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Elephanta Island and Caves: Mumbai

A place in Elephanta Island

Bengaluru, July 30 (UITV) - Elephanta island is located in the Mumbai Harbour, which is the east side of the city. The island is famous for the Elephanta caves and historic Hindu and Buddhis cave temple that has been carved out of rocks. In ancient times it was known by the name Gharapuri, later the name Elephanta island was given by 16th-century Portuguese explorer after seeing an elephant sculpture at the entrance of the island. The island has an area of 16 km2 and the population of the inhabitants is 1200 and they are mainly involved in growing rice, fishing, repairing, and maintaining boats. The island has a total of three villages namely Shentbandar, Morabandar, and Rajbandar, of which Rajbandar is the capital of the island. Staying overnight is not permitted for tourists.

The island is 11 km away from the Gateway of India adjacent to the Taj Hotel and is easily accessible to ferry from there in a privately operated boat. Boats leave daily from the Gateway of India taking an average time of one hour to reach there. The first ferry leaves at 9 am and the last ferry allowed is at 2 pm and tickets are bought at the entrance of the boat itself which costs Rs.120 per person.

The island is covered with lush green forest and has rock-cut cave temples and the constructed date back the 5th century. There are two separate sets of temple caves that is five Hindu caves and two Buddhist caves. Most of these temples are partly ruined and the records indicate that the creators of the temple were destroyed over time. The cave also features sculptures depicting Lord shiva’s life along with other prominent sculptures of Parvati and elephant-headed son Ganesha.

It may take the whole day to spend here depending upon the availability of boats to ferry. It is suggested to carry tiffin while heading as most of the time on the island will be spent by walking. Restaurants are available but charge a high price for the food and service. While ferrying in the boat one can witness the sea waves, nearby other islands, dockyards, view of Mumbai city, large container ships sailing. Do not forget to take pictures in the sea and islands for your memories and eating wild berries sold by the local people of the island. The climate is very rigid, sometimes it rains heavily and sometimes there is intense sunlight, so do carry enough water and cold drinks while ferrying from the Gateway of India.

How to Reach?
If you are travelling from other states or countries, first reach to the city of Mumbai via airways, railways or roadways. Mumbai is well connected to all states via railways and foreign countries via airways. After reaching Mumbai take a taxi/cab to Gateway of India or the famous Taj Hotel. From here you can easily ferry to the island.

Other Places to Explore in Mumbai:

  • Marine Drive
  • Sri Mahalaxmi Temple
  • Haji Ali Dargah
  • Sanjay Gandhi National Park
  • Shri Siddhi Vinayak Ganapati Mandir
  • Hanging Garden
  • Kamla Nehru Park
  • DadaSaheb Phalke Chitranagari
  • Aksa Beach
  • Powai Lake
  • Bandra Fort
  • Marve Beach
  • Juhu Chowpaty
  • National Gallery of Modern Art

By Shashikant Chaurasia