Elephanta caves Mumbai which are a UNESCO world heritage site is a set of ancient caves in Mumbai. They are situated on a Gharapuri Island in the Arabian Sea. These caves have few stunning rock sculptures from 9th to 13th Century AD.
Best Time To Visit Elephanta caves Mumbai: Except Monday, caves remains open to tourists all year around. However, you should avoid visiting these caves during the time of high tide.
Location: Gharapuri Island (Elephanta Island), 10 kms away from Gateway of India, Mumbai, Maharashtra State, India
Elephanta Caves Mumbai Information
Gharapuri island hosts these popular caves which are about 10 kms away from the boundary of Mumbai city. Since 1987, these caves have been a UNESCO world heritage site. The Gharapuri island is 2.5 miles long with two hills. Elephanta caves Mumbai are one of the popular sightseeing spots in Mumbai. Many domestic as well as foreign tourists visit these caves on a very large scale. According to archaeologists, these caves dates back to the period between the 9th to 13th century AD. Caves are particularly famous for its ancient sculptures and the temple of Lord Shiva.[caption id="attachment_755" align="aligncenter" width="500"] Hall of Caves Is Supported by Large Columns![/caption]
The island is away from the hustle and bustle of Mumbai city. It has very serene and peaceful environment.Elephanta caves Mumbai are located at a height so you can see a magnificent expanse of the Arabian sea from here. After visiting the caves, you can also explore the other part of the island by taking a guide with you. After reaching the highest point of the island you can also see the most beautiful views of the surrounding region. Roaming amidst the silent woods of island gives an astonishing experience!
History of caves
Many different dynasties ruled over this island and Elephanta caves Mumbai. It was won by Rashtrakutas, Konkan-Mauryas, Trikutakas, Kalyani Chalukyas, Chalukyas of Badami, Silaharas, Yadavas of Deogiri, Muslim rulers of Ahmedabad and then by the Portuguese. The Marathas of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj also had this island under their control. In the end, British rules took the control of this island. Elephanta island was earlier known as Gharapuri island. Portuguese rulers renamed it as Elephanta Island due to a discovery of a large elephant shaped stone structure on this island.[caption id="attachment_757" align="aligncenter" width="400"] View of jetty from caves![/caption]
The rock structures of Elephanta Caves Mumbai are among the oldest sculptures in India. These sculptures exhibit the art related to Hindu Lord Shiva. These caves are carved out from natural rock and the cave complex has an area of nearby 60,000 sq. feets. There are total 7 cave excavations in the Elephanta. Huge stone columns give the support to upper part of halls. A big statue of Mahesamurti is there at the starting of caves. The prime deity in the temple is Ardhanarishwara, a blend of half man and half woman representing Lord Shiva and his wife Parvathi. Statue of Shiva Nataraja is also there. All these makes Elephanta one of the finest caves in Maharashtra.[caption id="attachment_756" align="aligncenter" width="400"] Ardhanarishwara![/caption]
The temple has the design as per Hindu astrological knowledge. It is built by considering the Geometrical Mandala and energy levels. There are also some other wonderful sculptures at the Elephanta Caves Mumbai. The marvellous sculpture of Trimurti Sadashiva depicting the three faces of Trinity-Brahma, Vishnu and Maheshwara is absolutely amazing. According to local people, Portuguese rulers destroyed many other beautiful structures. They even used some of the idols of Hindu Gods for target practice. It is a prime sculpture of these caves. A lot of archaeologists, history lovers and artists visit here to take a glimpse of these sculptures.
- Taking ferries (boats) from Gateway of India is the only option to reach Elephanta caves Mumbai. Ferries ply regularly between these two spots throughout the day.
- The first boat leaves at 9:00 am from Gateway of India and the last boat leaves at 5:00 pm from Gharapuri island. It takes about
- It takes about 1 hour to reach the island via boat.
- Tickets rate for a deluxe boat is Rs. 140/- per adult and Rs. 90/- per child. Economy boats also ply which take charge as Rs. 20/- per person.
- You need to walk from the jetty till caves. One toy train is also there which takes you to the base of hills from jetty.
Open Hours: Caves remains open from Tuesday to Sunday between 10:00 am to 05:00 pm.
Time Required: 2 hours are sufficient to properly see Elephanta caves Mumbai.
- 10 per Person for Citizens of India and visitors of SAARC (Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Maldives and Afghanistan) and BIMSTEC Countries (Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Myanmar).
- 250 per person for tourists of other countries.
- Entry to children up to 15 years is completely free.
Eating Stuff: There are many local food options on Gharapuri Island. Few hotels in the caves vicinity offer decent quality food. MTDC resort offers delicious local cuisines at a reasonable cost.
Staying Options: Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC) do not allow night stays on Elephanta Island. However, tourists can take rest at Maharashtra Tourism Department Hotel (MTDH) during the daytime.
Map To Reach Elephanta caves Mumbai: