The Elephanta Caves are located in Western India on Elephanta Island, originally known as the Island of Gharapuri. It is located around an hour's ferry ride away from south Mumbai. The small island, which comprise of two hillocks separated by a narrow valley, is dotted with numerous ancient archaeological remains dating back as early as the 2nd century BC. The rock-cut Elephanta Caves were constructed somewhere in between 5th to 6th centuries AD. The most important among the caves is Cave 1, which closely resembles Dumar Lena cave at Ellora, in India. The 7-metre-high masterpiece 'Sadashiva' dominates the entrance to Cave 1. The sculpture represents three aspects of Shiva: the Creator, the Preserver, and the Destroyer, identified, respectively, with Aghora or Bhairava (left half), Taptapurusha or Mahadeva (central full face), and Vamadeva or Uma (right half). The representations of Nataraja, Yogishvara, Andhakasuravadha, Ardhanarishwara, Kalyanasundaramurti, Gangadharamurti, and Ravanaanugrahamurti are also noteworthy for their forms, dimensions, themes, representations, content, alignment and execution. The layout of the caves, including the pillar components, the placement and division of the caves into different parts, and the provision of a sanctum or Garbhagriha of sarvatobhadra plan, are important developments in rock-cut architecture. The fifteen large reliefs surrounding the lingam chapel in the main Elephanta Cave not only constitute one of the greatest examples of Indian art but also one of the most important collections for the cult of Shiva, as per the World Heritage Centre. How to get there: It is open six days a week and is closed on Monday. The first boat for Elephanta leaves from the Gateway of India ferry point at 9 am. The first return boat leaves from Elephanta at 12 noon and the last return boat leaves at 5.30pm from Elephanta. Fares: The boat fare is Rs. 200 for the return ticket and can be purchased at one of the many booking stalls near Gateway of India. From wherever you are in Mumbai, catch a local train to Churchgate or CST station, and from there it is a 10 minute taxi ride to Gateway or you have a lot of BEST buses. Elephanta Entrance Fee: The entry free at the entrance of the island is Rs 10 and the fee for the Village Entry is also the same. There is a small toy train from the ferry drop point at Elephanta to the entrance of the Village and the fare is Rs. 5 per person. You can also opt to walk along the pier, it is just about a kilometre or so. Pro Tip: Try and take the first ferry at 9.30am when travelling to Elephanta in peak summer during May as it can get very hot during the afternoon and make the walk to the caves very tiring. Carry water bottles, sunscreen lotions and umbrellas (especially for senior citizens) to protect yourself from the hot afternoon sun.