Ranked 7 among Places to Visit in Mumbai
Ideal Time: 4-5hours
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Elephanta Caves is a specimen of rock-cut art and architecture from the times of medieval India. The caves are located on the Elephanta island which is situated at a distance of 11 km from the city of Mumbai. Natively known as Gharapurichi Leni, the Elephanta Caves that exist today are ruins of what were once elaborately painted artworks. It also provides an amazing view of the Mumbai skyline.
There are two groups of alcoves in the site of the Elephanta Caves, the first is a large group of five Hindu caves and the second one is a smaller group of two Buddhist caves. The Hindu caves contain the stone sculptures representing the Shaiva Hindu sect. The architecture of the caves dates back to the 5th and 8th centuries, but the story of their origin is still a mystery. The caves are an expression of art and a number of important imageries are sculpted here, which include 'Trimurti' or three headed Shiva, 'Gangadhar' which is a manifestation of the river Ganga as she descends to the earth and 'Ardhnareshwar', which is a representation of Shiva and Parvati in the same body. In addition to being an important heritage site, the Elephanta Caves are also an unlikely trekking destination.
5 months ago by Pranjali Kureel
As a history enthusiast, I loved Elephanta caves with their grandeur and rock-cut architecture. The huge stone sculptures like 'Trimurti' and 'Ardhnareshwar' blew my mind. The ferry ride to the island on which these caves are situated isn't so much fun for people like me who experience seasickness. I visited Elephanta caves in the month of June when the weather was hot and humid which makes the long walk till caves even more tiring. However, the shops on the way are good for shopping as they sell a variety of stuff like metal/shell jewellery, bags, souvenirs etc. at affordable prices (Rs. 50- 450). It is advisable to visit the place in winter months and carry a water bottle to stay hydrated.
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