A few days ago I went for a day trip with my colleagues to Elephanta caves and I want to share my experience. Historical places are some of my favorite place to visit. I am staying in Mumbai for past sixteen years but I never got an opportunity to visit this place. So when my colleagues asked me to join them for the day trip to Elephanta Caves, I couldn’t deny them; though I needed some rest after a long and tired week.
The ferry ride to Elephanta Cave:
We started at eight thirty in the morning and reached Gateway of India at around ten. The first boat leaves from Gateway of India at 9:00 am and the last one leaves at 2:00 pm. The last boat which returns back to Gateway of India is at 5:30 pm. The costs are 150 INR and 180 INR depending upon the type of ferry. It took 180 INR per person for us. We were seated on the main deck. It was a non-a/c ferry and quite hot too but the company of friends made me forget about everything. During the ride, you can see the seabirds, cargo ships, offshore rigs and Naval port of Mumbai which is once in a lifetime experience. The best thing to watch from the Arabian sea was Taj and Gateway of India together. It was mesmerizing. It took one hour to reach the island.
History of Elephanta Cave:
It is located just off the coast of an Arabian sea which is approximately 10 km radius. Elephanta Caves are natively known as Gharapurichi Leni and the Portuguese retitled it as Elephanta caves when they discovered the large stone structure of Elephant on the island.
The architecture of Elephanta Caves:
Elephanta cave is the perfect expression of archaic Indian art association to the cult of Lord Shiva. The origin of the cave is an epitome of Hindu Cave culture although the story of origin is not yet sure. The journey from the dock to the cave was a fun activity. For one of my colleague, it was like a trek, funny! Isn’t it? It was just because we need to climb up to reach the caves. A short walk up the hill will bring you to a local flea market. A little market offers sculptures made of marbles and metal, jewelry, clothes, paintings and amazing pieces made of wood.
Please note to keep your food safe because once you reach up, you will get a warm welcome from your friend – Monkeys. Upon entering the caves, a massive hall supported by pillars and a large ‘Mahesmurti statue will greet you. This remarkable statue of three headed Shiva sculpture is the main attraction of the island. Another thing attracted me was the huge cult of Shiva which reminded me of recently released Bollywood movie Bahubali. Architecturally the cave is not that attractive as I expected. It really needs a proper maintenance.
How to reach:
To reach Elephanta Caves one has to take a local train to Churchgate or CSMT station. From there, you can either walk or hire a taxi to reach Gateway of India. You can even take a local BEST bus. Once you reach Gateway of India you have to hire a ferry to the Elephanta Caves.