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Maharashtra

Religious & spiritual activities

Our most recommended Maharashtra Religious & Spiritual Activities

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.

Mumbai: Private Day Tour with Elephanta Caves

2. Mumbai: Private Day Tour with Elephanta Caves

Explore Mumbai's most stunning locations and tourist attractions in this eight-hour tour with an English speaking guide. Start the day with a pickup and head towards the gateway of India for the ferry to Elephanta Caves. Enjoy the must-see destination for history lovers.  After an-hour ferry ride climb 120 steps to the plateau where the caves can be entered. There are seven major excavations in the area, and you'll be able to explore the history behind the artifacts and structures found inside. Explore the hall which is supported by huge pillars and this masterpiece of 6th-century architecture.  Discover 3 caves and learn about India's religious history. Each cave has a unique feature: one is a large Hindu Cave, the other is a Buddhist cave, and the final one is a cave dedicated to the God Shiva with a massive three-headed Shiva sculpture. After the Elephanta Caves, go back to explore Mumbai, starting with the iconic Taj Mahal Palace Hotel and the Gate Way of India.  Head to the UNESCO World Heritage Site and see the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus Train Station. Continue towards Crawford Market, a British era market that has been standing for over a century and a great place to see an array of spices.  Visit Mahatma Gandhi's residence (Mani Bhavan) and head to Malabar Hill to witness the Banganga water tank and take a breathtaking view of the Queen's Necklace below at Kamala Nehru Park. On your way back see another spectacular panorama along the marine drive and visit a temple in Mumbai. Before ending the tour take a train ride with the Mumbai train and experience what the locals call the lifeline of Mumbai. Your guide shows you Dhobighat, a colorful landmark outdoor laundry where hundreds of workers wash and dry huge quantities of clothing. Your tour will end by driving back to your hotel by taking all the extraordinary memories along with you.

Mumbai: Experience Local Transport, Sightseeing & Lunch

3. Mumbai: Experience Local Transport, Sightseeing & Lunch

See the best of Mumbai while traveling the local way on this authentic tour. Ride the famous suburban train, hop on a classic red bus, cruise around town in a typical black and yellow taxi, and look on as millions of Mumbai’s working-class head out in the morning. Markets such as the Dadar Flower Market and the world famous Dabbawallahs (the workers of India’s intricate lunch delivery system) will also be explored. For lunch, a special tiffin (lunchbox) lunch will be delivered by a dabbawallah, with which you will enjoy a picnic at a nearby park. Following the picnic, you will receive an overview of religion in India (which is integral to the lives of most Indians), and you’ll learn about Hinduism and Islam, as well as Jainism. You will then admire the Haji Ali in the middle of the sea, enjoy views from Mahalaxmi Temple, and receive a one-of-a-kind perspective of Mumbai (and Marine Drive) from the Hanging Gardens. Later on, you experience Dhobi Ghat, the world’s largest open-air laundry.

Mumbai: Full-Day Private Customized Tour

4. Mumbai: Full-Day Private Customized Tour

Experience Mumbai according to your own interests with this full-day customized tour. Design your very own itinerary to spend 8 hours touring around the city to see Mumbai's top tourist attractions and areas.  Get picked up from your hotel and travel in comfort in a private air-conditioned vehicle. Choose to see major city attractions such as the Gateway of India, an arch-shaped monument built in the early 20th century, or the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus Train Station, which has been made into a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  Other places to visit could be the Crawford Market, a British-era market with an array of spices, or the Dhobi Ghat, a large open-air laundry. At the end of your tour you will be dropped back to your hotel. If you would like to gain some insider knowledge, choose the option with a local guide.

Elephanta Caves: Private Half-Day Tour from Mumbai

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

Start the day with an optional pickup from your hotel or meet your guide at the Gateway of India. First take the ferry to Elephanta Caves, which is a must-see destination for history buffs or archaeology aficionados. After an hour-long ferry ride, climb 120 steps to the plateau where these caves can be entered. Dive into the history behind the artifacts and structures found in seven major excavation sites. Enter the hall, a masterpiece of 6th-century architecture which is supported by huge pillars. Explore 3 caves and learn interesting facts about India's religious history. Each cave is has a unique feature: one is a large Hindu Cave, the other is a Buddhist cave, and the final cave is dedicated to the God Shiva, with an immense, three-headed Shiva sculpture. After the Elephanta Caves, you'll go back to Mumbai by ferry. If you've opted for the accommodation option, you will be dropped back off at your specified address.

