Maharashtra
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Our most recommended Maharashtra Cruises & Boat Tours

Elephanta Caves: Private Half-Day Tour from Mumbai

1. Elephanta Caves: Private Half-Day Tour from Mumbai

To start off your tour of Elephanta island, choose a pickup time that fits your schedule, though it’s best to get an early morning start. Take a beautiful, hour-long ferry ride across the bay from Mumbai to Elephanta Island, and begin your exploration of a labyrinth of caves, temples, and shrines with your own private guide. An elaborate system of man-made caves cut directly into solid basaltic mountains, the Elephanta Caves were used as sacred places of Hindu and Buddhist worship starting in the 5th to 7th century. Amble through the vast columns and arched colonnades, gazing at elaborately carved sacred shrines to deities.  The main cave, otherwise known as the Shiva Cave, contains numerous carvings depicting various aspects of Lord Shiva including his wedding, his slaying of Andhaka, and more. The most significant sculpture in the cave is the 20-foot-tall, three-headed Shiva, known as the Trimurti. Other wings of the caves have shrines dedicated to Shiva’s sons, Kartikeya and Ganesh, with similarly spectacular carved statues.  All the while, enjoy insightful commentary from a local guide, expert in the history of the Elephanta Caves, as well as Hinduism and Buddhism as a whole. After touring the magnificent island, you will be ferried back to the harbor. From there, your driver will drop you back at your hotel, marking the end of a memorable tour through over 1,500 years of history.

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Best Combo of City, Dhobighat, Slum & Dabbawala

2. Best Combo of City, Dhobighat, Slum & Dabbawala

Your guide will meet you at your hotel then take you on a city tour. Highlights of the tour include Marine Drive, Victoria terminus, the Gateway of India, Colaba Market, and Mani Bhavan. You will also get to go on a ferry tour at Colaba, cruising along Mumbai's city coast line. Next, learn about the Dabbawala - the people whose job it is to carry and deliver freshly made food from home in lunch boxes to office workers in the city. See Dabbawala in action and hear how the success of the system depends on teamwork and time management. Next, you will learn about the Dhobighat. A dhobi is a traditional laundryman, who will collect your dirty linen, wash it, and return it neatly pressed to your doorstep. The laundries where clothes are taken are called ghats. Stop for a lunch break at a local restaurant. Finally, go on a 2-hour Slum Tour with your guide. The Khumbarwada area is the place occupied by the potter’s community from Gujarat, and you will be able to see pottery being made here.

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Mumbai: Elephanta Island and Mumbai City Tour

3. Mumbai: Elephanta Island and Mumbai City Tour

You will be picked up from a location of your choice in Mumbai, before driving to the "Gateway of India". From there you will take a 1-hour ferry to Elephanta Island, where upon arrival you will take a train which, will prove to be a fun and quirky way to travel. Following that you will proceed to the Elephanta Caves, which contain a collection of rock art linked to the sect of Shiv. You will have an hour to explore the caves, also seeing the sculpted images of Kalyansundara, Gangadhara, and Ardhanriswara. Following that you will board the ferry once more to head back to Mumbai where your Mumbai city tour begins. Throughout your city tour you will visit all of the top attractions on any traveler’s itinerary to Mumbai. You will explore the Taj Mahal Palace, Dhobi Ghat, Town Hall, the Victoria Terminus, the Municipal Building, Marine Drive, Nariman Point, Chowpatty Beach, Hanging Garden, and Mani Bhavan. It is an ideal tour to learn about the history and culture of Mumbai as you introduce yourself to this wonderful city.

