The continuous tradition of Buddhist rock-cut dwellings and 'Chaityas' find their prime example in the magnificient rock cut ... More
The continuous tradition of Buddhist rock-cut dwellings and 'Chaityas' find their prime example in the magnificient rock cut caves of Elephanta. It was between 533-566 AD that these splendid caves were carved from the rock face. These temples lie nine kilometers north-east from Apollo Bunder. They are one of Mumbai's most famous tourist attractions. Elephanta Islands, in earlier days was called Gharapuri-the fortress city. It was named as Elephanta by the Portugese, after they saw a large stone elephant on its shore. The best time to visit is the weekdays, since the weekends are usually jam-packed.
This place is quite good, though most of the sculptures have been deteriorated, the view from the top. Monkeys can spoil your mood so be careful. You can buy few good things, if you are good in bargaining you’ll pay close to the actual price. Trip from gate way to the island and back we enjoyed (our first trip). Overall we felt its worth going…
The elephant caves are probably worth a visit if you have a spare day and nothing better to do, but don't go there in lieu of visiting other things like museums or shows in town. There is a ferry that leaves from just behind the Gateway of India roughly every hour at a cost of Rs. 100 round trip. The trip takes about 1 hour each way, and while you are there, you will find that most of the original carvings are worn away or have been intentionally destroyed. There are still a few things to see, however, and if you are intersted in hiking up to the top of the island, there is a very large cannon and a good view of the surrounding area. The excursion will take all afternoon and is basically a tourist-trap, but it is not an unpleasant experience, and you can get some of the best carved elephants available in Mumbai at one of the many gift shops on the island.
First you have to ride a farry for an hour. Once you get to the island you are hounded by vendors and beggars, but that is normal, you just have to ignore them. You then have to walk up a million stairs. Once you get to the top it is a nice site. If your not the athletic type do yourself a favor and rent a chair to be carried with you in it up the stairs. When you get a 4th of the way up your going to regret not getting it, trust me I did. There are alot of cool shops on the way up though and the prices are VERY NICE. Dont get too close to the monkeys they may growl at you. That is pretty funny. These are wild monkeys mind you. Its a cool place to go and check out the ruins. If you miss the last farry to go back to the mainland dont worry because tourists are not allowed to stay on the island. There will be another but on this one you will see a nice sunset over the araibian sea and there wont be tons of people on it. Do your self a favor and pay the 10 ruppees to sit at the top. If you look at the conversions rate thats only pennys.
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