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Elephanta Caves, Mumbai

Nestled on the picturesque Elephanta Island, just a short ferry ride away from the bustling city of Mumbai, lies a treasure trove of ancient art and architecture—the Elephanta Caves. In this guide, we embark on a journey to uncover the secrets of these magnificent caves, delving into their history, significance, and providing essential Elephanta Caves information, including how to reach caves.

Explore the fascinating Elephanta Caves in Mumbai with rich history. Learn how to reach the caves and find essential Elephanta Caves information for your visit.

   Traveller Information

  • Famous For  History, Photography, Sculptures, Carvings
  • Fee  Guide in Detailed Below
  • Visiting Time  9:30AM – 5:00 PM
  • Duration of Visit  2 to 3 hours

Elephanta Caves History

The Elephanta Caves Mumbai date back to the 5th to 7th centuries AD and are believed to have been built by various dynasties, including the Chalukyas and the Rashtrakutas. These rock-cut caves served as a place of worship for followers of Hinduism and Buddhism, showcasing exquisite sculptures and reliefs dedicated to various deities.

Name Origins

The name “Elephanta” is said to have been derived from the Portuguese phrase “Ilha da Elephanta,” meaning “Island of Elephants.” The island was named by the Portuguese explorers who visited the region in the 16th century, possibly due to the presence of a large stone elephant sculpture near the caves. However, the original name of the island remains unknown.

Elephanta Caves Architecture

The Elephanta Caves comprise a complex of cave temples, consisting of five Hindu caves and two Buddhist caves. The most prominent cave, known as the Great Cave or Cave 1, houses an impressive array of sculptural panels depicting scenes from Hindu mythology, including the Trimurti—Lord Brahma, Lord Vishnu, and Lord Shiva. The intricate carvings and detailed reliefs are a testament to the skill and craftsmanship of the artisans who created them.

Significance

The Elephanta Caves History holds significant religious and cultural importance. It is believed that the caves were used as a place of worship and meditation by Hindu and Buddhist monks. The sculptures and inscriptions found within the caves offer insights into ancient Indian spirituality and artistic expression, making them a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a must-visit destination for history enthusiasts and spiritual seekers alike.

Visiting Timing of Elephanta Caves

The caves are open from 9:30 am to 5:00 pm. However, the first boat from Mumbai starts only by 9 am and it would take one hour to reach Elephanta Caves. The caves are closed on Mondays.

Best Time To Visit Elephanta Caves

The island is at prime beauty throughout the year. However, it is best to visit the monuments during the winter season (November to end of February). March to June is the summer season. The temperature is hot and humid. If you are looking for a budget vacation to Mumbai, summer is the right time. The visiting time, fee and boat charges would not alter a lot with regards to the season.

Entry Fee of Elephanta Caves

  • INR 40 per head for Indians, Bangladeshi, Bhutan citizen, Nepali, Pakistani, Sri Lankan, Myanmar citizen, Thailand citizen, and Maldives citizens
  • INR 600 per head for foreigners of other country origin
  • INR 10 per head for village visit
  • INR 10 per head for the toy train ride (instead of walking for 20 minutes from the foothill to the caves, you can choose to ride a toy train)
  • INR 25 for video camera
  • Carrying a still camera is free
  • Guide charge – starting from INR 100 (the charge increases with the size of the group)

How To Reach Elephanta Caves From Gateway Of India?

You can reach Gateway of India by taking trains to CST or Churchgate station (metro stations). From the metro stations, the Gateway of India can be reached via bus or taxi. From any of the stations, the cost of a taxi ride to Gateway of India starts at INR 50 and it would be higher based on the demand. Very close to the Gateway of India, you will find a jetty. Tickets to boats in the jetty will be sold by little boys near the entrance. Buy tickets and walk towards the jetty to catch the boat.

How To Reach Elephanta Caves From Bandra?

Bandra is just 18 km away from Gateway of India. You can find direct cabs from Bandra to Gateway of India. From the Gateway of India, you can hire boats to reach the island. You can also find buses from Bandra to Gateway of India.

Conclusion

A visit to the Elephanta Caves Mumbai is a journey through time, offering a glimpse into India’s rich cultural and religious heritage. From the awe-inspiring sculptures to the tranquil surroundings of Elephanta Island, this UNESCO World Heritage Site is a testament to the artistic and spiritual achievements of ancient Indian civilization.

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