Mumbai is one of the most happening metropolitan cities with many tourist attractions. One of such best place to plan a weekend when in Mumbai is Elephanta Caves. These caves are situated at 10 kms from the Gateway of India is one of the major tourist attractions in Mumbai. The Glory of Lord Shiva is manifested in the one the oldest rock cut structures in the country and is the perfect example of ancient Indian art.
It’s said that the caves were built in between 6th to 8th century. The island on which the caves were ornamented is known Gharapuri and is very beautiful with lush green landscapes, rare flora and fauna along with risk-free primates. The main attraction in these caves is the three-headed sculpture of Lord Shiva called MaheshMurti. Another worthy watch is ‘Shiva Nataraja’ and ‘Ardhanareeshwara’sculptures that are another form of Shiva.
How to reach Elephanta Caves
Tourists from various parts of the world visit Mumbai every day. There are regular flights to Mumbai from around the country. If you are travelling from Delhi, Book New Delhi to Mumbai flights in advance at much cheaper rates. To reach Elephanta caves, one has to go to Gateway of India in Mumbai and take a boat/ferry ride from there. The journey on the sea takes an hour.
Elephanta Caves and its Details
The name Elephanta was given by Portuguese because of the enormous Elephant sculpture that is present in the island. UNESCO has identified this tourist attraction as the world heritage site.There are seven caves in Elephanta Caves, and all are dedicated to Lord Shiva.
The centre part of the Elephant is the gigantic temple cave complex with many Lord Shiva’s idols and shrines. The walls of the cave are decorated with carved panels. It takes most of the time to visit this cave once the tourists are on the island. The sculptures are breathtaking and the most awe-inspiring rock-cut art of India. The main idol in the cave is the three-headed MaheshMurti and once entered idol on the left we find the panel of Mahayogi Shiva and on the right the panel of Nataraja Shiva.
From Cave 1 once can proceed to Cave 2 till Cave 5, a paved trailin between them takes us to Cave 3 and Cave 4.
The Cave 2 is located little up on the hill and consists of a pillared portico, an open hall and three cells behind the hall. From the paved trails, we can have a panoramic view of the beautiful sea.
This is a large cave complex after the Cave 1 and has an impressive row of large pillars. The doorways are carved richly.
This Cave is located behind Cave 3, has an open verandah with a massive rock formation which is unsupported. The main shrine has a Shiva Linga, and the entrance is beautifully carved.
This is an unfinished Cave and looks like it is in the process of the excavation. It is tough to roam around and trek this Cave.
Cave 6 and Cave 7
These two Caves are located on the eastern side of the Elephanta islands. It is generally not included in the tour itinerary. One can find remnants of Church in Cave 6 and Buddhist Stupas in Cave 7.
Other than Caves one can visit Elephanta museum and other tourist attractions, overall if you are visiting from New Delhi and want to have a good weekend plan in Mumbai then book New Delhi to Mumbai flights and have a great time at Elephanta Caves with friends, family and loved ones.