Elephanta caves are the group of sculpted cave located on Elephanta Island, which is ten kilometer away from Apollo Bandar, Mumbai, in Maharashtra. Elephanta cave is also popular with the name Gharapuri (The city of Cave). The Island is named later than found a massive Elephant on this Island. The Elephanta caves were in the list of UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987 to protect the artwork. Now it is maintaining under Archaeological Survey of India.
The Elephanta Island is on an arm of the Arabian Sea in Mumbai. After gateway of India, it is highly crowded tourist place especially on the weekends and holidays. The island is scattered with lots of antique archaeological remains that are the only indication to its rich culture past. As per archaeological department the Elephanta caves sculpture were 5th to 8th centaury dates back.
There are main two caves group – first group has five caves which are dedicated to Hindu Lord Shiva, and second group has two caves that are dedicated to Buddhist. Until Portuguese rule earlier in 1534, the first cave or great cave is the worship place for Hindu, later than the caves were severely suffered from damage. In 1987, the artwork was preserved and designed by UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The hour-long ferry ride offers a perfect introduction to Hinduism. On the returning time, you can see a beautiful view of Sunset over the Mumbai. Elephanta Island offers quite and picturesque scenic with light-green flora. On the main northern entrance in the caves, there is a huge hall, supported by large pillars, where the massive Mahesamurti sculpture is housed.
By the Maharashtra Tourism Development corporation, every year in February, is hosted a dance festival on the Elephanta Island.
The visit on Elephanta caves you can visit from 9 am to 5 pm every day (except Monday)
Entry fee: for SAARC and BIMSTEC countries – Rs 10 per head and other country citizen – Rs 250
(Below 15 year child free entry)
Elephanta caves opens through the year, but winter time (November to February) are pleasant. You can avoid main rainy reason (June to August), this time boat schedule can be interrupted due to heavy rain.