Tuesday, 11 January 2011

The Elephanta Caves

It’s a Saturday and we decided to visit The Elephanta Caves. Also it was a decision to take a local train ride this time to enjoy the Mumbai crowd. From CST a 5 minutes drive in taxi and then an hour long ferry ride through the sea to reach this beautiful spot was quite an experience.
The Island
There are guides to help you understand the history of the caves and chairs lifted by human for a ride who cannot of course take the tedious steps up the hill. A small train is available to take you from the arrival point to the base of hills.

The Train


Elephanta Caves are located on Elephanta Island in Mumbai harbor about 10kms from Mumbai city. The island got its name from huge rock elephant discovered by the Portuguese in 18th Century AD, which is now placed at Jijamata Udyaan. The solid basalt rock cut architecture in the caves has been dated between 5th to 8th century. There are seven caves in total out of which the cave number 1 contains sculptures of Lord Shiva and the famous Maheshmurti idol which earned international acclaim for the caves.


Yogeswar Shiva (The Meditator)

Natraj Shiva (The Dancer)

Gangadhar ( Base of Ganges)

Maheshmurti Shiva

Ardhanariswar ( Half feminine)



All the sculptures are badly damaged. Portuguese soldiers used these priceless idols of god for target practice except the Maheshmurti Shiva idol. Further damage occurred due to Water lodging, dripping rainwater and invasion of modern visitors. Today, Elephanta caves are a World Heritage monument designated as UNESCO World Heritage site in 1987 to preserve the artwork. It is currently maintained by the Archeological Survey of India.

Two huge canons are located on two hills named as cannon hill 1 and 2. There are huge rooms below these huge canons used by the Portuguese, which they might have used for storage of armory.

The canon

There is a museum at the entrance of the caves,  containing pictures of different caves and architecture found in Mahrastra.

You have to beware of monkeys and cows, eager to swallow your food and stay away from the washrooms there. It’s pathetic.


  1. The train ride should be fun. Strangely I've never been to the Elephanta Caves.

  2. Yes Purba. It is fun but it's hugely rush & for a very short time.

  3. Nice post. I liked the pictures very much. The scent of history is always so fragrant. Hope to see more posts like this one. Cheers.

  4. Well the pics are excellent... You have also presented the article very nicely... Loved the powai lake post too, great reflections...
    Keep blogging:)

  5. Hey Priya,

    You have a wonderful blog out here, the pics are awesome...you are a good photographer !

    Lucky you have been to so many places in Mumbai alone...I'm yet to explore so much, I've been to National Park but not to Kaneri Caves...wow its beautiful, your pics are tempting me to go there now!

    Hope you update your blog soon with many more exciting places in Mumbai that we mumabikars have not seen!

    Take Care,

    P.S: Hey do have a look at my blog too and drop your comments if you like anything....