In February Elephanta, a small island near Mumbai, is a favored destination for culture lovers. It is the site of the Elephanta Festival, the tranquil abode of Lord Shiva, just one-and-a-half-hour's journey by motor launch from Mumbai. Once known as Puri or Gharapuri, the island was the proud capital of a powerful coastal kingdom. It was named Elephanta by the Portuguese, who took possession of it several centuries later, and found a monolithic stone elephant at the place they first landed.
A boat ride from the Gateway of India in Mumbai to the Elephanta Islands is also included as a part of the festival. Elephanta is just one-and-a-half hours drive away from Mumbai. The island was once known as Puri or Gharapuri. Portuguese found a monolithic stone elephant at this place so as named derived 'Elephanta'.
The Elephanta caves are a showcase of legends created around Lord Shiva, beautifully presented here in all his splendor in the rock cave temples. Every year, renowned dancers and musicians perform outside the caves, beneath a star-studded sky, to a select and appreciative audience. Special launch services and catering arrangements are provided for visitors.
The festival of Music and Dance is organised by the Maharashtra Tourism
Development Corporation (MTDC). The main highlights of the festival is the illuminated Maheshmurti (Shiva-idol), in the main cave of the island. Folk dances by the local fisher folk, ethnic local food varieties add to the ambiance. Over the years, the festival has become a major tourist attraction for Mumbaites and for incoming domestic and foreign tourists.