Elephanta Caves - One of the famous tourist spots in Mumbai
A UNESCO World Heritage Site
The Elephanta Caves are located on Elephanta Island, on an arm of the Arabian Sea, in Mumbai Harbour, about 10 kms from the city of Mumbai, Maharashtra, India.
The caves are hewn from solid basalt rock and their origin dates back to 600 A.D. The Elephanta Island was originally called Gharapuri, but the Portuguese renamed it Elephanta after they found a large elephant shaped stone near their landing place. The Elephanta Caves attracts a large number of tourists from all over the world every year, and were declared as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in the year 1987.
The Elephanta Caves consist of two groups – one is a large group of 5 Hindu caves, and the other is a small group of 2 Buddhist Caves. Entry to the caves is through the main northern entrance which leads to a massive hall, supported by large pillars, where the statue of Mahesamurti is placed. At the entrance is the famous Trimurti of Elephanta, which depicts: Lord Brahma the Creator, Lord Vishnu, the preserver and Lord Shiva the Destroyer. Other sculptures near the doorways and on side panels celebrate God Shiva's accomplishments.
Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC) organizes a dance festival at Elephanta Island every year in the month of February. The Elephanta Island also provides a nice and beautiful view of Mumbai's skyline.
Best Time to visit Elephanta Caves
Elephanta Caves is open on all days, except Monday, from 9:00 AM to 5:30 PM. However, the best season to visit is from November to March.
Ferry timings: 9:00 AM to 2:30 PM (Return after 4 hours)
How to reach Elephanta Caves
Elephanta Caves are accessible via ferry which you will get from the Gateway of India. The nearest airports are Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport and Chhatrapati Shivaji Domestic Airport. The nearest railway stations are Mumbai Central and Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus.
To see other famous tourist places in Mumbai, check out: Tourist Places in Mumbai.