Marabar Caves

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The Marabar Caves are fictional caves in the novel A Passage to India and the film of the same name. The caves are based on the real life Barabar Caves located in the Jehanabad District of Bihar, India. They serve as an important plot location and motif in the novel. Key features of the caves are the glass smooth walls and a peculiar resonant echo magnifying any sound made in the caves.

Among many others, the main characters, Mrs. Moore, Adela Quested, and Dr. Aziz take a trip to the Marabar Caves. During the tour of the caves Adela, Dr. Aziz and a local guide carry on separately from the group. Adela privately questions her love for Ronny, a British Civil Magistrate in Chandrapore. She assumes Dr Aziz, as a Muslim, has many wives, and asks him about love. Rattled by the question (his only wife had died, leaving two sons and a daughter), Dr. Aziz takes temporary leave of her to have a cigarette. Adela is attracted to him, and he to her. They both realise simultaneously that a relationship is out of the question. Adela enters a cave, and her claustrophobia, her sexual desire for Aziz, and consequent guilt over her lack of feeling for Ronny, combine to overwhelm her. She flees the caves down a steep incline encountering several cacti plants along the way. Coincidentally, a fellow Englishwoman is there with a car and swiftly returns Adela to Chandrapore where she lodges a charge of molestation against Dr. Aziz. A trial ensues which is central to the novel's development of the cultural biases and conflicts during the British occupation of India.