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.
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 .