Elephanta caves are a series of caves that were sculpted into temples on an island (Gharapri Island) outside of Mumbai. No one knows who designed them but they were carved in the 5th to 8th century. They were used as a place of worship until 1534 when the Portuguese ruled India and much of the temples were destroyed.
From Mumbai, the ferry boat ride takes a little bit over an hour. On the way there we sat on the top level of the boat. We enjoyed the ride to the island, though it seemed long. We were able to glimpse wild flying flamingos! We did not get a good photos of the birds.
We reached the island and you have to climb to the top of a hill. The only walkway is covered with vendor stands touting their wares. Megan spotted some cheetos at one of the vendors, and had to get them. Walking through the tunnel of vendors a monkey suddenly drops to the ground at her feet. He showed his teeth and wanted the cheetos! In a moment of panic, she tossed the snack to Christopher. Christopher slapped the ground with his feet at the monkey held his ground, using the water bottle to occupy space (although never actually making contact with the monkey). Christopher proved to the Cheeto Hero and the monkey left us alone. Megan then ate her Cheetos as fast as possible with Christopher as monkey look out! We did not get any photos of the monkey who tried to mug us but we did get some other monkey photos. We swear, the monkey that tried to mug us was bigger! And he had large teeth!
Not only does the island have monkeys but it also has stray dogs, goats and a lot of wandering cows. There was another cow about every five feet! Some of them has horns, some didn’t and there were even a few calves walking around.
After our monkey adventure we made it to the top of the hill and went into cave 1, also known as the great cave. With three parts to it, this was the most impressive of the seven caves. There were great pillars with statues of Ganesha on the top.
There were two smaller temples inside of this cave, and in the center was a linga shrine. Hindus would stop and worship in these temples for a few moments while touring the site. The most impressive part of the caves is a three headed Shiva statue.
We walked around some of the other temples but they were not near as impressive at the great temple. We did find more monkeys but managed to not interact with them and we made our way back to Mumbai on the ferry.
The ferry left from The Gate of India Mumbai and we stopped to take a few photos on the way back. The gate opened in 1924 by the British. It was the place where British Raj officials would disembark, making it the first place many people saw Mumbai.
Finally, we stopped for a few snacks at this supermarket: