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Sharell Cook

2012 Mumbai Elephanta Festival has a New Venue

By March 9, 2012

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Elephanta Festival.
Elephanta Festival.
www.flickr.com user ஆ ன ந் த ம் / a n a n d h a m

The Elephanta Festival, which returned in 2011 after a two year break due terrorism security issues, won't be held at its usual venue (the Elephanta Island caves off the coast of Mumbai) this year.

The festival, which will run from March 23-25, is going to take place at the Gateway of India instead.

This change of venue has upset quite a few people, particularly heritage activists and residents of Elephant Island who had previously enjoyed the festival every year. The festival got its name from the Island and had been held there since its inception in 1989.  The new venue, a 20th century archway built to welcome the British monarch, is vastly different to the ancient rock caves on Elephant Island and has left people unimpressed.

However, according to the Maharastra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC), the move was necessary because of logistical problems.  The venue at Elephanta Island can only seat 700-800 people, whereas there's space for around 2,000 to 2,500 people at the Gateway.  Another reason given for the change was difficulties in arranging enough boats to transport attendees to and from the Island. Some people also found it difficult to get back to Mumbai in time to catch the last train home.

The MDTC has promised to arrange day trips to Elephanta Island during the festival. However, residents are still concerned about the drop in income from the change.

What do you think?

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