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Elephanta festival is held across the Mumbai harbour, on the Elephanta Island, near the world-renowned Elephanta Caves (A World Heritage Site). This feast of music and dance, celebrated under the stars, transforms the entire island into a large auditorium.

Elephanta, a small island 10kms away from the Mumbai harbour, is a favoured destination for culture lovers during the festival held in February. The Elephanta Island is known for its great cave shrine, excavated in the 6th century. Elephanta caves, earlier known as Gharapuri, are the tranquil abode of Lord Shiva. This land was renamed, Elephanta by the Portuguese, after the majestic carved elephant on this island.

The temple here has large pillars and nine marvelous sculptured panels, set on the wall, which are awe-inspiring. The sculptures display the changing moods of Lord Shiva, with the magical interplay of light and shade intensifying the overall effect.

The festival of Music and Dance is organised by the Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC). The main highlights of the festival are 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.

 

 

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