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Elephanta Caves

  • Guided tours
  • Day trips
  • Multi-day trips
  • Private tours

Elephanta Caves: Our most recommended tours and activities

Elephanta Caves: Private Half-Day Tour from Mumbai

1. Elephanta Caves: Private Half-Day Tour from Mumbai

To start off your tour of Elephanta island, choose a pickup time that fits your schedule, though it’s best to get an early morning start. Take a beautiful, hour-long ferry ride across the bay from Mumbai to Elephanta Island, and begin your exploration of a labyrinth of caves, temples, and shrines with your own private guide. An elaborate system of man-made caves cut directly into solid basaltic mountains, the Elephanta Caves were used as sacred places of Hindu and Buddhist worship starting in the 5th to 7th century. Amble through the vast columns and arched colonnades, gazing at elaborately carved sacred shrines to deities.  The main cave, otherwise known as the Shiva Cave, contains numerous carvings depicting various aspects of Lord Shiva including his wedding, his slaying of Andhaka, and more. The most significant sculpture in the cave is the 20-foot-tall, three-headed Shiva, known as the Trimurti. Other wings of the caves have shrines dedicated to Shiva’s sons, Kartikeya and Ganesh, with similarly spectacular carved statues.  All the while, enjoy insightful commentary from a local guide, expert in the history of the Elephanta Caves, as well as Hinduism and Buddhism as a whole. After touring the magnificent island, you will be ferried back to the harbor. From there, your driver will drop you back at your hotel, marking the end of a memorable tour through over 1,500 years of history.

Elephanta Cave Tour with Bollywood Tour

2. Elephanta Cave Tour with Bollywood Tour

This 8-hour tour takes you from Mumbai to the rock art of the Elephanta Caves of Elephanta Island. You will be picked up from your hotel and taken to the Gateway of India at Mumbai. From here, cruise by boat to reach the Elephanta Caves. On your arrival at the island you will proceed to the Elephanta Caves which contains a collection of rock art linked to the sect of Shiva. At Elephanta, Indian art found one of its most perfect expressions, particularly in the huge and high reliefs of the main cave. There are seven cave excavations in the Elephanta group, all carved from solid basalt rock and dating from approximately the 6th through to the 7th-Centuries AD. Among the cave excavations, Cave 1 is the most impressive, representing a superb example of evolved Brahmanical rock-cut architecture. The full-day tour showcases all aspects of Mumbai, from the city’s narrow geographical layout, its coastline, the neighborhoods that make up the city, the old heritage district, the old commercial and residential districts, the up-and-coming areas, and the movie studios of Bollywood. This is an ideal opportunity to learn about the history and culture of Mumbai, and to experience the phenomenon of Bollywood.

Elephanta Caves: Private Half-Day Tour from Mumbai

3. Elephanta Caves: Private Half-Day Tour from Mumbai

Start the day with an optional pickup from your hotel or meet your guide at the Gateway of India. First take the ferry to Elephanta Caves, which is a must-see destination for history buffs or archaeology aficionados. After an hour-long ferry ride, climb 120 steps to the plateau where these caves can be entered. Dive into the history behind the artifacts and structures found in seven major excavation sites. Enter the hall, a masterpiece of 6th-century architecture which is supported by huge pillars. Explore 3 caves and learn interesting facts about India's religious history. Each cave is has a unique feature: one is a large Hindu Cave, the other is a Buddhist cave, and the final cave is dedicated to the God Shiva, with an immense, three-headed Shiva sculpture. After the Elephanta Caves, you'll go back to Mumbai by ferry. If you've opted for the accommodation option, you will be dropped back off at your specified address.

