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Thursday, January 28, 2021

Mumbai To Elephanta Caves | A Day Trip Will Make You Wonder

Mumbai to Elephanta Caves
Statue of Trimurti Lord Shiva

Mumbai To Elephanta Caves | A Day Trip Will Make You Wonder

About Mumbai to Elephanta Caves ride

India, a hub of UNESCO world heritage site, Elephanta caves are one of those. A city of caves as it is been situated on the island in the sea near to Mumbai, Maharashtra state. This island is also called Gharapuri Island and hence it is known as Gharapurchi Leni in Marathi. These caves are known for its unique art, its culture and its scientific significance and this is why it has got so much importance amongst other tourist spots near Mumbai. The name itself suggests it has collection of caves predominantly dedicated to Hindu god Shiva. It has five Hindu caves and other two Buddhist caves with water tanks.

How to Reach Elephanta Island

To reach Elephanta Caves you need to reach to Gate way of India point at Mumbai city. Mumbai can further reach by following ways from other countries.

By Air

Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus is the nearest airport to reach Elephanta caves. This airport has brilliant network from other major countries. From Airport one can higher self-drive vehicle or can also option local transport like Bus, Taxi and train. The distance from airport to Gate way is close to 30 km. Local transport is very reasonable here and easily available from any corner.

By Train

Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (CSMT) is the nearest railhead to reach Elephanta Island. This is also an end point terminus towards south of Mumbai. CSMT is easily accessible from airport or other major cities of Maharashtra state. Many express trains coming from other states of India halts here and this is also a end point to express trains coming from other states of India. After reaching CSMT station walk 5 min towards main road and there are taxi services available till Gate way of India. The distance is not more than 5 km from station. Taxis may charge you close to 60 to 70 INR.

By Road

Local buses and direct taxis are available to reach Gate way of India. There are OLA and UBER service till this point. State transport buses runs from Chennai, Bangalore, and Gujarat to Mumbai and it can further reach by local bus.

Once you reach Gate of India then ferry ride from here will take you to Elephanta Island. There are no other sources to reach Elephanta caves from Gate of India as it is located in between the sea. From here you need to purchase ferry ticket from Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC) at the entrance of Gateway near ferry point.

Ferry ticket cost for Indian is 225 INR for return

And for foreigners cost is 450 INR for return

These ferries are operated between 9am to 2pm with every half an hour interval, so plan your trip accordingly (This is from Gate way point to Elephanta Island and last ferry from Island to Gate way is at 5pm).

History of Elephanta Island

Complete history of Elephanta caves is still not known. Archaeological studies have shown that Small Island has rich cultural story. It is said that the caves have been built in 5th to 8th century. The discovery of black stone sculpture on this Island and this black stone shape was like an Elephant; therefore this stone was named as Elephanta. After the cave completion Elephanta became popular as Gharapuri Island. It became a part of Gujarat Sultanate and later on it was ceded over to Portuguese merchants and Portuguese named it as “Elephanta Island”. Later England tried to shift that Elephanta shape stone where it broke and got damaged. These reassembled pieces are kept at Jijamata Udyan, Mumbai. 

My Experience of Elephanta Caves Island

Coming to my experience of story it all started from Mumbai where I stay. Nothing is more peaceful than holding your partners hand and traveling across the sea. I along with my life partner decided to explore Elephanta Island. For me it was second time, but first time being no smartphone in hand I couldn’t click photos. If you are traveling Gate way of India on own vehicle then it is absolutely fine as enough parking space is available right behind the Taj hotel on chargeable basis. The ferry ride through ocean was inconceivable. One can get the view of complete Gate of India from ferry with the view of famous Taj Hotel standing behind. It is always better to start your day early so that you get ample time to explore the surrounding things. It takes one hour to reach the Gharapuri Island (Elephanta Island) from India gate. Boat ride was spectacle. Seagull birds flying in group along with boat looks so alluring. They start following you along with ferry. This was the best moment for me to capture as many as photos and videos. You can also feed some snacks to them.

Mumbai to Elephanta Caves
Seagull bird follows you along with ferry

After one hour ferry ride you get down at Elephanta Island. There are small food huts selling some snacks and lime water. you need to walk further 10 min to reach the starting point of caves. There are mini rail services (Toy train) available that take you to starting point of caves from Island with nominal charges of 5 INR. If you are coming with your kids, then you must take experience of Toy train, because no feeling is better than going in to childhood day and enjoying along with yours kids. There is again an entry fee of 10 INR per person to enter in the terrain of Elephanta caves. Caves were yet to come. To reach the main caves you need to climb 120 rocky stairs. While entering in to caves there is small check point to purchase caves ticket costing around 40 INR per person. You are finally in the area of caves. Don’t miss the click of beautiful Elephanta Island from caves. At caves water is available for drink.

