Elephanta Caves

Useful Information

Location: Near Mumbai (Bombay).
Elephanta Island is 11 km (9 nautical miles) from Bombay, between 45 minutes to one hour by boat.
(18.963253, 72.931444)
Open: All year daily 9:30-17:30, tours every half hour.
Launches leave Gateway of India, Bombay, 8-10:30.
Fee: Foreigners Rs 460, Indians Rs 10, Video Cameras Rs 25. If you get a deluxe ticket you get the free use of an English speaking guide.
Classification: SubterraneaCave Church
Guided tours:  
Bibliography: Promod Chandra (ND): A Guide to Elephanta Caves,
Address: Elephanta Caves, Gharapuri, Maharashtra 400094, Tel: +91-22-2204-4040.
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.


450-750 caves created.
1987 inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.


Elephanta Island was known in ancient times as "Gharapuri" or The Place of Caves. The Portuguese took possession of the island and named it Elephanta after the great statue which they found on the seashore.

There are seven caves of which the most important is the Mahesha-Murti Cave. The main body of the cave, excluding the porticoes on the three open sides and the back aisle, is 27 m square and is supported by rows of six columns. The gigantic figures of Dvarapalas, or doorkeepers are very impressive.

The cave temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva, was excavated some time in the 8th century by the Rashtrakuta Kings who ruled the area between AD 757-973. Elephanta closely follows the pattern of the Dumar Lena cave in Ellora.

There are sculptured compartments in this cave with remarkable images of Ardhanarisvara, Kalyana-Sundara Shiva, Ravana shaking Kailasha, Andhakari-Murti (slaying of Andhaka demon) and Nataraja Shiva.

Text by Tony Oldham (2003). With kind permission.