Elephanta Caves

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.

Mumbai: Private Day Tour with Elephanta Caves

2. 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.

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.

From Mumbai: Full-Day Elephanta Caves Tour

4. 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.

Elephanta Cave Tour with Bollywood Tour

5. 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.

Mumbai: Elephanta Island and Mumbai City Tour

6. Mumbai: Elephanta Island and Mumbai City Tour

You will be picked up from a location of your choice in Mumbai, before driving to the "Gateway of India". From there you will take a 1-hour ferry to Elephanta Island, where upon arrival you will take a train which, will prove to be a fun and quirky way to travel. Following that you will proceed to the Elephanta Caves, which contain a collection of rock art linked to the sect of Shiv. You will have an hour to explore the caves, also seeing the sculpted images of Kalyansundara, Gangadhara, and Ardhanriswara. Following that you will board the ferry once more to head back to Mumbai where your Mumbai city tour begins. Throughout your city tour you will visit all of the top attractions on any traveler’s itinerary to Mumbai. You will explore the Taj Mahal Palace, Dhobi Ghat, Town Hall, the Victoria Terminus, the Municipal Building, Marine Drive, Nariman Point, Chowpatty Beach, Hanging Garden, and Mani Bhavan. It is an ideal tour to learn about the history and culture of Mumbai as you introduce yourself to this wonderful city.

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

7. 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.

Mumbai: Private 2-Day City and Elephanta Island Tour

8. Mumbai: Private 2-Day City and Elephanta Island Tour

Get a unique glimpse of the City of Dreams, Mumbai, on a two-day tour of its top attractions. Learn about the city's history and culture, and take a trip to Elephanta Island to discover the famous caves. End your tour after returning from the Elephanta Caves, or take the option of an Indian cookery class. Meet your local guide at your hotel or other place of your choosing in Mumbai, and begin your tour of the city in an air-conditioned vehicle. Head first to Churchgate Railway Station, and watch Mumbai's famed lunch box carriers, the Dabbawallas, in action. Afterwards, continue your tour of the highlights of Mumbai with your professional guide. See the Gateway of India and Taj Mahal Palace Hotel, before stopping to marvel at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST) railway station, otherwise known as Victoria Terminus, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Then, visit other notable sites like the Municipal Building, Marine Drive, Nariman point, Chowpatty Beach, the Hanging Gardens, and Mani Bhavan, before soaking up tradition at Mumbai's largest human-powered washing machine, the Dhobi Ghat. Take the opportunity to see the washers, or dhobis, carrying out their famous laundry service. Day one ends with a trip to the Dharavi slums. Prepare yourself to see Mumbai's less glamorous side, but also appreciate the energy and vibrancy of the area and its inhabitants. The next day, cruise on a ferry to Elephanta Island after being picked up by your guide. Alight after one hour, and take a fun and quirky toy train ride halfway to the Elephanta Caves, another UNESCO World Heritage Site. Explore the rock art in the caves, and bring your camera to snap photos of the sculpted images of Kalyansundara, Gangadhara, and Ardhanriswara. Finally, spend some time in Elephanta Island village with your guide, before returning on the ferry and ending the tour back at your hotel, or heading to your cooking class if you choose this option.

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

9. 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.

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What people are saying about Elephanta Caves

Overall rating

4.5 / 5

based on 43 reviews

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.

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.

It was an amazing experience! Harish was an amazing guide for the caves while Rameez and Fahad really went out of their way to make my day unforgetable. Thank you!!

The tour is an excellent. Our guide, Sameer, is knowledgeable and really patience. He explained well about the history and overall it is an excellent trip.

We had the best tour guide ever who was very attentive to details. I can recommend this your to anyone