Mumbai: Private Day Tour with Elephanta Caves

4. Mumbai: Private Day Tour with Elephanta Caves

Explore Mumbai's most stunning locations and tourist attractions in this eight-hour tour with an English speaking guide. Start the day with a pickup and head towards the gateway of India for the ferry to Elephanta Caves. Enjoy the must-see destination for history lovers.  After an-hour ferry ride climb 120 steps to the plateau where the caves can be entered. There are seven major excavations in the area, and you'll be able to explore the history behind the artifacts and structures found inside. Explore the hall which is supported by huge pillars and this masterpiece of 6th-century architecture.  Discover 3 caves and learn about India's religious history. Each cave has a unique feature: one is a large Hindu Cave, the other is a Buddhist cave, and the final one is a cave dedicated to the God Shiva with a massive three-headed Shiva sculpture. After the Elephanta Caves, go back to explore Mumbai, starting with the iconic Taj Mahal Palace Hotel and the Gate Way of India.  Head to the UNESCO World Heritage Site and see the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus Train Station. Continue towards Crawford Market, a British era market that has been standing for over a century and a great place to see an array of spices.  Visit Mahatma Gandhi's residence (Mani Bhavan) and head to Malabar Hill to witness the Banganga water tank and take a breathtaking view of the Queen's Necklace below at Kamala Nehru Park. On your way back see another spectacular panorama along the marine drive and visit a temple in Mumbai. Before ending the tour take a train ride with the Mumbai train and experience what the locals call the lifeline of Mumbai. Your guide shows you Dhobighat, a colorful landmark outdoor laundry where hundreds of workers wash and dry huge quantities of clothing. Your tour will end by driving back to your hotel by taking all the extraordinary memories along with you.

From Mumbai: Full-Day Elephanta Caves Tour

5. From Mumbai: Full-Day Elephanta Caves Tour

After hotel pick-up, explore the Gateway of India, a prime landmark of Mumbai. Opposite to the Gateway stands the Royal Taj Mahal Hotel. Board the ferry to reach Elephanta Island, and listen to an introduction to Hinduism. Hop off the boat and explore Elephanta Cave, a kilometers' stroll from the wharf. Ride a toy train from the jetty to the base of the hill. Trek the 120 steps to the caves. Step into an enormous hall upheld by a large pillar and see the vast Mahesamurti statue. The whole cave complex is around 60,000 square feet and is made out of natural rock. Capture excellent pictures with the Arabian Sea in the backdrop, and head out of the caves to see the beautiful Elephant-shaped rock structure.  After completing your Elephanta tour, head back to the ferry at 1:30 PM to travel back to India's Gate. On reaching the harbor, the chauffeur will drive you back to your hotel.

Mumbai: Ancient Elephanta Caves Tour w/ Ride of Toy Train

6. Mumbai: Ancient Elephanta Caves Tour w/ Ride of Toy Train

After you are done with your breakfast, your chauffuer will pick you up at 08:30 from your hotel to kick start your trip to the Gateway of India followed by the grand Elephanta Caves. The famous monument, the main tourist attraction in Mumbai, the Gateway of India is decked with four turrets and its yellow basalt stone structure has delicate latticework carved in it. The structure exhibits the amalgamation of Hindu and Muslim architectures. To the opposite of this grand monument, stands the rich and famous Royal Taj Mahal Hotel. This hotel is a witness of priceless memories of this glorious city. The Taj Towers located near the hotel is another appealing building for its wonderful architecture. From the Gateway of India, you will be taken by a ferry boat to the Elephanta Island. The ferry boat is a type of luxury boat which ferries you around the harbor and you will reach the lovely Elephanta Islands after a journey spanning nearly one hour and fifteen minutes.  Now that you have reached the Elephanta Islands, some light will be thrown upon the whereabouts of what you can expect to find here. After you reach the island, you will have the option of walking by foot or taking a toy train to the main attractions of the place. Elephanta Island is a serene and spellbinding land blanketed in calmness and peace. The island is covered with lush green trees and monkeys dot the place. It is advised that you do not carry food while strolling around to prevent troubles caused by the monkeys. You will have to walk approximately 120 steep steps to get to the entrance of the temple after you get down from the toy train. Take the pony services offered if you do not want to toil climbing up to the temple. Spread over an area of nearly 60,000 square feet, the magnificent Elephanta Cave complex is comprised of massive rock carved temples, dating back to the 5th-century. These temples are sworn in the name of Lord Shiva, in particular. You will notice skillfully chiseled corridors and chambers as you walk through the temples. Treading past each bend, you will also find intensely sculpted art forms. Various images are depicted in the engraved rock surfaces, fluted pillars, dedicated, skillful stone work and structures chiseled out of the huge rocks. Catch a glimpse of the magnanimous Shivalingam, situated at the western end of the temple. At the eastern wing of the main temple, you will find the secondary shrine. As you approach the main hall, you will find that the hall is completely adorned with carved panels that speak of legends from Shiva Purana. Spread across the entire complex, are an array of sculptures representing many of Lord Shiva's manifestations like Kalyanasundara, Gangadhara, Ardhanariswara, Uma Maheswara, Nataraja, Yogiswara, Andhakaasuravadamoorthy and Ravanaanugrahamurthy. These intricate and splendid carvings are testimony of the high level of skill and excellence that ancient India showcased in art and craft. You will also be taken to the handicraft markets, which stock a spellbinding collection of the exquisite and invaluable art, and craft that prevailed in ancient India. After you have completed touring the outstanding and exemplary Elephanta Island, you will be ferried back to the Gateway of India at 13:30. From the harbor, your appointed chauffuer will drop you back to your hotel, marking the end of the memorable tour.

Full-Day Tour of Elephanta Caves & Prince of Wales Museum

7. Full-Day Tour of Elephanta Caves & Prince of Wales Museum

Explore the Elephanta Caves and the Prince of Wales Museum on this private full-day tour from Mumbai. Set out on an exciting hour-long sea voyage to Elephanta Island. Admire impressive views of the Arabian Sea and the skyline of Mumbai along the way. After arriving on the island, venture with your guide into the ancient, man-made Elephanta Caves. The cave complex is a collection of shrines, courtyards, inner cells, grand halls, and porticoes arranged in the splendid symmetry of Indian rock-cut architecture. The pillars and reliefs in the main cave are gigantic in scale. Around the perimeter of the cave are sculptured compartments with images from Hindu mythology which represent some of the most impressive temple carving in all of India. After exploring the caves, return to Mumbai and visit one of India's finest museums ̶ the historic Prince of Wales Museum. Browse the museum's impressive collection of Indian art, sculpture, Mughal jewelry, Tibetan armors, and a priceless collection of miniature paintings. At the end of your visit, settle comfortably in your private vehicle on the way back to your Mumbai hotel.

Other Sightseeing Options in Elephanta Caves

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What people are saying about Elephanta Caves

Overall rating

4.2 / 5

based on 26 reviews

Get your guide ran a faultless tour. Fantastic experience to travel from the picturesque dock near the Gateway to India and Hotel Taj. We were first promptly transported from our hotel by a nice young man who guided us to the ferry. The travel over on the large wooden ferry was a great way to interact with many Indian people who were lovely. On arrival at the Elephanta Island we were greeted by the guide who was fantastic. We caught a small train from the dock to the stairs area where some of our party were carried up the steep stairs on a seat carry system. He guided us thru the aspects of the main cave and it’s history. It’s amazing, but a little ruined by the Portuguese who used it as target practise. Many giant Indian deities carved in the walls. Had a brief shop at the market, which has great souvenirs on then returned back by ferry. Many ferry’s come and go so don’t panic about pissing one.

This was perhaps one of the most fun tour I have been on. It was really very well organised. Anthony was right on time in the hotel lobby to receive me and then we left for Elephanta Caves. There I met the guide - Avinash. Since he was a local, he had so much understanding and knowledge of the history and place. Really had great time with him. His photography skill was mind blowing. Because I was so impressed with the service that I ended up taking another tour with them - street food tour. There I met Sagar as a guide. He is such a fun and amazing energy to be around. Really enjoyed the entire experience of trying different street food of Mumbai along side some fun talk with Sagar. I really recommend this tour. Thanks for all the amazing experiences.

My guide, Daiwat, is from Elephanta Island and was very knowledgeable. He knew all the tricks to make the trip to the island as easy as possible. At the cave he gave very thorough and interesting explanations of all the statues, structures, and significance of each. Daiwat also showed me all the best angles for photos! Overall excellent!

We had different guides for the Elephant Caves and the city tour. Both were very competent and were not only able to tell us many exciting details, but also to answer all of our questions. I heartily recommend this tour.

It was a nice place to go and understand more about the cult of Shiva and Hinduism. Our guides gave us a lot of details and take care to have nice memories regarding this trip.