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“Surprise Surprise!!!!” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Elephanta Caves

Elephanta Caves
Elephanta Island, India
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Private Tour
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Private Tour: Kanheri Caves, Elephanta Caves or...
Type: Religious Sites, Islands, Landmarks/ Points of Interest, Cultural
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Attraction details
Fee: No
Recommended length of visit: 2-3 hours
Owner description: Elephanta Caves are situated on Elephanta Island about 7 kms from Mumbai’s mainland shore. The caves can be reached by an approx. 1-hour boat ride from Gateway of India. Open from 9 A.M. to 5 P.M. Closed on Monday.
Mumbai (Bombay), India
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
“Surprise Surprise!!!!”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 4, 2013 via mobile

I am not sure what was I expecting but the caves were really a pleasant surprise to me. The boat ride till the island was okayish n I wouldn't recommend it to solo female travellers. By once you reach there, it really is very safe and breathtaking. Since the archaeological guide works only until 2pm we hired a local guy as a guide. The info he gave was quite misleading so I strongly recommend hiring genuine guide or reading up in advance. But a must see if you are visiting Mumbai.I liked it the best in Mumbai.

Also if you are travelling during monsoon, the launches might not be in service. Check before you make plans.

Visited August 2013
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2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
“good place”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 4, 2013

anybody loves to travel thru boat/ships can go to elephanta caves. It is small peaceful island near the busy mumbai city. just beware of the monkeys

Visited October 2012
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Top Contributor
228 reviews 228 reviews
152 attraction reviews
Reviews in 62 cities Reviews in 62 cities
242 helpful votes 242 helpful votes
“Nice place for Lord Shiva”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 1, 2013

I loved the visit to the Caves. We arranged an acceptable price with a guide at the entrance. I had read a lot before going, and was glad to confirm that he was a knowledgeable one (you can get across anything in India!)

The Caves are off-visit on Mondays. The boat leaves from one of the gates of at the rear of Gateway of India. There is a boat every half an hour. Week days are less crowded than weekends.

For me, the trip was a journey back in time; to a time when faith, mysticism & art reigned supreme. Was the artists’ challenge of carving out gigantic statues a blessing? Probably so.

The island is surrounded by the Arabian Sea. To get to the caves, you will need to climb a steep street up (or take a train when you hop off the boat) and, after that, there are 120 steep steps (or so they say) to really get to the caves. There are palanquins to carry people (as if we still were in the Dark Ages!).

There is a tourist tax of Rs 10 for adults plus an entrance fee of Rs 250 for foreigners (at the time of this review).

I only visited the first 2 caves at the entrance as I was heading to Aurangabad later on.

Beware of the monkeys that roam around. They shouldn’t be fed nor bothered if one doesn’t want a scratch or an attack in retaliation.

There are many things for sale (stuff brought from Mumbai so they are sold at a double or triple price).

Tip: Take drinkable water with you from Mumbai itself.

Now a little bit about the honoured God of Elephanta Caves: Lord Shiva. His name means the auspicious one.

A Hindu deity, the Destroyer and Transformer in the Trimurti (Hindu Trinity). Shiva is the creator, the preserver, the destroyer, the concealer & the revealer, all at the same time. He is a god of ambiguity & paradox.

Shiva is usually worshipped in the aniconic form of lingam and depicted in many ways, but almost always with his wife Parvatti. They have two sons, Ganesha and Kartikeya.

Shiva has a Trident in the right lower arm, with a crescent moon on his head. He has a third eye with which he burnt Desire to ashes. Ganges river (symbol of nectar of immortality) flows from his matted hair. Often shown sitting on a tiger skin meaning he has conquered lust, of which the tiger is a symbol. His neck is adorned with a serpent, representing wisdom and eternity. The cow is His means of transport and that’s why cows are sacred for Hinduism.

Destroyer and benefactor, ascetic, householder. Five is a sacred number for Him since one of his most important mantras has 5 syllables. Also, he has 5 faces and 5 are the organs of perception as well.

Many many more things could be said about this Divinity of course. But what called my attention was his worldly, earthly likes :)

Followers of Hinduism who focus their worship upon Shiva are called Shaivites or Shaivas.

Visited January 2013
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Derby, United Kingdom
Senior Contributor
33 reviews 33 reviews
14 attraction reviews
Reviews in 17 cities Reviews in 17 cities
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
“Not a bad day out in Mumbai”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed August 28, 2013

Watch out for the thieving macaques. Caves were a good day out with a boat trip from Gateway of India involved. Lots of arts and crafts too.

Visited December 2012
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Washington DC, District of Columbia
Top Contributor
81 reviews 81 reviews
16 attraction reviews
Reviews in 63 cities Reviews in 63 cities
62 helpful votes 62 helpful votes
“Very disappointing indeed”
1 of 5 stars Reviewed August 25, 2013 via mobile

After the long slog to get to the caves on the first boat at 9am (1 hour boat ride, 15 minute walk along the jetty plus hard climb up the steps of the hill, lined with annoying stall owners selling tat) and on entering the first cave, my immediate thought was "is that it?" because the carvings are in a very bad state, and those that aren't missing limbs or heads aren't very spectacular. On to
caves 2, 3 and 4 which as far as I could see were just holes in the hill side. I didn't even bother walking on to cave 5 because a monsoon deluge started at that point. Instead, I walked back to the boat at around 11am and several touts tried to get me to take a private boat back because, they claimed, the first boat back was 12:30, asking a ridiculous price of 3000 INR. Actually, the regular boat left at 12 on the dot as promised. The return journey was very rough - many people got wet from the breaking waves and I felt very sea sick. I was glad I had a rain coat because it was also cold. By the end of the longer journey back (1.5 hours) I was praying for it to end. The faces of everyone on the boat - looking glum and not saying anything - said it all.

If after reading that, you do decide to come here, bring a flashlight because the caves are dark, bring a jacket because the wind on the boat gets cold, and bring good shoes because the steps get very slippery on the way down if it rains.

Also, word of warning about buying souvenirs on the island - someone on my boat bought an elephant inside a honeycombed shell and he wasn't on the boat for 5 minutes before the thing broke into pieces in his hands. He ended up chucking it in the sea.

Visited August 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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