More than a thousand years ago, Hindu craftsmen carved columns and sculptures out of a series of caves located on an island off the shores of Mumbai, creating a temple complex dedicated to Lord Shiva. The Portuguese named the island Elephanta, after the large statue of an elephant they found near the spot where they docked their ships. Come discover the unique beauty and intriguing tales of these temple caves with today’s memorable excursion. Travel by motor coach to the Gateway of India, the city’s most recognized landmark. Built in 1911 to commemorate the visit of King George V and Queen Mary, the archway was originally conceived as an entry point for people arriving on steamers from England. Today, the gateway serves as a launching point for your own exploration of the Elephanta Temple. Boarding a motor boat, enjoy the approximately 45-minute cruise to the Elephanta landing. From this staging area, a long stairway leads to the top of the hill, where the caves are located. As you enter, you will see a magnificent sculpture of Shiva as Nataraj, showing an enraptured expression as he removes the veil of ignorance. The most outstanding sculpture is a bust of Trimurti—the three-faced Shiva representing the Hindu trinity, Brahma the creator, Vishnu the preserver, and Shiva the destroyer. In other panels, Shiva is depicted in service to humanity as he brings the River Ganges to Earth, and at his most fearsome as he crushes the demon of Andhaka. Later, board the motor boat for return cruise to the Gateway and re-board the motor coach for the transfer back to the ship.
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