Across the Mumbai Harbour, lie the seventh-century rock-cut temples of Elephanta. Once known as Gharapuri, or the Fortress City, the Caves are now designated as a World Heritage Site and visited by hundreds of tourists both for their art historical and scenic value. The Portuguese renamed this island Elephanta after a large stone elephant found near the shore ( the elephant sculpture collapsed in 1814, when the British relocated it to the Victoria Gardens now Mumbai’s zoo, where it still stands).
Approach to the Island is by boat. Luxury and ordinary launches as well as catamarans leave for Elephanta from Apollo Bunder at the Gateway of India. Boats usually leave every half-hour from 9 am to 2 pm from Apollo Bunder and between 1 pm and 5 pm from Elephanta Island. Tickets are sold at booths near the Gateway of India and the MTDC offers daily tours to the Island. During the monsoons the ordinary boat services are usually suspended.