Elephanta caves

Elephanta Caves is situated on the Elephanta Island (also known as the island of Gharapuri) off the Mumbai coast which are accessible from the Gateway of India by ferry. It takes almost 60-70 minutes to reach the island coast and a short trek up the stairs will take you to the network of caves which is dedicated to the cult of Lord Shiva and Buddhism.


ImagebyPatrice78500/CC BY-SA 3.0

The caves are located in the Raigad taluka, around 10 kilometres east of Mumbai. These basalt rock caves contain rock sculptures that represent the Shaiva sect. These set of 5 caves were built around 5th and 8th century A.D. and are still among the famous heritage structures in Mumbai that are frequented by tourists. Here is some information that will come handy before you go on to explore the heritage site.

Timings and Tickets:

The cave timings are from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM.
Ferry services are available from the jetty at Gateway of India to the caves from 9:00 AM to 3:30 PM. The return ferry service from the caves towards Gateway is available between 12:00 Noon till 6:00 PM. The journey as mentioned above takes approximately an hour and costs anywhere between Rs. 80 and 150. While the frequency cannot be judged, it is usually dependent on the rush.

When you reach the entrance of the caves, you need to purchase tickets priced at Rs. 10 for Indians and SAARC nationals, and Rs. 250 for others. Children up to 15 years are allowed free. Photography is allowed for free, and videography at an additional charge of Rs. 25.

How toreach

The only way to reach Elephanta caves is by ferry from Gateway of India. The nearest station to the Gateway is CST for central and harbour line commuters whereas for western line commuters, Churchgate would be the closest station to the Gateway jetty.

If travelling by road, one can arrive at Gateway via Fort and then head towards the caves by ferry.


Image byRicardo Martins/CC BY-SA 2.0

The Caves

The main caves are five in number, and the smaller ones, dedicated to Buddhism, have two caves. The walls are lined with sculptures from some famous moments from Shiva mythology that include his consort Parvati and their son Kartikeya. The most important, however, remains the Trimurti that shows the three faces of Shiva, as the Creator, Protector and Destroyer.

Famous Caves

When there, make sure to visit:

  • The Main Cave, also known asCave 1or theShiva Cave
  • East Wing Shrine
  • West Wing Shrine
  • Trimurti Shrine of Shiva which display the three faces of the Lord

Preservation

Currently under the Archaeological Survey of India, with help from Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage, it is also a World UNESCO Heritage Site, designated in 1987. It is protected from commercial activities like mining and quarrying through the Elephanta Island (Protected Monument) Rules Act of 1957.

Note: As part of its plan to encourage tourism while maintaining a local flavour, the Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC) organises a dance festival in February.


Image byRicardo Martins/CC BY-SA 2.0

Activities To Do

Elephanta Caves can fulfil your desire for history; there are little indulgences that you could enjoy while youre here, however be warned of the notorious monkeys lurking around on the branches:

Shopping: The local stalls sell cheap accessories and toys as well as gem earrings, necklaces and other ornaments. So once you have visited the caves, you can pick some things for yourself.

Eating Stalls: As you de-board the ferry, you will see a number of vendors selling chaat items, raw mango and corn cobs which will keep you full for your climb up the stairs.


Image byRicardo Martins/CC BY-SA 2.0

History

Originally named Gharapuri or the city of caves, it got its present name from the Portuguese. The rock cut sculptures are said to have been built anytime between 5th and 8th century AD. The debate rages on who built them, and which were built when. And as in all cases where written records are amiss, verbal stories take over.

The myths say that the Pandavas from the Mahabharata and Banasura, a devotee of Lord Shiva have built it. Alternatively, cults of historians attribute the building of the caves to the Konkan Mauryas (early 5th century) and Kalachuris (late 6th century), both part of the Shaiva sect that the caves predominantly celebrate.Another legend says that they were built by the Rashtrakutas, whose royal insignia was similar to that of the Elephanta Trimurti which shows the three faces of Shiva. Regardless of their origin, the region was eventually surrendered to the Portuguese in the 1500s and a lot of ruins are caused by them.

Restaurants

It can get a little tiring, immersing yourself in the expanse that the caves are. The MTDC Chalukya restaurant is a great place serving good and hygienic food along with a chilled can of beer, to offset the heat. Perfect way to rest them feet, and cool that mind!

The main image for this article was sourced from Wikimedia. Image byChristian Haugen/CC BY-SA 2.0

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Your email address will not be published.

