State officials said a plan was underway for heritage conservation, including a Rs 99.87 crore investment from MTDC and Rs 251.50 crore to be raised through PPP.
To give Elephanta Caves a major facelift, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis last week approved a Rs 344.37 crore development plan. While the plan does not include some of the ambitious proposals considered earlier, including accommodation for visitors to stay overnight, water sports and a helipad, the UNESCO world heritage site would see its aesthetic value restored.
Nearly two years after a detailed project report was prepared by the Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC), state officials said a “watered down” plan was underway for heritage conservation, including a Rs 99.87 crore investment from MTDC and Rs 251.50 crore to be raised through PPP.
The monsoon months are a tricky time to visit the Elephanta Caves, located on an island off the coast of Mumbai. The climb to the caves is treacherous with a pratfall or two a bright possibility on the mossy steps. But then the tourist turnout is sparse at this time of the year, leaving you better placed to enjoy the rock-cut caves, which date back to the 6th-7th centuries AD.
Uniformed guards of a private security firm tell visitors not to get too close to the intricate sculptures of different manifestations of Lord Shiva. The centrepiece, a 22-ft-high “Trimurti”, is a three-faced structure portraying Shiva as the creator, the protector and the destroyer. The guards are aided by wooden barricades installed a couple of years ago, along with iron fencing on the boundaries.