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From Mumbai: Full-Day Elephanta Caves Tour

4. From Mumbai: Full-Day Elephanta Caves Tour

After hotel pick-up, explore the Gateway of India, a prime landmark of Mumbai. Opposite to the Gateway stands the Royal Taj Mahal Hotel. Board the ferry to reach Elephanta Island, and listen to an introduction to Hinduism. Hop off the boat and explore Elephanta Cave, a kilometers' stroll from the wharf. Ride a toy train from the jetty to the base of the hill. Trek the 120 steps to the caves. Step into an enormous hall upheld by a large pillar and see the vast Mahesamurti statue. The whole cave complex is around 60,000 square feet and is made out of natural rock. Capture excellent pictures with the Arabian Sea in the backdrop, and head out of the caves to see the beautiful Elephant-shaped rock structure.  After completing your Elephanta tour, head back to the ferry at 1:30 PM to travel back to India's Gate. On reaching the harbor, the chauffeur will drive you back to your hotel.

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Mumbai: Ancient Elephanta Caves Tour w/ Ride of Toy Train

5. Mumbai: Ancient Elephanta Caves Tour w/ Ride of Toy Train

After you are done with your breakfast, your chauffuer will pick you up at 08:30 from your hotel to kick start your trip to the Gateway of India followed by the grand Elephanta Caves. The famous monument, the main tourist attraction in Mumbai, the Gateway of India is decked with four turrets and its yellow basalt stone structure has delicate latticework carved in it. The structure exhibits the amalgamation of Hindu and Muslim architectures. To the opposite of this grand monument, stands the rich and famous Royal Taj Mahal Hotel. This hotel is a witness of priceless memories of this glorious city. The Taj Towers located near the hotel is another appealing building for its wonderful architecture. From the Gateway of India, you will be taken by a ferry boat to the Elephanta Island. The ferry boat is a type of luxury boat which ferries you around the harbor and you will reach the lovely Elephanta Islands after a journey spanning nearly one hour and fifteen minutes.  Now that you have reached the Elephanta Islands, some light will be thrown upon the whereabouts of what you can expect to find here. After you reach the island, you will have the option of walking by foot or taking a toy train to the main attractions of the place. Elephanta Island is a serene and spellbinding land blanketed in calmness and peace. The island is covered with lush green trees and monkeys dot the place. It is advised that you do not carry food while strolling around to prevent troubles caused by the monkeys. You will have to walk approximately 120 steep steps to get to the entrance of the temple after you get down from the toy train. Take the pony services offered if you do not want to toil climbing up to the temple. Spread over an area of nearly 60,000 square feet, the magnificent Elephanta Cave complex is comprised of massive rock carved temples, dating back to the 5th-century. These temples are sworn in the name of Lord Shiva, in particular. You will notice skillfully chiseled corridors and chambers as you walk through the temples. Treading past each bend, you will also find intensely sculpted art forms. Various images are depicted in the engraved rock surfaces, fluted pillars, dedicated, skillful stone work and structures chiseled out of the huge rocks. Catch a glimpse of the magnanimous Shivalingam, situated at the western end of the temple. At the eastern wing of the main temple, you will find the secondary shrine. As you approach the main hall, you will find that the hall is completely adorned with carved panels that speak of legends from Shiva Purana. Spread across the entire complex, are an array of sculptures representing many of Lord Shiva's manifestations like Kalyanasundara, Gangadhara, Ardhanariswara, Uma Maheswara, Nataraja, Yogiswara, Andhakaasuravadamoorthy and Ravanaanugrahamurthy. These intricate and splendid carvings are testimony of the high level of skill and excellence that ancient India showcased in art and craft. You will also be taken to the handicraft markets, which stock a spellbinding collection of the exquisite and invaluable art, and craft that prevailed in ancient India. After you have completed touring the outstanding and exemplary Elephanta Island, you will be ferried back to the Gateway of India at 13:30. From the harbor, your appointed chauffuer will drop you back to your hotel, marking the end of the memorable tour.

