Home > General, Mumbai, Mumbai Architecture, Mumbai History > Ferry Ride to Elephanta Island, approaching is half the fun

Ferry Ride to Elephanta Island, approaching is half the fun

Ferry Ride to Elephanta Island

Approaching the Elephanta Caves is half the fun

Also see: Elephanta Caves

The Elephant Island houses the Elephanta Caves, a series of rock cut caves with amazing sculptures. The island is located about 11 km north west of Apollo Bunder Jetty located next to Gateway of India.

Panoramic view of Apollo Bunder, with Gateway of India and Taj Mahal Hotel, from Elephanta ferry

Panoramic view of Apollo Bunder, with Gateway of India and Taj Mahal Hotel, from Elephanta ferry

The Elephant Caves are an UNESCO Heritage Site and attracts large number of tourists. Regular ferry service connects Mumbai to the Elephant Island at frequent intervals.

Gateway of India and Taj Mahal Hotel, from Elephanta ferry

Gateway of India and Taj Mahal Hotel, from Elephanta ferry

Reaching the cave is an experience by itself and is half the fun.

Necessary information about the Elephanta Ferry:

  • The ferry operates every half an hour
  • The first ferry leaves Gateway of India at 9:30 am
  • The last ferry leaves Gateway of India at 2:00 pm
  • The first ferry leaves Elephanta Island at 12 noon
  • The last ferry leaves Elephanta at 5:30 pm
  • One way journey takes one hour
  • The round fare for the ferry cost ₹ 200. A payment of an extra ₹ 10 will provide a seat in the upper deck
  • The caves are closed on Monday
Panoramic view of Apollo Bunder, with Gateway of India and Taj Mahal Hotel, from Elephanta ferry

Panoramic view of Apollo Bunder, with Gateway of India and Taj Mahal Hotel, from Elephanta ferry

The hour long ferry ride is a remarkable experience. The harbour is crowded with all sorts of vessels and the ferry makes it way past the crowded harbour.

Folks of Sea Gulls, en route Elephanta Island

As ferry moves out the crowded harbour looking back one gets a grand view of the Apollo Bunder area of Mumbai. The iconic Gateway of India with the majestic Taj Mahal Hotel in the back drop along with the other mansion of Apollo Bunder

The island of Middle Ground Coastal battery

The island of Middle Ground Coastal battery

There are also great views of the harbour with its assortment of boats and ships. The area has a heavy naval presence and Indian Navy ships are spotted regularly in the region.

Sea Gulls feeding on fried snacks, en route Elephanta Island

Apart from the ships the Navy also has a host other infrastructures including fort like structures built on small island. The most prominent among these is the island of Middle Ground Coastal battery (Google map location)

Gulls and ships, Elephant Island Ferry

Gulls and ships, Elephant Island Ferry

Standing on the upper deck of the ferry is an amazing experience and soon the skyline of Apollo Bunder vanishes out of sight. The the ferry sails on dogging past an assortment of other ferries and mighty ships.

Solitary Sea Gull, en route Elephanta Island

The highlight of the ferry ride to Elephanta Island is the folks of Sea Gulls. They are mostly seen in large groups but solitary gull are also not rare.

The sea gulls flaying past ships and boat is a treat for the eyes. Sadly a large number of tourist feed the birds with packaged fried snacks, which is extremely harmful for the birds health.

An assortment of ships, en route Elephanta Island

The area near Gateway of India have boards mentioning that feeding of birds is prohibited and it is followed to certain extent in the area, but once on boat there are no rules to be followed.

A ferry sails past a gigantic ship, en route Elephanta Island

A ferry sails past a gigantic ship, en route Elephanta Island

The feeding the gulls from the Elephanta Ferry is a common sight and the a large group of gulls folk around the ferry fighting with each other to grab the snacks thrown in air. Hawkers on board sell packaged fried snacks and tourist bu them to provide a instant junk food to the birds.

Ferries, en route Elephanta Island

The birds are become so familiar with humans that they some time pick up the food directly from the hand of the tourist. This is extremely sad that a trip to an UNESCO Heritage Site is marked with a severe violation of Wild Life Act.

Gulls follow a ferry for food, en route Elephanta Island

Gulls follow a ferry for food, en route Elephanta Island

The ferry continues with its journey dogging past gigantic cargo ships and oil tankers from all over the world. The ferry sails past a small island with gigantic piers. The piers extended far into the sea creating an complex pattern (Google map location)

Pier at Elephanta Island

Pier at Elephanta Island

Slowly the Elephanta Island, with its two hills become visible. The island covers an area of 1050 hectors and the highest point rises to a height of 173 m above sea level.

Apart from the Elephanta Caves, an UNESCO World Heritage site the island also houses three villages with an approximate population of 1600 people.

The island has been referred as Gharapuri in ancient literature. The island once had a large share of mangrove forest but most of it have been lost over time

The island has a cost line of 7 km and is approached by a pier is located on the northern side (Google map location). The pier consists of a arched pathway leading to the island.

Pier at Elephanta Island

Pier at Elephanta Island

The toy train provides a quick access to the island and cost ₹ 10 for a round trip. A short leisurely walk also leads to the island.

The toy train ride is recommended as lot of walking follows in exploration of the Elephanta Caves and its surroundings.

On reaching the ground of the island a long flight of stairs leads the caves. There are 100+ steps and it is not very steep. There are souvenir and artifacts shops all along the way.

The site consists of a total of 7 caves out of which Cave 1 is the largest and grandest. Caves 6 and 7 are located far from the other caves and is seldom visited.

Long flight of stairs to Elephanta Caves

Apart from the caves the Elephanta Island houses two giant cannons mounted on rotating platforms situated high up on the hill. A very basic exploration of the island would take 3 hours (excluding ferry ride)

Entrance of Elephanta Cave

Entrance of Elephanta Cave

More on Elephanta Caves

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