Nine nautical miles across the sea from the Gateway of India lie the Elephanta Caves, also known as 'Gharapuri'.
The original name of this epitome of temple art was Agraharpuri. 'Agrahar' means 'necklace' or 'most important neck ornament'. Nestled in the Sahayadri Mountains, these caves have been home to monks of different religions. The sculptures seen here were created during the late Gupta Empire. In 1987 the Elephanta Caves were designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
WHAT YOU WILL SEE THERE
You will witness the wonders of the 7th Century at this green island. The rock-cut temple complex covers an area of 60,000 sq ft consisting of a main chamber, two lateral chambers, courtyards and subsidary shrines. The rock-cut cave temple dedicated to Shiva is simply fabulous. When here, check out the Maheshamurti panel in which Shiva has been depicted as the creator, protector and destroyer.
You can reach the caves by ferries which depart from the Gateway of India, Mumbai on an hourly basis, every day. The caves are closed on Mondays.
Self contained rooms are available for a day trip.