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Mumbai City Tour with Ferry Ride and Dharavi Slum

6. Mumbai City Tour with Ferry Ride and Dharavi Slum

Your full-day adventure begins with pick-up from your hotel, the port or airport in Mumbai. Experience the iconic Gateway of India on the Mumbai Harbor waterfront. Explore the Dhobi Ghat (the huge and ancient open-air laundromat), Marine Drive and the Hanging Gardens (also known as the Pherozeshah Mehta Gardens). Take a ferry tour to get a glimpse of the Mumbai coast. You will get ample photo opportunities while a guide explains the importance of attractions along the way. Continue the tour to experience the famous Dharavi slum. Feel the sense of community and spirit as you pass through the residential area. People from all over the country live in Dharavi. Observe the diversity, apparent from the mosques, temples and churches standing side by side. Tour the narrow alleys and perhaps even leave with an enlightened view.   Afterwards, take a look at the completely opposite and glamorous side of Mumbai, which is famous for its skyscrapers, beautiful beaches and home to of the world's biggest film industries: Bollywood. See the masterpiece of ethical art and UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Victoria Terminus railway station, also known as Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus. At the end of your tour, your driver will drop you off at your hotel. 

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Mumbai: Private City Tour with Ferry Ride & Dharavi Village

7. Mumbai: Private City Tour with Ferry Ride & Dharavi Village

Explore Mumbai from a unique perspective by car and ferry as a local guide takes you on a private full-day tour to see the city’s most famous attractions and landmarks including the unique opportunity to walk through the culturally important Dharavi Slum village. Start your journey with a hotel pickup, before driving over to the Gateway of India and the iconic Taj Mahal Palace Hotel.  Go on a 30-minute ferry ride in the Arabian Sea spectacular views of the southern side of the city and gain more knowledge of the colonial history of Mumbai along with some fascinating stories about the old Bombay.  Next, l head to the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus Train Station, which is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. After, visit the Crawford Market, a British-era market that has been standing for over a century and is a great place to see an array of spices.  Following this, enjoy an insider's tour of the Dhobi Ghat, a colorful open-air laundry. Afterward, go on a 2-hour exploration of the Dharavi Slum, the largest slum located in Asia, now well-known thanks to the Oscar-winning film "Slumdog Millionaire".  Go to Mahatma Gandhi's residence, where the famous "Non-Cooperation" started. You'll also visit the iconic Haji Ali Dargah mosque,  located just off the coast of Mumbai. You will then head to Malabar Hill, before seeing the Banganga water tank and having a stop at Marine Drive, where you'll see a spectacular panorama of Mumbai.  Your guide will also take you for a short train ride on the Mumbai Local to experience the so-called "lifeline of Mumbai". Additionally, you will also be visiting the cow shelter or "Panjrapole". The last stop will be to take a look at the famous Mumbai dabbawallas, who drive around the city delivering lunches from homes to workplaces. The guide will take you to the assembly point of the dabbawalas, where you can take photos and learn about their interesting business model. You'll be amazed at how much they can carry by themselves.

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What people are saying about Maharashtra

Overall rating

5.0 / 5

based on 5 reviews

Get your guide ran a faultless tour. Fantastic experience to travel from the picturesque dock near the Gateway to India and Hotel Taj. We were first promptly transported from our hotel by a nice young man who guided us to the ferry. The travel over on the large wooden ferry was a great way to interact with many Indian people who were lovely. On arrival at the Elephanta Island we were greeted by the guide who was fantastic. We caught a small train from the dock to the stairs area where some of our party were carried up the steep stairs on a seat carry system. He guided us thru the aspects of the main cave and it’s history. It’s amazing, but a little ruined by the Portuguese who used it as target practise. Many giant Indian deities carved in the walls. Had a brief shop at the market, which has great souvenirs on then returned back by ferry. Many ferry’s come and go so don’t panic about pissing one.

An unforgettable day in Mumbai! My guide Sunil was very good. He explained well and, in addition to the usual goals, also brought me to those who particularly interested me. Very well guided tour with lots of information and impressions. Highly Recommended.

Hotel collection and drop off made this trip easy. Our guide on Elephanta Island was very informative and as he lived locally was able to give us additional information about life on the island.

Beautiful excursion which combined a tour of the city of Mumbay and a visit to the slum of Darhavi. A guide who spoke perfectly understandable English and who gave us a lot of explanations.

Vishra (the guide) and Satya (the driver) were exceptional. Informative, helpful, charming and thoughtful.