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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.

Best Combo of City, Dhobighat, Slum & Dabbawala

2. Best Combo of City, Dhobighat, Slum & Dabbawala

Your guide will meet you at your hotel then take you on a city tour. Highlights of the tour include Marine Drive, Victoria terminus, the Gateway of India, Colaba Market, and Mani Bhavan. You will also get to go on a ferry tour at Colaba, cruising along Mumbai's city coast line. Next, learn about the Dabbawala - the people whose job it is to carry and deliver freshly made food from home in lunch boxes to office workers in the city. See Dabbawala in action and hear how the success of the system depends on teamwork and time management. Next, you will learn about the Dhobighat. A dhobi is a traditional laundryman, who will collect your dirty linen, wash it, and return it neatly pressed to your doorstep. The laundries where clothes are taken are called ghats. Stop for a lunch break at a local restaurant. Finally, go on a 2-hour Slum Tour with your guide. The Khumbarwada area is the place occupied by the potter’s community from Gujarat, and you will be able to see pottery being made here.

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

3. 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.

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What people are saying about Mumbai

Get your guide ran a faultless tour. Fantastic experience to travel from the picturesque dock near the Gateway to India and Hotel Taj. We were first promptly transported from our hotel by a nice young man who guided us to the ferry. The travel over on the large wooden ferry was a great way to interact with many Indian people who were lovely. On arrival at the Elephanta Island we were greeted by the guide who was fantastic. We caught a small train from the dock to the stairs area where some of our party were carried up the steep stairs on a seat carry system. He guided us thru the aspects of the main cave and it’s history. It’s amazing, but a little ruined by the Portuguese who used it as target practise. Many giant Indian deities carved in the walls. Had a brief shop at the market, which has great souvenirs on then returned back by ferry. Many ferry’s come and go so don’t panic about pissing one.

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.

Everything went very well, the tour guide was very personable and competent, she took a lot of time for us, always happy

Pickup went really well. Nice guide on the island. Informational information about Hindu temples. recommendable