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Elephanta Island

Geography Fun Facts for Kids All About Elephanta Island - Image of Elephanta Caves
Geography Fun Facts for Kids All About Elephanta Island - Image of Elephanta Caves

Elephanta Island is a historical site located in Mumbai, India. It is home to the Elephanta Caves, which are a collection of rock-cut temples dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva. These caves date back to the 5th to 8th centuries and are known for their intricate carvings and sculptures. The island is a popular tourist destination and offers visitors a glimpse into the rich cultural heritage of India.

Elephanta Island Facts For Kids

  • Elephanta Island is located near Mumbai, India.
  • It’s home to ancient cave temples, a UNESCO site.
  • The island was named by the Portuguese.
  • The caves are dedicated to Lord Shiva.
  • It’s a popular destination for tourists.
  • The caves date back to 5th to 8th century AD.
  • You can reach there by a ferry from Mumbai.
  • The island is also known as ‘Gharapuri’.
  • The island covers an area of 16 square km.
  • The biggest cave is called the Great Cave.

Elephanta Caves

Located in Mumbai, India, Elephanta Island is renowned for the stunning cave temples, referred to as the Elephanta Caves. As a UNESCO World Heritage Site, these caves provide a glimpse into India’s rich culture and history, having been intricately carved out of rock from the 5th to the 8th centuries.

The most imposing feature of these caves is a 20-foot tall sculpture representing the Hindu deity, Shiva. Children visiting the island can immerse themselves in India’s ancient art, architectural design, and mythology. Not only can they partake in an entertaining ferry trip to reach the island, but they also have the opportunity to observe monkeys freely wandering around the caves.


Located just off the coast of Mumbai, India, Elephanta Island is a captivating site for children, steeped in rich history and culture. As a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it is renowned for its ancient rock-carved cave temples, housing intricate sculptures of Hindu gods.

The island also boasts a museum dedicated to educating visitors about the island’s historical inhabitants and their traditions. Offering an engaging blend of fun and learning, Elephanta Island serves as an ideal day trip from Mumbai, providing children with a unique opportunity to explore and appreciate India’s vibrant heritage.

Indian Archaeology

Elephanta Island, also referred to as Gharapuri Island, is a renowned archaeological site in India, located in Mumbai Harbor, Maharashtra. The island’s rich cultural heritage and ancient history are manifested in its monumental caves, which can be traced back to the 5th century.

These caves reveal remarkable artistic and technical accomplishments of the Indian civilization during this era, particularly through their intricate carvings and sculptures. They also offer insight into the religious practices of ancient India, as many sculptures are dedicated to Lord Shiva, a pivotal deity in Hinduism.

As a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Elephanta Caves are globally recognized for their significant contributions to Indian archaeology. The island serves as an educational hub for children, providing them with a deeper understanding of India’s extensive history and the progression of its art and architecture over the centuries.

UNESCO World Heritage Sites in India

Situated in Mumbai Harbor, Elephanta Island, a captivating UNESCO World Heritage Site, provides a mesmerizing journey into ancient Indian artistry and culture that is sure to fascinate children. This island is widely acclaimed for its remarkable rock-carved cave temples, which are dedicated to the cult of Lord Shiva and offer an insightful glimpse into India’s rich cultural and historical past.

The elaborate designs and sculptures decorating these caves are believed to originate from the 5th century, significantly contributing to the site’s educational value for kids. Beyond India, Elephanta Island’s importance is globally acknowledged by UNESCO for its extraordinary contribution to the world’s heritage.

Indian Art History

Nestled in the Mumbai Harbor of India is Elephanta Island, or Gharapuri, a notable destination for children with a keen interest in Indian Art History. Renowned for its mid-5th to 6th-century rock-carved cave temples, the island offers a glimpse into the brilliance of ancient Indian craftsmen.

These UNESCO World Heritage sites house a wealth of ancient art and sculptures, with the crown jewel being the Great Cave, a homage to Lord Shiva. This cave showcases spectacular reliefs and sculptures that depict various narratives related to the deity, providing children an educational journey through ancient Indian mythology, religious dogmas, and artistic traditions.

Indian Tourism

Elephanta Island, nestled in Mumbai Harbor, Maharashtra, is a captivating location for children interested in Indian tourism. The island, renowned for its ancient rock-carved cave temples, also known as the Elephanta Caves, offers a glimpse into India’s rich cultural history and is recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Children will be astonished by the colossal sculptures of Hindu deities, particularly the striking three-headed statue of Lord Shiva. The diverse wildlife on the island, including monkeys and birds, adds an educational yet fun aspect to the visit. A one-hour boat ride from the Gateway of India provides easy access to the island, making it an excellent opportunity for children to gain knowledge about Indian history, art, and religion.

Hindu Temples in India

Popularly known as Gharapuri Island, Elephanta Island is an admired tourist attraction in India, renowned for its exquisite cave temples intricately carved from basalt rock. Reflecting the Hindu faith predominantly, these temples are sanctified to Lord Shiva, a key deity in Hinduism, with the most prominent temple showcasing a six-meter-tall statue of Sadashiva.

