The Elephanta Caves are a UNESCO World Heritage Site located on an island near Mumbai, India. They are famous for their rock-cut sculptures and temples dedicated to Hindu and Buddhist deities. The caves date back to the 5th and 6th centuries CE and showcase the artistic and religious traditions of ancient India.
The ticket price for visiting the Elephanta Caves is Rs. 40 for Indian citizens and Rs. 600 for foreign nationals. Children below the age of 15 can enter for free. The ticket includes entry to the caves and the museum. There is an additional charge of Rs. 10 for a camera and Rs. 25 for a video camera.
The Elephanta Caves are open from Tuesday to Sunday, from 9:30 am to 5:30 pm. They are closed on Mondays and national holidays.
The best time to visit is between November and March, when the weather is pleasant and the ferry service is regular.
To get to the Elephanta Caves, one has to take a ferry from the Gateway of India in Mumbai. The ferry ride takes about an hour and costs Rs. 200 for a return ticket. The ferry operates from 9 am to 2:30 pm from Mumbai and from 12 pm to 5:30 pm from Elephanta Island. There are two types of ferries: ordinary and deluxe. The deluxe ferry has better seats and a roof, while the ordinary ferry is open-air and crowded.
There are several tours available for visiting the Elephanta Caves, ranging from half-day to full-day options. Some tours include a guide, lunch, and transportation, while others are self-guided and flexible. The tours can be booked online or through travel agents in Mumbai. The average cost of a tour is around Rs. 1500 per person.
The main attraction of the Elephanta Caves is the Great Cave, which houses a magnificent statue of Shiva as Sadashiva, the three-faced lord of creation, preservation, and destruction. The statue is carved out of a single rock and measures 6 meters in height. The cave also has other sculptures depicting various aspects of Shiva, such as Nataraja (the cosmic dancer), Ardhanarishvara (the half-male half-female form), and Gangadhara (the bearer of the river Ganga). The other caves have smaller shrines and images of Buddha and other Hindu gods and goddesses.
Some tips for visiting the Elephanta Caves are:
- Wear comfortable shoes and clothes, as there are many steps and uneven paths to reach the caves.
- Carry water, snacks, sunscreen, hat, and sunglasses, as there are no shops or facilities on the island.
- Beware of monkeys, who may snatch your food or belongings.
- Respect the sanctity of the caves and do not touch or damage the sculptures.
- Enjoy the scenic views of the Arabian Sea and the Mumbai skyline from the island.
Some prohibitions for visiting the Elephanta Caves are:
- Do not litter or throw garbage on the island or in the sea.
- Do not smoke or consume alcohol inside or near the caves.
- Do not make loud noises or play music inside or near the caves.
- Do not take photographs or videos without permission or payment.
- Do not enter restricted areas or climb on the rocks or sculptures.