Elephanta Island

Boats moored at Elephanta Island.

Elephanta Island, about 10 km off the eastern coast of Bombay, boasts a series of caves carved out of the rock between the fifth and eight century A.D. The name (which has not been changed back yet to its ancient name of Gharapuri, Fortress City), was given by the Portuguese because they found a large stone elephant near the shore, which, alas, is now in Bombay's Victoria Gardens.

Roopa and Ranjani on ferry to Elephanta. Krithi's family walking back on Elephanta pier.
Roopa and Ranjani in ferry; Krithi's family walking back on pier.

One gets to the island on a ferry that departs from the Gateway of India. Then there is a nice walk on a long pier and then up a beautiful stone stairway. Elephanta is more ``touristy'' than the more distant buddhist Kanheri caves, so there are several food and drink vendors at the foothill, and the stairs are lined with handicrafts for sale. One can even hire a palanquin to be carried up the stairs!

Stairs going up to caves. Rajeev climbing stairs to caves.
Stairs up to the caves; Rajeev climbing; Woman on stairs.

Sign with brief history of caves. Rock wall and entrance to main cave.
History summary; Rock wall v. cave.

Detail to the side of  main cave entrance. Main cave, Shiva.
Main cave.
Main cave: Side detail at entrance; Inside, depictions of Shiva.

Cris on temple steps. Monkey outside rock-cut temple.
Dressed and undressed monkeys.

Happy monkeys; Happy trees.

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© Cris 1998-Y2K
updated 1998/12/01