This statue illustrates the three facets of Shiva the Creator, the Protector, and the Destroyer. Dating back to the period between the 5th and 8th centuries AD, these ancient temples exemplify the rock-cut architecture technique, which was prevalent in ancient India. In 1987, UNESCO acknowledged these splendid temples’ historical and cultural value by designating them a World Heritage Site.

Indian Mythology

Elephanta Island, also known as ‘Gharapuri,’ nestled in Mumbai Harbor, serves as a captivating exploration site for children intrigued by Indian mythology. Home to the acclaimed Elephanta Caves, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the island offers a trove of intricate sculptures and carvings that narrate various mythological stories.

The most distinguished among these is the colossal three-faced Shiva statue, termed Maheshmurti, symbolizing the deity’s three facets – Creator, Protector, and Destroyer. Children’s exploration of these caves provides an unparalleled insight into India’s rich mythological history, as each carving represents a different mythological narrative.

Archaeological Sites in India

Elephanta Island, a fascinating archaeological site nestled in Mumbai Harbor, India, presents a wealth of historical and cultural insights, particularly appealing to kids with a keen interest in these fields. The island, renowned for its ancient cave temples originating from the 5th century, offers a captivating glimpse into India’s ancient civilization through its remarkable display of rock art and sculptures.

Among these, the large statue of the three-headed Shiva, known as Trimurti, stands out, symbolizing the deity’s three forms – creator, preserver, and destroyer. Recognized for its global significance, the Elephanta Caves were declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987. As such, Elephanta Island offers an enriching educational experience for young minds, providing them with an opportunity to explore India’s rich history and appreciate its invaluable historical treasures.

Gateway of India

Elephanta Island, a historical destination celebrated for its ancient caves and rock art, is a captivating attraction for children with a passion for history and archaeology. Conveniently situated just a brief ferry ride from Mumbai’s eminent Gateway of India, it allows kids to explore a testimony of the colonial era before delving deeper into history on the island.

The Elephanta Caves, recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, provide an insightful glimpse into India’s abundant cultural past through sculptures and carvings from the 5th century, essentially offering a living history lesson. Therefore, coupling a visit to the Gateway of India with an expedition to Elephanta Island presents a comprehensive and educational journey for children visiting Mumbai.

Ancient Hindu myths and stories are filled with images of horrible monsters, demons and fierce animals. The god Shiva has eight arms and is sometimes depicted as half man, half woman. Parvati, Shiva’s wife rides on a tiger. Dwarves, monkeys and other animals wait on Shiva. Wouldn’t you like to know more about these frightening, fascinating stories?

Fun Science Facts for Kids on Elephanta Island - Image of the Trees on Elephanta Island
Fun Science Facts for Kids on Elephanta Island – Image of the Trees on Elephanta Island

The island of Elephanta lies to the east of the city of Mumbai in the Indian state of Maharashtra. Elephanta Island is called Gharapuri, in Indian, which means “city of caves.” This island is a popular tourist destination because of the island’s cave temples, the Elephanta Caves, that have been carved out of rock. Here, many rooms and statues have been carved into the caves. The statues tell stories about Shiva and his followers.

All about Elephanta Island Easy Science for Kids - Image of the Elephanta Caves
All about Elephanta Island Easy Science for Kids – Image of the Elephanta Caves

Fun Facts About Elephanta Island for Kids

  • Researchers believe the cave rooms were built between 400 and 800 A.D.
  • The rooms are carved into solid basalt rock. Columns and pillars support the caves.
  • Hindus came here to worship.
  • A large statue of an elephant guarded the island. This elephant now sits in the Victoria Garden Zoo.
  • The Portuguese invaded and conquered this area in 1547. Portuguese soldiers damaged the caves and used the statues and reliefs for target practice.
  • The caves and reliefs were originally painted. Writing on the cave walls probably gave important clues about the caves. Portuguese soldiers removed the writing.
  • Because the writing was removed, we do not know who built the statues. Local people believe that the gods built the caves.
Geography Fun Facts for Kids on Elephanta Island - Image of Elephanta Caves
Geography Fun Facts for Kids on Elephanta Island – Another Image of Elephanta Caves

Elephanta Island Vocabulary

  1. Myth: old story
  2. Image: Picture
  3. Demon: devil
  4. Worship: give praise to a god; pray
  5. Relief: a carved, two-dimensional scene or mural

All About Elephanta Island Video for Kids

Check out this cool video about Elephanta Island for Kids:

Elephanta Island Q&A

Question: Do people visit the Elephanta Caves today?

Answer: Tourists like to visit the caves and Hindus still go there to worship and hold festivals.

Map of Elephanta Island

Here’s a map of Elephanta Island and all its cities and villages. Zoom in to get into street level or zoom out to see other countries around Elephanta Island! You can see the terrain, but also see the roads, images of the buildings and even take a 3D tour through the streets of the cities of Elephanta Island, as though you are actually there!


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