Elephanta Island, formerly known as the Fortress city or Gharapuri, is located 11 km away from Colaba, Mumbai. It is the site of famous Elephanta Caves, which typify beautiful sculptures and carvings, encompassing a Lord Shiva temple. Now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Elephanta Caves are visited by hundreds of tourists every year.History suggests that Chalukyas occupied this island between 6th and 8th century AD. In the 16th century, when the island was taken over by Portuguese, it was rechristened as Elephanta. It is a popular belief that Portuguese built a fort on this island andused the caves for target practice. Another belief states that many of the sculptures inside the temple were destroyed because of the practice carried out by the Portuguese.There are nine sculptured panels inside the large hall in the Lord Shiva temple, representing the Hindu God in different postures. The cross beams on the roof appears like a ceiling over the caves. As a matter of fact, tourists are not allowed to stay overnight on the island.Visitors can reach the island or the caves only by boats. Luxury and ordinary boats leave from Apollo Bunder at the Gateway of India for Elephanta Island, every half an hour. The boats are available from Apollo Bunder between 9 am and 2 pm, while from the island, boats run from 1 pm to 5 pm to the mainland. Tickets are available at booths near the Gateway of India.
Navi Mumbai, Maharashtra