Mumbai to Elephanta Caves
Toy train will take you to Elephanta Caves entrance point from Island

As I said there are total seven caves and the beauty of these caves are exquisite. Elephanta caves are divided in to two regions. Two Buddhist caves which are dedicated to Lord Buddha and Buddhist elements and other five Hindu caves dedicated to Hindu god Shiva. You will also get guide at entrance of the caves if you want to explore detail information about Elephanta caves. One who doesn't want guide can take book for detail. Some of this caves are in ruined condition yet beautiful. It will make you pause for a while and will take you back in 6th century to feel the essence of this ruined monuments.

Caves 1 which is main cave has multiple pillars standing parallel to each other. Trimurti at cave 1 has important sculpture carved in the stone. This sculpture explains some important aspects of Lord Shiva. Cave 2 which is unfinished standing with four pillars was completely destroyed, but those have been tried to restore in 1970. You need to go straight from cave 2 main shrine to reach cave no 3. The entrance door of it has some traces of its sculpture. Caves 4 and 5 are in damaged condition with no artistic finishing. Caves 6 and 7 are dedicated to Buddhist shrine. It has some water tank too. The beauty of these caves is still splendor and this is the reason it has become famous tourist attraction in western India. Caves are easily accessible from any part of India. It will take close to 2 hours to explore all the caves. Ideal place who wants to explore something historic.

Mumbai to Elephanta Caves
Shiva linga shine inside the structure

Mumbai to Elephanta Caves
Broken Pillars tried to restore in 1970, it was completely broken before it

Mumbai to Elephanta Caves
Caves 3 and 4 has similar structure with different art work

Mumbai to Elephanta Caves
This Shiva linga are located on west side of Elephanta

Ideal Time to Visit Elephanta Caves

Ideal time to visit Elephanta cave is winter time during November to February. You can find most of the tourist in this peak season. Climate is also pleasant in these days.

Summer in Mumbai is very hot with high humidity. Most of the tourist avoids visiting any place during summer time due to its humid weather.

Rainy season in Mumbai is risky for tourists going to Elephanta. The traveling is across the sea and ferry ride in monsoon becomes unpredictable due to heavy rain. 

Top 3 Things to Explore Around Elephanta Caves

Gate way of India

The gate of India is monument built during 20th century in Mumbai, India. It is entrance and exit point to India. You may find many photographers making their business outside of India gate. They  click photos of tourists in 20RS and also provide photocopy in 10 min.

Mumbai to Elephanta Caves
India Gate

Colaba Causeway

Colaba Causeway is a place which is also known as women's Island. It has great architecture with great artwork building. A famous landmark on window shopping has lots to offer for women’s. Among the restaurants, cafes and roadside eateries make this street popular with tourist and mainly foreign visitors.

Mumbai to Elephanta caves
Colaba shopping market for ladies

Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus

One of the historic terminal train station and also listed in UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is also known as Victoria Terminus. This terminus was designed by British architects.

Mumbai to Elephanta caves
Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (CSMT) station view

Stay and Food

Elephanta itself is an Island located in between the sea. There are no resorts or hotels available at Elephanta. You can get most of the hotels near Gate way of India. Taj is one of the 5 stars and famous property closest to Gate way of India. Many foreign visitors prefer to stay at Taj. There are OYO rooms available and it can be booked through OYO app ranging from lowest to highest amount. Stay at Mumbai is very reasonable compare to other cities. One who are coming here to enjoy long holiday can stay as paying guest. You can get details of it on internet. 

When it comes to eateries no food can beat the taste of Maharashtrian cuisines. Mumbai is the only city that contributes all states dishes’ from North to south and East to west. Variety of dish includes Spicy, sweet, veg, non-veg, sea foof. Vada-Paav at Mumbai Street is famous amongst other street eateries. Paav-Bhaji, Misal Paav, and Sabudana Khichdi is the essence of Maharashtra’s Mumbai.

Important Things to Know Before You Visit to Elephanta Caves 

  • Elephanta Caves are operated from Tuesday to Sunday. It is closed on Monday. 
  • There are some hotels available at the base of the caves. It serves breakfast, Lunch, and some snacks in reasonable rates.
  • Be aware of Monkey at caves area. Don't keep any rappers or plastic in hands. he will run to snatch from your hand.
  • There are entry fees to enter in the caves (40 INR for Indians and 600 INR for foreigners).
  • You can also hire guide from Island or at caves area. He will charge you around 500 INR. Books are also available at caves with detail history of Elephanta caves.
  • Washroom available at the base of caves on chargeable basis.  
  • Do not litter the area around the caves.


  1. Wowthis place looks so enchanting and mesmerizing.So much culture and history within those walls.

  2. I would love to visit Elephanta Island and see the Elephanta caves. It seems there is so much history and mystery in that place.

  3. It sounds and looks like quite the adventure. I would love to visit Mumbai one day.

  4. Great to read about its history.. Such a great place.

  5. Might seem unbelievable but i have never been to any cave before, hopefully i will one day.

  6. wow! it looks super curious, I want to see it badly now! Mumbai is definitely more than I thought it was

  7. I haven't visited any cave in my entire life. It must be so thrilling and creepy.

  8. I like adventures! This place is a great travel destination for sure!