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» Pleasant Day-trips to Elephanta Caves ...

Elephanta Caves Excursion You can enjoy pleasant day-trips to the Elephant Caves that date back 600 AD. Situated on Gharapuri Island they are an hour away off the coast from Mumbai harbor. Set in the silence and somberness of caves in the middle of the vast ocean, Elephants Caves remain a principal tourist attraction drawing numerous visitors.
This 7th century cave temple complex carved out of rocks is dedicated to the Hindu deity Shiva whose magnificent busts and statues fill the chambers. The main cave is supported by massive pillars and other caves rest on square bases of fluted shafts. It got named as Elephanta Island by the Portuguese after the huge elephant statue that stood near the landing area of the island.

Location: Located 10 kms by sea from the Gateway of India, the Elephanta Caves are close to the metropolitan city of Mumbai. Situated on Gharapuri just off the harbor area it is an hour's boat ride away. The 'City of Caves' in the Sea of Oman contains a collection of rock art linked to the cult of Shiva that displays Indian art, particularly the huge high reliefs in the main cave.

History: According to historians it was the warrior prince of Chalukya dynasty Pulkesin ll who developed this shrine to celebrate his victory. The temples are said to be carved during the Gupta period. Some historians feel that Kalchuri King Krishnaraja built the caves in 6th century AD. Many sculptures later were damaged by Portuguese rulers. But yet nothing disturbs the sublime beauty of this centuries old place that is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Sightseeing: Elephanta Caves house ancient sculptures along with columns and internal spaces carved out of single rock mound on the island. You see magnificently sculpted statues along with incomplete bare images. The sculpted underground areas include corridors and chambers allowing visitors to walk through.

Spread over an area of about 60,000 sq ft, the contained site comprises of an enormous main chamber along with two smaller chambers, few patios and a number of minor shrines. Visitors can enter the caves from three sides. Of these, the eastern and western entrances serve as the axis of the temple, lined by a 20 pillared hall. It is on the western end of the caves that the famed Shivalingam is enshrined.
 

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The north axis gives access to the wonderful image of Trimurthi Sadasiva that is a huge 20 feet high statue portraying the three-headed form of the deity. The frontal face portrays Shiva the Preserver, the right visage as the Creator and the left profile as the Destroyer. One will also enjoy seeing the southern wall sculptures that depict Kalyanasundara, Gangadhara, Ardhanariswara and Uma Maheswara.

Nearby Places of Interest: The ferry ride and the caves also make for an interesting picnic and getaway spot. Apart from enjoying the centuries old art forms inside the caves you may spend time outside to take in the local habitat of the island surrounded by the sea around the Mumbai harbor. There are regular excursions to these caves every day from the Gateway of India, that is a great place to enjoy.

Shopping: You will find some hawkers and vendors selling eatables as also all kinds of souvenirs and gifts from the shops around the entrance of the cave complex.


Leisure Activities: Animal lovers can have a look at the bats, monkeys and birds that inhabit this place. Sea lovers can sit out for a while to get pleasure from the seascapes and enjoy the harbor views.


To Reach From Mumbai: This well known tourist spot is accessible by boat from the Gateway of India. You can take a ferry from Apollo Bunder to reach the cave temples. Both deluxe and economy boats depart every 30 minutes, Tuesday to Sunday from 0900-1500 hours taking an hour's journey to reach the island and the last departure from Elephanta is at 1700.


Best time to visit: You can visit Elephanta caves most times of the year. November to March is the ideal time to visit the island.  Summers can be too harsh and Monsoons are to be avoided as ferries do not ply to the destination.  

Hotels: You can find many hotels at Apollo Bunder, Gateway of India and Colaba areas, close to Elephanta caves. This area is the heart of Mumbai and offers accommodation catering to all kinds of budget. From classy, top-line hotels to medium range and budget hotels you can even book discount hotel deals. Find the best shopping, sightseeing and entertainment venues too.
 

Hotels Near Elephanta Caves

Sea Palace Hotel
Sea Palace Hotel
SEA PALACE HOTEL is situated on the sea front with a magnificent unrestricted sea view of the Mumbai harbour Marina. It is located near the Gateway of India and is in line with the famous Taj Mahal Hotel. Further, there is no traffic noise and the atmosphere is peaceful and unpolluted ...
  • INR 3,300.00
 
  • USD 71.53
Regency Inn
Regency Inn
ituated just behind the Taj Mahal and a stone's throw away from the Gateway of india, Regency Inn is housed in a 19th century edifice called Lansdowne House. This 21-room boutique heritage hotel used to be the town house of the famous Sassoon family who were instrumental in building south Mumbai ...
  • INR 3,960.00
 
  • USD 85.82