The Elephanta Caves designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987, are believed to have been created over 1500 years ago and are both an important ancient monument and a revered shrine of the Hindu religion. The mighty figures carved in to the 6 rock caves depict Shiva, most important of Hindu deities, the goddess Parvati his wife, and the quises assumed by Shiva in the form of half man,half woman. The complex story of battles between good and evil in which they were involved are represented in different sections of the Temple.
It was unfortunate that the special lighting which apparently illuminates the temple was not working. The redoubtable Parsi guide we had met the day before did her best to find out if they could be switched on. A good deal of commotion and shouting followed to no avail and it waas very diificult to see the bas-relief decoration forwhich the caves are so famous. Nor was flash photography allowed in the caves and the few people who went ahead anyway were soon reprimanded by custodians.
In spite of these minor disappointments it was a worthwhile visit providing another insight into the richness and diversity of Indian history and culture .
No visit to Mumbai would be complete without a visit to Elephanta Caves. An hour boat-ride will take you to the Island.
Elephanta Island is one of a number of islands east of Mumbai. It's popular attraction is the famous Elephanta Caves and temple, carved out of a rockface. Inside the caves are magnificent stone carved statues of Hindu deities.
The present name Elephanta, was given by 17th century Portuguese explorers, after seeing a monolithic basalt sculpture of an elephant found here near the entrance. They decided to take it back to Portugal, but ended up dropping it into the sea because of its great weight. After retrieval fom its watery grave, this sculpture was moved to the Victoria and Albert Museum in Mumbai, by the British.
There is a steep climb upto the cave complex. The steps are lined with hawkers selling religious and other artifacts, and also foodstalls for refreshment.
If the walk up the steep steps is a difficulty- one can hire 'bearers'who sit you in a chair attatched to poles, and they will have you at the caves in a very short while. The fee is about R100
The ferry ride takes about an hour from the wharf near the Gateway to India, and gives a great oppurtunity to view another perspective of Mumbai and its Gateway.
One of the most must see site of mumbai.. They charge 500/- rs for non indians and 20/- rs for indians (huge diff) any way for reaching here you have to take a launch from gate way of india which will charge you 50/- rs for return fare. Its worth to see.
The cave temples to Siva, on the island of Elephanta, in the Bombay harbour, contain some of the most magnificent sculptures in the Deccan. The dating of the caves seems to be controversial. They were probably finished some time between 450 and 750 AD. The complex is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Access from Mumbai is by boats leaving from the Gateway of India. The 10 Km journey takes a little less than an hour each way. The boat service may be suspended during the monsoon. Tickets and timings for the boats are available at the Gateway. From the landing stage on Elephanta Island there are stairs that lead to the cave. Tickets are available at the top, near the entrance to the caves. There is a good view of the city across the harbour from the terrace of the Tourism Department's hotel next to the cave complex.
Only a 20 minutes ride by boat from the India-Gate (Naruman-Point), are the Elephanta Caves, a place you should include in your itinerary. The Elephanta Caves are characterised by rock temples carved out of two hills that emerge from the centre of the island. It is said that the Portuguese named this island after the stone elephant they found here. At Elephanta you can see the cave shrine of Lord Shiva, which belongs to the sixth century, and a massive three-headed sculpture representing Brahma the creator, Vishnu the preserver, and Shiva the destroyer.
In the first cave youll find a giganteous "lingam", as shown in picture #1 !
These caves on Elephanta Island date back to the fifth century. They are filled with Hindu carvings, some of them very large. Unfortunately, Portugese soldiers used the caves for target practice and did a lot of damage.
You catch a ferry at the Gateway of India to get there. Buy a ticket at one of the nearby booths (dodge the touts). The ferry ride is one of the best parts of visiting here as it gives good views of the city and the island is a nice break from noisy Mumbai.
I hired a guide when I arrived for 200 rupees and he was helpful.
Maybe I should have put it under off the beaten path as you need an hour boatride to reach Elephanta Caves but they are so well-known and I read so much visited that I thought it deserved a must see place...
Down the Gateway of India is the peer from where leave the ferries to the Gharapuri Island. And after the hour boatride, a walk up to the top of the stairs crowded with stalls of beautiful handcrafts and you reach the Elephanta Caves, charming spot of Hindu Gods and Goddesses stone sculptures.
The fare costs 80 Rs. the ordinary and 100 Rs. the luxury, then a fee of 5 Rs. when you enter the island.
The entrance is 250 Rs. for foreigners, 10 Rs. for Indians.
But you can get bothered with a whole page I built about these caves...
The Elephanta Caves are a great tourist attraction around Mumbai. The Elephanta island is located 10 km away from the Gateway of India at Mumbai. These caves house rock cut temples dating back to the 5th century CE during the Mauryan rule.
The Elephanta island was so named by the Portuguese, after the statue of an elephant near the landing area of the island. These rock cut temples dedicated to Shiva Mahadeva are rich in sculptural content.
Elephanta Caves in the island of Gharapuri just about an hour's ride by boat from the Gateway of India, is one of the most visited sites in Bombay. Even though its not very well maintained for such a archaelogically beautiful site, it still mesmerizes people with its stunning sculptures which have withstood the test of time.
At,Elephenta caves one can see seven magnificent rock cut caves.
This pic main hall,western side you can see,Lingam shrine ,inside 1m Lingam,four sideguarded by dwarapalas(doorkeepers),they too very big.Lingam is symbol of Lord Shiva.
This hall can see diffrent form of Shiva,one is Ardhanariswara,is 5m hight,and
Brama figure too.
Timing: 9a.m -5.30 pm.
Entrance fee Rs 10.
For Foreigners US$5(Rs 250)
Every Monday its closed.
How to go,plz chek my transport tips.
A nice visit for a morning in Mumbai is a trip to the Elephanta Island (see transportation for ferry details), hinduist caves carved on rock. Entrance 10 $. Ferry 85 Rs.
At the entrance there are a lot of souvenir shops.
The Shiva Tromuri (3 faces) statue, at the bottom of the main cave, is the main attraction.
ELEPHANTA CAVES, on the island of Elephanta in Bombay's harbor, house amazing cave temples to Siva. The dating of the caves, and of the sculptures within them, is controversial. They were probably finished some time between 450 and 750 AD. The site is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Hewn out of solid rock, the Elephanta Caves date back to 600 AD, and attract more visitors each year than the entire city of Mumbai. No wonder: this place resonates with the spiritual energy of India. The cave complex is a collection of shrines, courtyards, inner cells, grand halls and porticos arranged in the splendid symmetry of Indian rock-cut architecture, and filled with exquisite stone sculptures of Hindu Gods and Goddesses. It is situated on Gharapuri Island in Mumbai's harbour, about an hour's boatride from the Gateway Of India. At the entrance to the caves is the famous Trimurti, the celebrated trinity of Elephanta : there's Lord Brahma the Creator, Lord Vishnu, the preserver and Lord Shiva the Destroyer Unfortunately, many of the sculptures inside have been damaged by iconoclastic Portuguese rulers who took potshots at Hindu Gods with their rifles. And yet somehow, nothing has disturbed the sublime beauty of this place for centuries.
If you are visiting dont miss the museum out there. These are only a few but a whole lot of collection is available out there.