Elephanta Island Mumbai: Archeological Marvel Of The City

 In Destination, Islands, Maharashtra, Mumbai, Travel

Although Mumbai is known as the financial hub of the nation and is often described as fast and modern, some places are completely serene and historic. Although it is quite unusual to find these places in a city like Mumbai. 

Visiting Elephanta Island is one of the top things to do in Mumbai in Summer. It is one such archaeological site that was discovered by the Portugues in the 16th century and is one of the numerous islands in the Mumbai Harbour of the Arabian Sea, about 10 km east of Mumbai and 3 km west of the mainland coast of Maharashtra state, western India.

Elephanta Island is famous for its rock-carved caves, also known as Elephanta caves, however many carvings and sculptures in the caves are destroyed and are in ruins, but you can still see the beauty and the intricateness of the architecture of these caves.

About Elephanta Island


The mystic journey to reach Mumbai Elephanta Island starts by getting on a ferry from Gateway of India. On the voyage en route the island encounters flocks of seagulls throughout. Don’t forget to bring a handful of bread crumbs or biscuits to pet them and to get a perfect Instagramable picture. 

If we talk about Elephanta Island then it is located in the Mumbai harbour of the Arabian Sea. Elephanta Island Mumbai is one of the numerous islands that is around 10 km east of Mumbai city. The Elephanta Island Mumbai consists of 3 villages Shentbandar, Morabandar, and Rajbandar. Elephanta caves are in Shentbandar village which is accessible by tourists.

Places To Visit In Elephanta Island Mumbai

Well, being an island there are no places to visit near Elephanta Island, but there are places to visit in Elephanta Island.

Elephanta Caves


It is estimated that it took nearly 100 years to build the Elephanta Caves, unsurprising for a Mumbaikar whose father, child, and he had never seen the road in the vicinity completely constructed. Although most of the sculptures and statues carved out in the caves were destroyed by the Portugues, they still emit the elegance of the architectural marvel. Even though this architectural marvel is in ruins today and needs to be restored it was declared as the World Heritage Site by UNESCO. 

Located in the Shentbandar Village of Elephanta Island Mumbai, Elephanta Caves is at an elevation. You have to climb around 120 steps to reach the caves. Well, if you are a shopaholic then while climbing these 120 steps you are going to be distracted by the stalls set up by the local vendors. There are many stalls on either side of the steps selling various items including arts and artefacts, gems, handicraft jewellery, idols, etc. 

The caves are estimated to be as old as the 6th century and are built cutting the entire mountain. It was built by the Rashtrakuta rulers. When the Portugues discovered this island for the first time they found a huge statue of an elephant. From there the island got the name Elephanta Island. 

Today that elephant statue is kept in Dr. Bhau Daji Lad Museum in Jijamata Udyan. The Elephanta Island Mumbai is the glorious abode of Lord Shiva and a tranche of Hindu cave culture, consisting of seven caves on an island out of which Cave 1 is famous for its majestic 20 feet statue of Lord Shiva also known as Sadashiva: Trimurti. Yes, this is the same Trimurti that you must have seen in many pictures, designs, etc while depicting Mumbai. 

Many other statues depicting Lord Shiva’s life are also seen in this cave including the Nataraj Statue, Shiva and Parvati Statue are the most famous ones. There are around 36 pillars carved out of the mountain to give support to the temple.

Cannon Hill Point


A small trek to Cannon Hill at Mumbai Elephanta Island Top will take you to the place where serenity forms chemistry with nature. At the hilltop, you would see a huge cannon that weighs around a ton and can be rotated 360 degrees. Being one of the base locations of Portuguese, they used to keep an eye on the voyages from this hilltop,  the best view to watch from the hilltop is when the sun meets the horizon.

How To Reach Elephanta Island


You must be wondering how to reach Elephanta Island Mumbai. Well, you do not have to worry about it. 

You have to reach Gateway of India, to reach here the nearest railway station for the Central Line and Harbore Line is Chattrapati Shivaji Maharaj Railway Station (CSMT), and for the Western Line, the closest railway station to reach Gateway Of India is Churchgate Railway Station. 

Both the stations have public as well as private transportation available. You can take a shared or personal taxi or you can either get on a bus. Bus Depot is right beside CSMT railway station and from Churchgate there are many buses available that will take you to Gateway Of India. 

You can get bus number 116 from CSMT Railway Station and 112 from Churchgate Railway Station. The buses to reach Gateway of India are regular. You will get the bus every 10 to 15 minutes.

Now once you reach Gateway Of India you can get a ferry whose return ticket will cost you around Rs. 260/- if you go from any private ferry and Rs. 200. If you go from economy ferry, they will charge you an extra Rs. 10/  if you want to go on the top of the ferry and enjoy the vast Arabian Sea in the open air. It will take you an hour to reach the Mumbai Elephanta Island. 

The ferry rides from Gateway of India start at 09:00 am and the last ferry ride for the day that leaves from Gateway of India is at 3:20 pm and Elephanta Caves is at 5:30 pm. 

If you are in Navi Mumbai and want to skip the travel to half then you can go to Belapur CBD Railway Station which falls in Harbor Line, and take a rickshaw to Belapur Jetty. From here you can get the ferry that will cost you around Rs. 825/- and will take you the Mumbai Elephanta Island in 30 minutes.

Elephanta Island Entry Fee

The Elephanta Island Entry Fee is Rs. 5/- per person for an adult, for children from the age 6-12 is Rs. 3/- and for students, the entry fee is Rs. 1/-. 

However, if you have to visit Elephanta Caves the entry fee for the caves is Rs. 40/- for Indians and Rs. 600/- for foreigners.

Restaurants Near Elephanta Island


There are a handful of restaurants near Elephanta Island. Following are some of the suggestions

  1. Rajmahal Restaurant Elephanta
  2. MTDC Elephanta Resort and Chalukya Restaurant
  3. Sagar restaurant
  4. Elephanta’s Good Food
  5. Maheshwari restaurant
  6. Laxmi Hotel
  7. Elephanta Forest Canteen
  8. Natraj Restaurant

Suggested Read: Revealing Top 18 Dining Spots In Mumbai | Best Restaurants In Mumbai

Hotels Near Elephanta Island


There are a handful of options for hotels near Elephanta Island. Although, there is only one hotel on Elephanta Island. However, if you are planning to visit the location it is advisable to pre-book your hotel near Elephanta Island to avoid last-minute hassle and do some cost-cutting as well.

  1. MTDC Elephanta Resort and Chalukya
  2. Silver Oak Tropical Resort
  3. Shree Prabhu Residency
  4. Hotel Pub Street Inn
  5. Hotel Setrac Orange
  6. Villa Residency Navi Mumbai
  7. Hotel Aishwarya Residency
  8. Hotel Shree Krishna Paradise
  9. Snooze House Navi Mumbai

How do I get to Elephant Island Mumbai?

You can take a ferry from Gateway Of India or Belapur Jetty.

Is there any entry fee for Elephanta Island?

The Elephanta Island Entry Fee is Rs. 5/- per person for an adult, for children from the age 6-12 is Rs. 3/- and for students, the entry fee is Rs. 1/-

What is Elephanta Island famous for?

Elephanta Island is famous for Elephanta Caves.

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