The Elephanta Caves Island , earlier known as Gharapuri ( city of caves) is off 10 kms to the east of the city of Mumbai. It was named Elephanta Island by the Portuguese , who ruled Mumbai from 1534 , on seeing a huge gigantic statue of an Elephant at the entrance. Now the statue stands at the museum on the mainland city. The caves were renovated in 1970s after years of neglect and designated a UNESCO Heritage Site.
The island is 2.4 kms in length with two hills that rise to a height of 500 feet. Clusters of mango , tamarind and karanj trees cover the hills with occassional palm trees. The hills are covered with evergreen fiolage with some original inhabitants still living on the island.
Carvings at the Elephants Island.
Elephants caves can be visited throughout the year but the best time to visit is from November to March when the weather is not too hot. The monsoon period is not the ideal time to visit as the Arabian sea can be turbulent.
The Elephants Caves are open throughout the year except on Mondays.
For : ABC Wednesday