Elephanta Caves

Nine nautical miles across the sea from the Gateway of India lies Elephanta Caves, also known as 'Gharapuri'. Visit this green island for the wonders of the 7th century, the pains taking.17 hewnrock-cut cave temple, dedicated to Shiva. The Maheshmurti panel, in which Shiva is known as a creator protector and destroyer, is a sight that should been joyed at least once in a lifetime. Regular excursions to Elephanta start every day from the Gateway of India. Though the ascent to reachthe cave is difficult to climb, ‘doli’ is always ready to pick up you. Launch service is also there from Alibag and Uran of Raigad district.

This cave temple is open from three sides, so light enters through different angles. In the play ofentering light and shade we feel that all stone-statues are alive and moving light comes from many directions and corners and changes at every moment. This is the main attraction of noteworthy experience here. In the cave temple there is roomy auditorium. Rows of pillars are in the auditorium. There are nine carved pictures on the wall. All the pillars must have been made simple so that the carved pictures can attract tourists’ attention. The caves are now designated as a World Heritage Site and visited by hundreds of tourists both for their art, historical and science value.

Elephanta Map.svg

The Portuguese renamed thisisland Elephenta after a large stone elephant found near the shore. (theElephenta sculpture collapsed in 1814, when the British relocated it to theVictoria Gardens now Mumbai’s zoo, where it still stands.) Once a year the MIDCarranges a two-day Festival of dance and music here. The Elephanta caves are agreat tourist attraction in the vicinity of the large Mumbai meteropolis.

The Elephenta island islocated 10 kms away from the Gateway of India at Mumbai. This rock cut templewas created by carving out rock, and creating the columns, the internal spacesand the images. The entire Temple is akin to a huge sculpture. The entirecomplex was created through a process of rock removal. The entire cave templecomplex covers an area of about 60000 square feet and it consists of a mainchamber and two lateral ones, courtyards and several subsidiary shrines. Thecolossal 20 feet high image of three headed Shiva, Trimurthy is a magnificent one,considered to be a masterpiece of indian art. It has stood there for more thana thousand years.

Getting there :
By Air: Nearest airport is Mumbai 20 kms. Up to Gateway and 9nautical miles across the sea.
By Rail:Nearest railheads are Chhatrapati Shiviaji Terminus (C. S. T)and Churchgate.

From Mumbai approach to the island is by boat . Luxuryand ordinary launches as well as catamarans leave for Elephanta from Apollo atthe Gateway of India. Boats usually start every half-hour from 9 am to 2 pmfrom Apollo and between 1 pm and 5 pm from Elephanta Island. Tickets are soldat booths near the Gateway of India and the MIDC offers daily tours to theisland. During the monsoons the ordinary boat services are usually suspended.

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