The Elephanta Caves Mumbai, located on the Elephanta Island(also known as Gharapuri Island) is a UNESCO World Heritage site. These rock cut caves are believed to have been constructed between 6th Century AD and 8th Century AD.
This blog is a travel guide on Elephanta caves Mumbai and shares with readers all the important information related to planning a trip to Elephanta Caves.In this blog, we share with you some of the important things you must know for planning a trip to these caves such as Elephanta caves timings, Elephanta caves ferry timings, how to go to Elephanta Caves and more.
Elephanta Caves Mumbai
Elephanta Caves History
Pulakesin-II, the warrior king from the great Chalukyan Dynasty is credited with the construction of a significant portion of these caves.The island remained under the control of several kingdoms and dynasties over its history.
Some of these were Chalukyas of Badami, Mauryas of Konkan, Rashtrakutas, Yadavas of Deogiri, the Portuguese, the Marathas and the British.Out of all the caves, it is the caves of Shiva that are believed to have been constructed during the reign of Konkan Maurya period during the 6th Century AD.
It is believed that prior to being the Shiva caves, for which these caves are famous, these caves were actually Buddhist Caves.
During the early phases of colonial rule, the area came under the control of the Portuguese. There are historical records of the then travellers who have shared that a great deal of damage was done by the Portuguese soldiers to these caves.
How To Reach Elephanta Caves
Follow the below guidelines to reach Elephanta Caves Mumbai:
- To reach the caves, one should leave for Appolo Bunder early enough in the morning to reach Gateway of India by 08:45 am. Those who are staying in the North Mumbai or Central Mumbai should keep in mind that there is usually huge traffic on the western highway.
- Just as you move from the main road towards Appollo Bunder, on your right side are the ticket windows from where you can book your Elephanta Caves Ferry tickets.
- The ferry service to Elephanta caves start at 09:00 am and the last ferry from Appollo Bunder near Gateway of India to Elephanta leaves at 03:00 pm. The first ferry from Elephanta to Gateway of India leaves around 12:00 pm and the last ferry for return journey leaves Elephanta at 05:30 pm.(Elephanta Caves Ferry Time Table)
- The total distance between Gateway of India to Elephanta caves is about 11 km and it takes about 1 hour in the ferry to reach each way.
- The cost of ferry ticket for adults at present is INR 200, while the cost of ferry ticket for a child is INR 125 for children between the age of 3 years to 7 years.
- Elephanta caves Mumbai remain closed for the tourists each Monday.
Once you embark upon the ferry and she leaves for her journey from Mumbai to Elephanta Islands, you would be mesmerized by the picture perfect Mumbai shoreline with the famous Taj Hotel in the background.
For those who wish to sit on the upper deck, an informal fee of INR 10 per person is charged by the local crew of the ferry.
Within no time the tourists from different nationalities mingle amongst themselves as the Elephanta caves ferry moves swiftly towards the caves.
One can frequently see the foreign travellers interacting with the vendors who sell interesting stuff to the travellers on the ferry.
After about 45 minutes of starting from Appolo Bunder, one can see the Elephanta Islands on the horizon.While the boat cruises fast towards the island, the travellers get enthusiastic for they are just about 15 minutes away from one of the most famous of UNESCO World Heritage site in Maharashtra.
As the ferry arrives at Elephanta Islands, the travellers disembark and proceed towards the point from where they can buy a ticket for a ride on the train to the entrance point of the caves. The ticket for train costs INR 10 and one can avoid this train and walk also.
As the tourists walk further, they have to cross a ticket counter.The cost of a ticket is INR 5 per adult(12 years and above), INR 3(for children 6 to 12 years of age) and INR 1 for school students.
Beyond this point, one reaches a point from where one has to climb stairs leading to the main entrance of Elephanta Caves Mumbai.One needs to be careful as there are monkeys in this area eager to snatch away anything to eat.
Elephanta Caves Entry Fees
As you enter the gates and walk further about 50 meters, you reach the ticket counter of ASI (Archeological Survey of India) where one has to buy the entry ticket for the Caves.The entry fees for Elephanta caves is INR 30 only for Indian citizens and citizens of BIMSTEC & SAARC countries.Once you have purchased the tickets, you walk another 50 meters to reach the entrance of the caves.
Beyond this point, you would be amazed by the sheer magnificence of the rock-cut caves.The moment one enters the main Cave 1, one can see the Sadashiv, the master sculpture which represents the 3 aspects of Shiva, as the creator(Bhairava), the preserver(Taptapurusha) and the destroyer(Vamadeva).
Other important representations of Shiva can be found in the sculptures of Nataraja, Andhakasuravadha, Yogishvara, Ardhanarishwara, Gangadharamurti, Kalyanasundaramurti, and Ravanaanugrahamurti.
One can occasionally see tourist guides sharing specific information about these rock-cut sculptures.
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