Elephanta Festival is a cultural extravaganza that includes classical and contemporary dance & music performances. It is organised at the heritage of Elephanta Caves at Gharapuri in Elephanta Island. It is just 10 kilometres away from Mumbai. It is a 2-day festival which is celebrated in the month of February every year. Organised by Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC), the festival is celebrated to revive the Indian culture and keep it alive. The Elephanta Island is a small island but is known for its unique culture and of course the cave shrine which is popularly known as Elephanta Caves.
Elephanta Caves is the perfect place to flourish the Elephanta Festival of art and culture. Though the Portuguese were the founder of the Elephanta Caves during their invasion in the 14th century, it remarks the architecture and artisan skills of the local residers possibly during 2nd century. The sharp rock-cut carvings of Trimurti Sadashiva, Nataraja and Yogishvara (all three are the incarnation of Lord Shiva) is not only an example of fine craft which sets as an institution to flourish current architecture industry but also the power of undying faith in Hinduism. The antique rock-cut sculptures and cave temples are enough to grab your attention.
The Elephanta caves come under UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The caves contain a collection of Buddhist, Hindu, and Jain Temples. According to ASI, the place was settled by humans from the 2nd century. Earlier, Elephanta Caves was known as Gharpuri which means “Peaceful Living Place Of Lord Shiva”. The name “Elephanta Caves” was given by Portuguese as they found a carved elephant on a rock. The first Elephanta Festival was started in the year 1989, since then it keeps on getting laurels.
Folk Dance. The festival starts with a folk dance which is performed by a group of fishermen while they sing their folk songs.
Classical Music & Dance. The stage is also graced by talented artists who have achieved mastery in Indian classical dance and music including various classical dance forms such as Kathak, Bharatnatyam, Kuchipudi, Manipuri and many more.
Bollywood. Several singers from Bollywood can be seen at the festival performing their chartbusters to entertain the audience. Artists like Rahul Despande, Swapnil Bandodkar, Kailash Kher have performed at the event.
Illuminated Maheshmurti. There is a huge splendid temple of Lord Shiva which has an awestruck architecture. There is a lot to get attracted to this small piece of land. In this festival, an idol of Maheshmurti is illuminated in the cave along with extreme celebrations. You can join this festival in the month of February every year.
Once you are done exploring the festival, you can head towards the local market for shopping. The market consists of several shops containing handicrafts, gift items and so much more. Also, you can head to several restaurants in Elephanta Island to enjoy various cuisines ranging from Indian to continental.
By Air. Elephanta Island is just 10 kilometres away from Mumbai. So first, one needs to reach Mumbai. If you are planning to go to Mumbai via air, then the nearest airport is Mumbai International Airport. Once you reach the airport, you need to head towards Gateway of India which is a prime landmark of Mumbai and also the ferry point from where you can take a ferry towards Elephanta Island.
By Rail. The nearest railway station is Kharkopar Railway Station which is just 46 kilometres away from Elephanta Island. The railway station is well-connected to other nearby cities. If you are travelling from north India, then first you have to deboard at Mumbai Railway Station, then you can head to Gateway of India. From there, you can take ferries to reach Elephanta Island.
By Road. There is no road connectivity to reach Elephanta Island. But, you can enjoy a road trip until the Gateway of India, then you can take a ferry towards Elephanta Island. Travelling by ferry will be an exciting experience for you.
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13 February 2020 - 15 February 2020
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