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Elephanta Island

Location Raigarh dist., Maharashtra
Distance from Mumbai 10kms
Special Features Elephanta caves
Best Time Anytime of the year

Elephanta Island MumbaiElephanta Island is also called Gharapuri Island or place of caves. It is one among a number of islands in Mumbai harbor, east of Mumbai. The island is specifically popular among tourists for its number of cave temples also called Elephanta caves, which have been carved out of rock. Elephanta name owes to the Portuguese, who captured the island from the Sultan of Gujarat in 1535AD and named it so for its huge sculpted elephant.

Elephanta caves have imposing examples of early rock- out architecture. Not of the high tenor as the Ajanta or Ellora caves, the Elephanta cave is a worth visit. The cave temple in Elephanta is dedicated to Lord Shiva. The cave temple, situated some 75 meters above jetty level, closely follows the pattern of the Dumar Lena cave in Ellora. This temple was excavated sometime in the 8th century by the Rashtrakuta kings who ruled the area between AD 757-973.

A veritable spiritual retreat the locale of the Elephanta cave temple turns into virtual carnival during the weekends when day trippers from Mumbai converge for merrymaking. Maharashtra Tourism organizes a colorful festival of classical music and dance in the third week of February each year. It is the time when the Elephanta Island has an otherworldly look to it with sonorous music in the air and classical Indian dance conjuring a surreal impression on the audience.

How to Reach Elephanta Island
Elephanta Island is about 10kms from Mumbai harbor. You have launches leaving the Gateway of India every 30mins from 9am. It takes around one and half hours to reach the Elephanta Island from Mumbai. There are faster catamarans also available.