10 Kilometers from the Eastern Coast of Mumbai
+91 22 2414 3200 (Tourist Information)
The continuous tradition of Buddhist rockcut dwellings and 'Chaityas' find their prime example in the magnificent rock cut caves of Elephanta. It was between 533-566 AD that these splendid caves were carved from the rock face. These temples lie nine kilometers northeast from Apollo Bunder. They are Mumbai's most famous tourist attraction apart from the famed nightlife. Elephanta Islands, in earlier days was called Gharapuri, the fortress city. It was named as Elephanta by the Portuguese, after they saw a large stone elephant on its shore. All art in the caves is dealt in the Shaiva tradition, all related to Lord Shiva. The most famous is the impressive 'Trimurti' where God Shiva takes the form of Brahma, the Creator, Vishnu, the Preserver, and Maheshwar, the Destroyer. The best time to visit is the weekdays, since the weekends are usually jam packed. Launches leave Apollo Bunder (next to Gateway of India) regularly. A guided tour is recommended. Guides are easily available at the Gateway. Call the tourist information center on +1 800 233 5050 for further details.