haha, I'm chuckling at Tan's Mr Yip story! But back to you; wow, just look at those incredible caves. It's interesting that the statues used to be brightly painted - when I visited some of temples in Egypt, we were told that they were painted too, and it's kind of mind-blowing to imagine how ornate and dazzling they must have looked.
    Blimey, the attack of the masturbatory monkey, there's a B movie idea for you! Stick to cats - the Cat Man is clearly a fabulous fella.
    I'd forgotten all about that maxi and your sleeve addition - it still looks wonderful, especially with the addition of the shockingly full-price waistcoat!
    New camera then - what did you get? I'm frustrated with the quality of my camera but can't handle anything a) expensive or b) complicated - any suggestions?
    Love you! xxxx

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  46. Argh, don't know how I manage it but I keep posting your posts on my blog. I am such a Luddite and shouldn't be allowed anywhere near anything with a plug. I had posted to say that your waistcoat was fabulous. Well worth a purchase. You photos are amazing. Those caves are very beautiful but it is a shame about the litter. I love the Cat Man. I wish that there were more people like him in the world. Xx

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  47. Elephanta looks amazing - and yes, quite Indiana Jonesesque Naughty monkeys lol! x

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  48. HI vix,

    Here's a link to the bee necklace:
    http://www.punkypins.co.uk/Bumblebee-Necklace-p/p-ne200.htm

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  49. It is a surprise to find out that there is a (local) man in India who cares about cats. Fantastic place! I have seen photos of the Elephanta caves before, I only can imagine how magnificent they are in reality.
    Beautiful waistcoat and looks great with the dress!

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  50. It is a surprise to find out that there is a (local) man in India who cares about cats! Fantastic place! I have seen the Elephanta caves photos before, only can imagine how magnificent they are in reality!
    Beautiful waistcoat and looks great with the dress!

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  51. Love the photos, what are you secrets to having fabulous skin? I love your waistcoat and I'm after something similar but still searching. Xxx

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  52. what a wonderful life you lead. everything everything is gorgeous. love the new camera, the photos of you are stunning!!! x

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  53. I need that vest in my life! It looks good enough to eat!!!

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  54. I also noticed that the first two photos were very crisp and the colours saturated. I have always used Pentax or Canon cameras and have been happy with them.

    I would definitely leave a donation with the Cat Man - what a dear to be caring for all those kitties! The caves are magnificent - I can't imagine how splendid they would have looked with the original paint still intact. I don't have any strong opinion about Monkeys, but I definitely would not want one hanging off the back of my skirt. Obviously they are drawn to your exotic glamour!

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  55. I remember seing Elephant Island when I visited India back than with my granny. what a beautiful place.

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Love from Vix
xxx