Aurangabad: Ajanta and Ellora Caves Private Day Tour

6. Aurangabad: Ajanta and Ellora Caves Private Day Tour

Be picked up from the airport or hotel in Aurangabad at 8am. From there, your journey to Ajanta Cave will be about 100km and will take around 3 hours. Visit one of the oldest UNESCO World Heritage sites, Ajanta Caves. Discover the 29 Buddhist caves, which are enclosed in the hill side and learn about the ancient Indian history which is revealed through beautiful paintings and carvings inside the cave. Be taken to the era of ancient time by the carvings which cover the gigantic pillars, stupas, and ceilings. These carvings and paintings clearly depict the major dominance of Buddhist Philosophy. Once you’re done with exploring the miracles of Ajanta caves, head towards the Ellora caves. Located at a distance of 95km, the drive towards Ellora caves will take 2 hours. Here, explore the Ellora Cave, an imposing complex of rock shrines that represent the three faiths of Buddhism, Hinduism and Jainism. It was formed between the 5th and the 13th centuries CE and it has 12 Buddhist caves, 5 Jain temples and 17 Hindu temples. Finally, after the sightseeing, you would be dropped at the hotel or airport in Aurangabad.

From Mumbai: Full-Day Elephanta Caves Tour

7. 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.

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

8. 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.

Mumbai: Karla and Bhaja Caves Full–Day Tour

9. Mumbai: Karla and Bhaja Caves Full–Day Tour

After pick–up from your hotel in Mumbi, travel roughly 3 hours in an air-conditioned private vehicle to reach Karla around 10:00am. Take a walk through the impressive site, ascending 200 steep steps to reach the caves, excavated thousands of years ago from a hillside in the Western Ghats in Maharashtra. The rock–cut shrines were developed for Buddhist monks to use during the monsoons. They feature chaityas (prayer halls) with intricate carvings, the largest of the halls measures 148 feet and was created in the 1st century B.C. After exploring the caves, take a break to purchase lunch at a restaurant of your choice. Then head to the Bhaja caves, another religious site near the Karla Caves. At the end of a full day, drive back to your Mumbai hotel where your tour ends with hotel drop off.

6 Hour Highlights of Mumbai Private Sightseeing Tour

10. 6 Hour Highlights of Mumbai Private Sightseeing Tour

After pickup from your hotel, you will head to the Gateway of India and the iconic Taj Mahal Palace Hotel. Next, see the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus Train Station, which has been made into a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Then, explore 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. Next stop is an insider's tour of the Dhobi Ghat, a colorful open-air laundry. Then you will visit Mahatma Gandhi's residence, but not before you pass by the Haji Ali Dargah mosque, just off the coast of Mumbai. You will head to Malabar Hill, before seeing the Banganga water tank and stopping at Kamala Nehru Park to take in the views. But no view will match the one at Marine Drive, where you'll see a spectacular panorama of Mumbai. After a day of exploring Mumbai, you will be dropped back to your hotel.

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What people are saying about Maharashtra

Overall rating

4.4 / 5

based on 13 reviews

Here is my a bit late review: It was AWESOME! :-) Seriously! Even though this particular tour was the first private sightseeing tour in my life, but certainly not the first one in general, it was perfect! If you're in India and especially in Mumbai for the first time - TAKE IT! I was lucky enough to get into hands of - I made this name up ;-) - AA team, with Alam as the guide and Arun as the driver. All respect and special tribute to Alam for spending the most of a very hot day without food and water, i.e. due to ongoing Ramadan, of course, but still keeping top level guiding performance in all the aspects (knowledge, attentiveness, communication, understanding, proactiveness, (emotional) intelligence, assistance, kindness, having sense of humor, integrity, suggestiveness, adaptability, openness, helpfulness, to name just a few) for the whole time of the tour (8h+). Also Arun wasn't bad in his knowledge at all! He provided lots of interesting information and was very supportive, too!

This was perhaps one of the most fun tour I have been on. It was really very well organised. Anthony was right on time in the hotel lobby to receive me and then we left for Elephanta Caves. There I met the guide - Avinash. Since he was a local, he had so much understanding and knowledge of the history and place. Really had great time with him. His photography skill was mind blowing. Because I was so impressed with the service that I ended up taking another tour with them - street food tour. There I met Sagar as a guide. He is such a fun and amazing energy to be around. Really enjoyed the entire experience of trying different street food of Mumbai along side some fun talk with Sagar. I really recommend this tour. Thanks for all the amazing experiences.

My guide, Daiwat, is from Elephanta Island and was very knowledgeable. He knew all the tricks to make the trip to the island as easy as possible. At the cave he gave very thorough and interesting explanations of all the statues, structures, and significance of each. Daiwat also showed me all the best angles for photos! Overall excellent!

It was a nice place to go and understand more about the cult of Shiva and Hinduism. Our guides gave us a lot of details and take care to have nice memories regarding this trip.

The trip had been a good experience Enjoyed the elephanta caves trip by get your guide Guide was very polite and helpful