Mumbai, Maharashtra, India for Elephant Island

Although there’s plenty to see and do in downtown Mumbai, don’t pass up the opportunity to go see Elephant Island, also known as Elephanta. Elephant Island is home to five temples carved from the stone of the island. The temples depict various gods and stories, depending on when they were constructed, and which theology prevailed at the time – from Buddhism to Hinduism.

Not knowing exactly how to get there, I went to the Gate of India, which is a sight in itself to see, and inquired around. It turns out that getting tickets on the boat was as simple as purchasing one off a ticket seller wandering around the area. Once purchased, I got in in line and took off straight from the docks at the Gate of India.

The ride took about one hour, cruising past large cargo ships in the vast Front Bay. Upon arrival, I walked through long stretches of stalls on the stairs to the top of the island. I was prevailed upon to purchase all manner of items, from anklets to bongos.

At the top is where the temples are. All of them are closely spaced together so it doesn’t take much time to see all of them and snap a few pictures, and it’s definitely worth it. If you finish with your tour of the temples quickly but aren’t yet ready to depart, you can always take a break at the handful of restaurants on the island, or buy some fresh fruit. Just watch out for the cows trying to eat your food!

Insider Tip

Make sure you get to the Gate of India with plenty of time to spare. The area is always crowded, so it may take some time to get on a boat. The boats leave every half hour, the last one returning at 5PM.

Where I stayed / started

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