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Elephant Island

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Indian / foreigner 10/250 rupees,
9.00-17.30 Tue-Sun

On the island of Elephant in a basalt rock, a whole maze of cave temples is carved, their decorations are rightfully considered one of the best examples of temple carvings in all of India. The main temple is dedicated to Shiva, it is an intriguing network of courtyards, halls, columns and temples, plus a huge 6-meter statue of Sadhashiva (Sadhashiva)depicting the three-faced Shiva as the destroyer, creator and guardian of the universe. The enormous central bust of Shiva with the closed gazas for meditation is probably the most serene attraction that can be found in India.

It is believed that temples were created between 450 and 750, when the island was called Gharapuri (Gharapuri, “place of caves”). The Portuguese named him Elephant because of the huge stone elephant near the coast, which partially collapsed in 1814 and was moved by the British to Dzhizhamata Udyan.

It is worth hiring an English-speaking guide (free if you have a luxury boat ticket), excursions on the island begin every hour at thirty minutes near the ticket office. Beware of guides who meet you at the marina and try to impose their services. An English-speaking guide, which is included in the ticket price, will meet you near the caves. If in doubt, ask for a state guide certificate.

If you explore Elephant's caves on your own, grab the book “A Guide to the Elephanta Caves” by Pramoda Chandra in one of the stalls along the stairs. There is a small museum in which there are many informative posters with photographs from the caves.

How to get there

Dinghies (economy / lux 105/130 rupees) swim to the island of Elephant every half an hour from the Gateway to India, from 9 to 15.30, Tuesday-Sunday. You need to buy a ticket at the box office along Apollo Marina. The trip lasts a little over an hour.

From the ferry dock at the very end of the concrete feast you need to walk (approximately 3 minutes) or take the mini train (10 rupees) to the stairs (visit 75 rupees)that rises up to the caves. Along the stairs are kiosks with handmade items, and it is guarded by annoying monkeys. Wear comfortable shoes.

Elephant Island

India, Mumbai, Elephanta Island, Mumbai, India

Show on the map the entrance to the caves - 250 rupees ferry is open from 09:00 (from Mumbai) to 17:30 (from the island)

Elephant Island is one of the main cultural and historical sights of Mumbai. Caves on the island of Elephant - monuments of ancient civilization, unique exhibits of culture and art.

Practical information

Address: Mumbai, Elephant Island. GPS coordinates: 18.961834, 72.932857.

Ferries leave for Elephant Island from the Gateway of India every 15 minutes from 9:00 to 14:30, and the journey takes about an hour. Tickets are sold here, the round-trip price is 168 INR. Seat on the upper deck is 30 INR more expensive. The last boat departs at 17:30. You cannot stay on the island at night.

Entrance to the island costs 5 INR, a ticket to the cave - 250 INR. From the pier to the caves, a road leads uphill for a length of about 300 m. It can be overcome on foot, on a small train, or you can hire a stretcher. Prices on the page are for September 2018.

Photo and description

A unique place called Elephant Island, also known as Gharapuri Island, is located east of Mumbai, on one of the many islands of the city harbor. This mysterious island is a real magnet for tourists from all over the world. After all, his biggest attraction is the underground stone cave temples, which are decorated with a huge number of amazingly beautiful statues. The entire temple complex in 1987 was included in the UNESCO World Heritage List.

The island got its current name in the 17th century thanks to Portuguese explorers, after they discovered an elephant sculpture carved from a single piece of basalt at the entrance to one of the caves of the temple complex (elephant - elephant). They decided to take her to Portugal, but this venture ended in failure, as they dropped her into the sea. Later it was raised from the bottom by the British, and at the moment this stone figure is located in the Museum of Dr. Bhau Daji, the former Museum of Victoria and Albert.

The island can be easily reached by ferry, which runs between Elephant and Mumbai harbor. Every day, at 9 a.m. and 2 p.m., it departs from the marina right near the historic Gateway to India, and the whole journey to its destination takes about an hour. A direct road leads from the island's pier to the caves. Also, to get to the temples, you can use the small tram that takes visitors directly to the steps leading to the caves. Shops and shops are located along the entire road, where you can buy various jewelry, souvenirs, food and drinks.

The area of ​​the entire island is only about 16 sq. Km, and previously it was the capital of one of the local principalities. Today, it is home to about 1,200 people who are mainly engaged in agriculture - grow rice, as well as fishing and repairing boats. Three settlements are located on Elephant: Shentbandar, Morabandar and Rajbandar, the latter is the original capital of the island. Temple caves are located on the territory of Shentbandar.

The exact date of the creation of the caves is unknown. It is assumed that this is about the 7th century AD, just as the ancient Indian empire of Gupta was experiencing its “golden age”, and culture flourished and developed. Then the idea of ​​building a temple in honor of the Hindu deity Shiva arose.

The caves can be reached through the main northern entrance, which leads to a large hall, supported by several massive columns. It is in this hall that a huge statue of Mahesamurti is located. Its height is 6.3 meters, and it depicts the god Shiva in his three forms: Creator, Protector and Destroyer. Other sculptures located near the entrance and on the side panels represent the achievements of Shiva. Like, for example, a sculpture depicting the process of creating the Shiva River of the Ganges.

When visiting the island, it should be remembered that tourists are prohibited from staying on Elephant for the night, so you need to catch the last ferry.

Every year in February, at the initiative of the Tourism Development Corporation of Maharashtra, a dance festival is held on the island.

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