Indian Rock-Cut Temples in Sea of Oman; Elephanta Caves Island or Gharapuri Island

Elephanta Caves Islands, is a network of 7 sculpted caves dating back to 5th to 8th centuries. Elephanta Caves are regarded as the abode of Lord Shiva. Gharapuri Island or Elephanta Caves Island is also known as the ‘city of Caves’. It spans an area of 16 square kilometers. Gharapuri Island is at a distance of 9 nautical miles in the sea of Oman, from the Gateway of India, Mumbai in India.

Elephanta Caves Island alias Gharapuri Island Elephanta Caves Island alias Gharapuri Island

Indian rock-cut art at Elephanta Island has found one of its most perfect expressions in the seven caves here. Especially, the huge high reliefs in the main cave needs special  mention.

The island owes its name to the huge stone statue of an elephant found there by Portuguese navigators, which they tried to take it in a ship.  Portuguese abandoned the plan, because the chains were not strong enough to hold the giant statue through the rough seas. The statue was later moved to a museum in Mumbai by the British.

Gharapuri Island Alias Elephanta Island  is famous for the Elephenta Cave temples of seventh century dedicated to Lord Shiva. The Maheshamurti panel in which God Shiva is shown as the creator, the protector and the destroyer, is a rare sight to the eyes, which will make you spellbound. You should visit this place at least ones in your lifetime.

Gharapuri Island Alias Elephanta Caves Island has a toy train, intended for the kids. It takes kids to  the steps at the bottom of the caves. There are Street vendors selling snacks and food packets at  Gharapuri island. Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation, MTDC, runs a restaurant in the island.

A word of caution, beware of the monkeys that snatch food or snacks from you.

How Do I Go to Gharapuri Island Alias Elephanta Caves Island?

Elephanta Island caves are at a distance of 10 kilometers from Mumbai. Regular ferry services to Elephanta island caves are available. It is an hour’s journey from Gateway of India, Mumbai.

What are the Elephanta Caves Timings?

Ferry services to Elephanta caves are available from 9 am to 2 pm. Tickets for the ferry services are available at the Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation office at Gateway of India, Mumbai. Gharapuri Island is closed for tourists on Mondays.

Overnight stay is not allowed at the island for tourists. However, Local residents numbering around 12 hundred, reside at Gharapuri Island Alias Elephanta Caves Island .

Mumbai Darshan by Nilambari Open Deck Bus Tour

Mumbai Darshan (Mumbai sightseeing) services are offered by Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation. The package tour is named “Nilambari open deck bus tour” and is a unique group tour concept in India, at very affordable rates. Mumbai Darshan services are available to the general public and tourists on Saturdays and Sundays, barring the monsoon days. Nilambari open deck bus is also called “Mumbai Darshan bus”.

Mumbai Darshan, Nilambari Open Deck Bus Tour of Mumbai -Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus in Mumbai, India
Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus in Mumbai, India (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Mumbai, the historic city, which is the financial and business capital of India, is rich in culture and heritage. Mumbaiis one among the top cities to visit in India. There is nothing more precise and concise than getting on-board the Nilambari Open Deck Bus Tour of Mumbai to discover and explore Mumbai; or Bombay as it was known earlier.

The city tour is of one hour duration, suitable for tourists to cover much of the city’s heritage buildings and landmarks in the shortest possible span of time. There are two bus services, starting at 7 pm and 8.15 pm.

The charges for the guided tour of Mumbai by Nilambari Open Deck Bus in the upper deck is INR 150 (approximately US $ 3)  while the lower berth costs just INR 50 (approximately US $ 1). There are no charges for children below 3 years. Tickets booked can not be cancelled.

A certified guide who is well trained by Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation will be available on the Nilambari open deck bus to brief the passengers on the different aspects of the heritage buildings along the route, its historical value, etc.

Nilambari Open Deck Bus Tour of Mumbai covers Mumbai darshan places and prestigious heritage sites like Churchgate Head Office, Old Secretariat, Rajabai Tower, Convocation Hall, High Court, CST Railway Station, Thomas Cook, Asiatic Library – Gateway of India.

How do I Go for the Mumbai Darshan sightseeing?

Mumbai Darshan sightseeing group tour starts from Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation’s booking office premises at Gateway of India.