School holidays are a chance to plan a trip with my family to any unexplored location. Spending some quality time with kids enhances the bond, and contributes a lot to cherish in the future. This time, I decided to plan a trip that could also be a learning experience for youngsters. It is an excellent approach to gain knowledge and have fun together. Educational trips hone their young minds. So, along with my partner, I dotted on Elephanta Caves. The trip to these historical caves was their journey to get insight into India’s deep-rooted art and culture.
A Fascinating Trail to Elephanta Caves
Right from the beginning, the trip was an enjoyable moment as we reached the Elephanta Island through a captivating ferry ride. Then we boarded a toy train to land at the historical wonder finally. The whole route cheered up the kids and kept them enthused about the trip ahead.
Capturing the Inside Glimpse of The Caves
Elephanta Island is a famous UNESCO World Heritage Site that has got a lot to explore. As soon as we entered the cave entrance, it felt like we transported to the historical era. The caves presented a thrilling experience for us to view the stunning artwork of the bygone times. These 7th-century caves are a treasure of intricate engravings and boast a multitude of Shaivite sculptures. We toured all of the caves, wandered around, and snapped some magnificent pictures. Children were excited, so were we. Here’s what we discovered.
Cave 1 is a landmark cave at the island that is also known as the Great Cave. It represents Shaivite depictions and relics from Hindu mythology. The various manifestations and carvings of Shiva with a few gigantic sculptures were intriguing for our children. The Trimurti portraying Shiva with three heads is the highlight of this cave. We also get to view the Yogishvara, Nataraja, along with the Shiva and Parvati wedding engravings here.
Cave 2, 3, and 4
Next, we headed to explore other adjacent caves. Though these are the stiff untreated caves, yet the highly-finished rock surfaces of these spots seized our eyes. The cave 2 features four square pillars and two small cavities. In cave 3, we observed the mandapa architectural legacy with pillared cells. There was also a wrecked shrine of Shiva. Further, cave 4 is likewise in a damaged state with a sprawling verandah deprived of posts. Additionally, at the back of the structure, we get to admire a sight of a lingam in the shrine.
Caves 6 and 7
These are caverns perched on the eastern hill. Both of them are dedicated to Buddhist epics that feature Stupas and water tanks. Here, we also examined a Stupa dating back to the 2nd Century BCE.
So, the Elephanta cave is a one-stop site to investigate a rich cultural heritage. Besides, it was not merely our chance to gain a more in-depth knowledge of India’s religious history, but we also witnessed the architectural marvel of India. In fact, it is also an ideal site for archeology buffs and history lovers. Our kids enjoyed the whole trip and returned with an abundance of knowledge about the country’s past.
How to reach: You have to take a ferry ride from Gateway of India to reach Elephanta caves. The ferry will cover the distance in about 1 hour and 15 minutes. The jetty runs from 9:00 am to 2:00 pm for the island and leaves after every half an hour.
Entry fee: INR 40 per head
Ferry charges are around INR 150, and toy train cost is INR 10 per head.
Timings: Tues – Sat: 9:30 am to 5:30 pm