Where are the Elephanta Caves?
The Elephanta caves lie on Elephanta Island in the state of Maharashtra. The island is located at a distance of 10 km from the Gateway of India at Mumbai. Lying in the vicinity of the large metropolis Mumbai, the Elephanta Caves rope in a myriad of visitors and tourists from far and wide.
How will you gain access?
There are regular launch and ferry services from the Gateway of India, Mumbai to take you to the Elephanta Island, except during the monsoon season. The boat takes mere 15 minutes to reach Elephanta Island. Mumbai has both international and domestic airports. The city also has an excellent network of railways.
What are the timings and the entry charges?
The Elephanta Caves are open from 09 hours to 17 hours except for Mondays. For Indians above 12 years, the entry fee is Rs. 5.00 and for the foreign nationals, the fee is the US $10.
What does the past say?
The Elephanta cave complex houses a group of beautiful rock-cut temples dating back to the 5th century CE. The Elephanta was given by the Portuguese after a statute of an elephant that stood near the landing area of the island. These group of temples is hewn in dedication to Lord Shiva.
What goes behind the architecture?
The rock-carved temples of Elephanta are very rich in their sculptural composition. The temples were cut out of rocks to create columns, internal spaces, and images. The entire temple is in the form of a huge sculpture that is provided with corridors and chambers. The whole temple complex is spread over an area of 60,000 sq feet. The temple complex consists of a main and two lateral chambers, courtyards, and numerous subsidiary shrines. The temple has three entrances. The axis of the temple is lined with a 20-pillar hall. On the western end of the hall is enshrined a Shivalingam. At the end of the north-south axis is carved the Sadasiva manifestation of Lord Shiva. This colossal 20-feet high image of Shiva is known as Trimurthy meaning three-headed idol. There are gigantic sculptured images of Kalyanasundaram, Gangadhara, Ardhanariswara, and Uma Maheswara on the southern wall.
What are the nearby attractions?
Juhu Beach is located 18 km north of the city center. It is located on the shores of the Arabian Sea and attracts tourists and picnickers in huge number both from India and abroad. Numerous food stalls, selling the very popular Bhelpuri, line the beach. It makes a fabulous jogging ground for the locals.
Gateway of India
The Gateway of India lies at a distance of 10 km from Elephanta Island. The gigantic archway is built in yellow basalt and is a creation of designer George Wittet’s mind. It was erected to commemorate the visit of King George V and Queen Mary to the city of Mumbai.
Which are the nearby hotels?
Accommodation is no big issue as the city of Mumbai lies in the vicinity. There are accommodations available ranging from 5-star deluxe to low-budget hotels. The Tajmahal(32 km from airport), the Resort(21 km from airport), Hotel President(30 km from airport), and the Oberoi Tower(23 km from airport) are a few of the 5-star deluxe hotels. Sun N Sand(a 10-minute drive from the airport), Sea Princess(8 km from the airport), and Le Royal Meridien( very close to the airport) are the popular 5-star hotels. The budget hotels include names like Hotel Heritage, the Residency, Hotel Grand, and Hotel Midland.
Where should you shop?
Shopping in Mumbai can prove to be a lifetime experience. There are a number of market complexes and shopping malls all over the city. The Chor Bazar, Mutton Street, and the Zaveri Bazar are among the popular shopping zones. At Chor Bazar, one can find items ranging from antiques and jewelry to wooden articles and leather goods. Crawford market is very popular for flowers, fruit, meat, and fish.