Elephanta caves: UNESCO glory

Elephanta Caves is situated on the Elephanta Island (also known as the island of Gharapuri) off the Mumbai coast which are accessible from the Gateway of India by ferry. It takes almost 60-70 minutes to reach the island coast and a short trek up the stairs will take you to the network of caves which is dedicated to the cult of Lord Shiva and Buddhism.


Image by Patrice78500/CC BY-SA 3.0

The caves are located in the Raigad taluka, around 10 kilometres east of Mumbai. These basalt rock caves contain rock sculptures that represent the Shaiva sect. These set of 5 caves were built around 5th and 8th century A.D. and are still among the famous heritage structures in Mumbai that are frequented by tourists. Here is some information that will come handy before you go on to explore the heritage site.

Timings and Tickets:

The cave timings are from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM.
Ferry services are available from the jetty at Gateway of India to the caves from 9:00 AM to 3:30 PM. The return ferry service from the caves towards Gateway is available between 12:00 Noon till 6:00 PM. The journey as mentioned above takes approximately an hour and costs anywhere between Rs. 80 and 150. While the frequency cannot be judged, it is usually dependent on the rush.

When you reach the entrance of the caves, you need to purchase tickets priced at Rs. 10 for Indians and SAARC nationals, and Rs. 250 for others. Children up to 15 years are allowed free. Photography is allowed for free, and videography at an additional charge of Rs. 25.

How to reach

The only way to reach Elephanta caves is by ferry from Gateway of India. The nearest station to the Gateway is CST for central and harbour line commuters whereas for western line commuters, Churchgate would be the closest station to the Gateway jetty.

If travelling by road, one can arrive at Gateway via Fort and then head towards the caves by ferry.


Image by Ricardo Martins/CC BY-SA 2.0

The Caves

The main caves are five in number, and the smaller ones, dedicated to Buddhism, have two caves. The walls are lined with sculptures from some famous moments from Shiva mythology that include his consort Parvati and their son Kartikeya. The most important, however, remains the Trimurti that shows the three faces of Shiva, as the Creator, Protector and Destroyer.

Famous Caves

When there, make sure to visit:

  • The Main Cave, also known as Cave 1 or the Shiva Cave
  • East Wing Shrine
  • West Wing Shrine
  • Trimurti Shrine of Shiva which display the three faces of the Lord

Preservation

Currently under the Archaeological Survey of India, with help from Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage, it is also a World UNESCO Heritage Site, designated in 1987. It is protected from commercial activities like mining and quarrying through the Elephanta Island (Protected Monument) Rules Act of 1957.

Note: As part of its plan to encourage tourism while maintaining a local flavour, the Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC) organises a dance festival in February.


Image by Ricardo Martins/CC BY-SA 2.0

Activities To Do

Elephanta Caves can fulfil your desire for history; there are little indulgences that you could enjoy while youre here, however be warned of the notorious monkeys lurking around on the branches:

Shopping: The local stalls sell cheap accessories and toys as well as gem earrings, necklaces and other ornaments. So once you have visited the caves, you can pick some things for yourself.

Eating Stalls: As you de-board the ferry, you will see a number of vendors selling chaat items, raw mango and corn cobs which will keep you full for your climb up the stairs.


Image by Ricardo Martins/CC BY-SA 2.0

History

Originally named Gharapuri or the city of caves, it got its present name from the Portuguese. The rock cut sculptures are said to have been built anytime between 5th and 8th century AD. The debate rages on who built them, and which were built when. And as in all cases where written records are amiss, verbal stories take over.

The myths say that the Pandavas from the Mahabharata and Banasura, a devotee of Lord Shiva have built it. Alternatively, cults of historians attribute the building of the caves to the Konkan Mauryas (early 5th century) and Kalachuris (late 6th century), both part of the Shaiva sect that the caves predominantly celebrate. Another legend says that they were built by the Rashtrakutas, whose royal insignia was similar to that of the Elephanta Trimurti which shows the three faces of Shiva. Regardless of their origin, the region was eventually surrendered to the Portuguese in the 1500s and a lot of ruins are caused by them.

Restaurants

It can get a little tiring, immersing yourself in the expanse that the caves are. The MTDC Chalukya restaurant is a great place serving good and hygienic food along with a chilled can of beer, to offset the heat. Perfect way to rest them feet, and cool that mind!

The main image for this article was sourced from Wikimedia. Image by Christian Haugen/CC BY-SA 2.0

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.