Elephanta Ferry (launch) services operate from the Gateway of India ferry point also called the Apollo Bandar.

There are two types of boats/launches : The Luxury Type and Economy Type. The former cost Rs150 while the later cost Rs120 for return ticket. If you have bought the Luxury ticket, you can return by either services based on the your choice. They collect Rs10 inside the boat to sit on the upper deck. It’s worth this ‘premium’ as you can get a good panoramic view, the crowd and noise is relatively less.

The ferry timings to Elephanta : The ferry travel time is about an hour. The first boat leaves from the Gateway of India for Elephanta at 9 am. The last one for elephanta leaves at 2pm. And typically there is one leaving for Elephanta every 30 minutes, between 9 am and 2 pm. Also note, Elephanta Caves are closed on Mondays. So is the ferry service to Elephanta.

Similarly, the ferry schedules from Elephanta are like this: the first return boat leaves Elephanta by 12 noon. The last one at 5.30 pm. And you'll find a return boat every 30 minutes in between.

If you are looking for a fastest whirlwind trip to Elephanta catch the first boat to Elephanta at 9am, you'll reach the island by 10 am, another 30 minutes to reach the caves (10.30am). About an hour or so later you can return to catch the earliest return boat. Weather you make a quick return or not, take the first boat, you'll enjoy the ambient at the caves, sans the thick crowd that keep arriving by the subsequent boats!

Another advantage of going early, you can leisurely explore the other attractions in Elephanta like the Cannon Hill and those minor caves.

Or if you are late for the day, catch the last boat by 2pm, arrive at Elephanta by 3pm, another 30 min trek to the caves site. You'll have another 1 hour or so to spend at the caves. Decent at least by 5pm so that you'll not miss the last boat back to Mumbai!

BTW , the boat ride per se is not spectacular , expect that you'll get a fine view of the Mumbai Harbor and the Gateway of India with a the Taj Mahal Hotel adjacent to it. You may also pass a few massive tanker ships moored and the Butcher's Island with a whitewashed fort on it. See also How to Reach Elephanta.

Elephanta Ferry Ticket

The ferry tickets to Elephanta is sold at a kiosk near the ferry point adjacent to the Gateway of India

The luxury boat ticket for adult cost Rs150. This also includes a guide fee at the caves. The ordinary boat ticket costs Rs130, without the guide fee.

Everything about Elephanta!

Elephanta Ferry (launch) services operate from the Gateway of India ferry point also called the Apollo Bandar.

The Thirumurthy image at Elephanta Caves

Mahesh Murthi at Elephanta

Despite the noisy crowd you may encounter inside main cave in Elephanta , this image of Lord Shiva with his closed eyelids and in a deep contemplating attitude would be the most satisfying piece of art you would ever see in India.Rather this is the highest watermark of medieval Indian art tradition.

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View from Elephanta Island

History of Elephanta

The most convincing of the theories on its origin tell Elephanta caves were executed during the period 450 to 750 AD. Incidentally, this period also marks the decline of Buddhism in India and the revival of the Brahmanical traditions.

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Gangadhara and Parvathi

Gangadhara at Elephanta

Gangadhara, roughly translates the 'Bearer of the Ganges'.A complex sequence of events led to bringing the heavenly river Ganga (Ganges) to Earth.

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The demon king Ravana lifts Kailash, the abode of Lord Shiva

Ravana Shaking Kailasa at Elephanta

Ravana, the demon king of Lanka is a staunch devotee of Lord Shiva.Portrayed in this panel is a very popular episode of Ravana lifting the mount Kailash, the abode of Lord Shiva.

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Marriage of Shiva and Parvati

Kalyana Sundara at Elephanta

The circumstances leading the marriage of Shiva and Parvati is a significant episode in the Hindu mythology.After the death of his first wife Sati, Shiva withdrew into an ascetic lifestyle, deep meditation and austerities.

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Mahayogi Shiva of Elephanta

Mahayogi Shiva at Elephanta

Mahayogi Shiva is located as you enter the main cave, opposite to the panel of Nataraja at Elephanta .This is an unusual posture of Shiva portrayed as sitting on a lotus flower in meditating attitude.

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Elephants Island Map

Elephanta Cave 6 and Cave 7

Cave 6 and 7 are located in the eastern hill in Elephanta Island. It's not very frequented by visitors compared to the rest of the caves.