There are many places near Mumbai that can be visited during the weekends to enjoy the one day picnic with friends and family. Such lovely and beautiful places are an asset for any big city. Mumbai is full of such beautiful places that can be visited for fun and enjoyment during the valuable weekends. One such place near Mumbai is the Elephanta caves. These caves are located around 5 miles away from Mumbai on an island that can be reached only by the motorboats. You will have to reach the gate way of India, opposite Hotel Tajmahal to catch these motorboats for the Elephanta caves. The boats are scheduled to live every one hour from 9 am to 2 pm in the afternoon. It would be preferable to book your tickets for the boat in advance to avoid some undue waiting due to large rush of people. The ticket rates for these motor boats are Rs.40 ($1) per person. One boat can easily accommodate around 50 passengers.
The motor boat takes around one hour to reach to the Elephanta caves. If the sea is violent due to heavy rain or storm, it can take little more time to reach. The boat journey is very enjoyable all through the way as you can view the Mumbai skyline from the boat. These caves were invented by the Britishers in later part of nineteenth century. They had seen a large statue of elephant on an island in the sea. The detailed inspection revealed the presence of these caves. Due to the large statue of elephant at the entrance of these caves, the name of Elephanta caves was given to these caves. This large statue of elephant is now kept in Victoria garden in Mumbai zoo. This island was known as Gadhpuri earlier but the name was changed subsequently to Elephanta caves.
These caves are made from the big stone and have touch of Lord Shiva in its design and architecture. There is one main cave and 14 other small caves located all around it. The main cave has Buddhist time pictures engraved on the stones. The sculptures of lord Shiva are also there. There is a special Shiva lingam here that has an elliptical shape. There is a statue of dancing Shiva also in the main cave. Some scenes of Shiva Parvati vivah are also engraved along with the most famous sculpture of Shiva as the ardh narishwar. These pieces of art are really very beautiful and hypnotic. The main cave is very large and has free air circulation. The lighting arrangement provided is also very nice allowing the nice views of all the sculptures in the cave. The other small caves are not that much spacious and have little air circulation. It may be slightly uncomfortable to remain in these small caves for a very long time. You can have your picnic lunch with your friends and family here after you have seen all the caves. It is better to carry your own bottled drinking water and the food. There are some restaurants available here but are not up to the standard. There is no provision to stay over night at this island. Hence, make sure to catch the last motor boat going back to Mumbai as otherwise it may be problematic later to return back. This outing can be more thrilling during rainy season due to the sea condition. However, sometimes the boat service is suspended during extremely heavy rain or storm.
You can also arrange the group travel to Elephanta caves by booking your own independent boat for to and fro journey. This is expensive but can give you freedom to remain at caves for as much time as you want up to the evening. The most foreigners like to visit these Elephanta caves at Mumbai so as to get the most enjoyable and fun filled picnic for a day at very reasonable rates.