India is a land where visitors or tourists can easily find out lots of tourist attractions. Whether you want to visit a historical building or an incredible world heritage site, you always find it a right place to go with. If you want to visit one of the greatest heritage sites in India, you should not forget visiting Elephanta Caves. It is a UNESCO preserved World Heritage Site, which is positioned among the top tourist attractions in Maharashtra, India. Do you want to know about history, architecture and other significance’s of this historical structure? If yes, then you should keep reading this post.

Shiva cave in Elephanta Caves

Shiva cave in Elephanta Caves | By AKS.9955 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Where Is Elephant Caves Located?

If you want to know where Elephanta Caves is located, you need to keep reading it. It is situated at Taluka Uran in Raigad district, only 11 kilometers far from Apollo Bandar in the Indian state of Maharashtra. It is an island hills, covering an area of about 7 kilometers. This island is famous for a colossal elephant discovered in this area, which is also called Gharapuri. Currently, the statue of famous elephant is positioned at local Jijamata Garden, Mumbai. In 1986, UNESCO declared Elephanta Caves a world heritage site.

History of Elephanta Caves

In ancient time, the area is popularly called Puri, which is also mentioned in the famous Aihole inscription of historical Pulakesin II. There were various dynasties that ruled here. Some of rulers of the location are Konkan-Mauryas, Chalukyas of Badami, Trikutakas, Rashtrakutas, Silaharas, Kalyani Chalukyas, Deogiri Yadavas, and Muslim rulers. Later the island was overtaken by Portuguese. Marathas kings also had great influence over the area. Finally British defeated everyone to establish their rule.

Rock-Cut Architecture

There are around 7 cave excavations in famous Elephanta group. It is found that these caves are around 6th to 7th centuries A. D. The historical structure is known for its amazing rock-cut architecture. This group of historical caves is designed in distinct style. The world heritage site is also famous for vibrant and exquisite sculptures. When it comes to structure on plain, it simply depicts the famous Dumar Lena of renowned Ellora.  The historical cave has a key gate on the northern part of the structure. Moreover, there are other three gates on every direction. These gates come with six rows well-structured pillars.

Religious Signs at Elephanta

There are also three bigger size recesses especially divided off by various pilasters each of these bearing a massive image of historical Dvarapala. Here, tourists can also see the figure of Lord Shiva in the form of Ardhanarisvara. Ardhanarisvara is a form of male and female energies. Another great sign of religious mythology is the figures of Goddess Parvati and Lord Siva playing with each other.

Elephanta Caves Gangadhara

Elephanta Caves Gangadhara | By Ricardo Martins (originally posted to Flickr as Elephanta Caves) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

The main recess also holds the most remarkable and popular sculpture of that period called Mahesamurti. This three-form of Lord Siva simply highlights the importance of Shiva and Shakti in Hinduism. The first form called Aghora, which is fearsome and turbulent. The second form is Tatapurusha, which is meditative and benign. And finally the third form called Vamadeva is lovable and mild pleasing.

The other renowned panels in the central cave are Nataraja, Andhakasuravada murti, Kalyanasundara Murti, Ravana shaking holy Kailasha, and Gangadhara murti. Siva as sacred Lakulisa is certainly a remarkable option at the location.

How to Reach Elephanta Caves

If you have decided to unveil the history of famous Elephanta group of caves, you first need to learn how you can reach there.

How to Reach By Roads

Since the world heritage site is situated close to Mumbai, tourists and visitors can easily grab road transportation from Mumbai. Tourists can easily find out local transport facilities such as taxis, buses and private cars. Once you reach at Gateway of India, you can easily hire a ferry or boat to reach famous Elephanta caves.

How to Reach By Train

There are various railway stations in and around Mumbai city. You can easily grab direct train from any part of India to Mumbai junction. Church Gate railway station is the nearest railway station. You can easily grab a taxi from the station to reach at desired location.

How to Reach By Air

It is quite easy to grab direct flight from various parts of the world to Mumbai airport. Since it is a major city in India, tourists can easily grab direct flight to Mumbai city. From the airport, visitors or tourists may hire private cars or taxis to reach at desired location.

Timing for Elephanta Caves

Timing is really important if you want to witness the beauty of this world-famous world heritage site.

  • Visitors can visit the site from 9 A.M. to 5 P.M.
  • The site is closed on every Monday

What Is the Entry Fee/Charge for Elephanta Caves?

  • People of India and BIMSTEC /SAARC countries such as Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Maldives, Thailand, and Myanmar need to pay only INR 30 per individual.
  • Visitors or tourists from USA, UK, Australia, and other European countries need to pay INR 500 per individual.
  • Children below than age of 15 years need not to pay entry fee/charge.

Tips for Tourists

Whether you are going to visit India first-time or second time, you always need to be very conscious. You always like to make your journey as much comfortable and enjoyable as possible. Therefore, you are highly advised to keep a few points in mind while visiting Elephanta Caves.

  • Before leaving your home, you should first complete all the documents such as passport, etc.
  • If you are a domestic visitor or tourist, you need to choose train transportation to save money.
  • You should not forget knowing about the cheap Elephanta Caves travel packages.
  • Since you need to stay in Mumbai, you first need to know about budget hotels in Mumbai for tourists.
  • It is better if you avail services of an authentic travel agency.
  • While visiting the actual site, you should not forget carrying your digital camera.
  • If you are an international visitor, you should be ready to face climate changes.
  • In case of deciding to visit the site independently, you should be very conscious while hiring road transport facility.

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