Elephanta festival is a feast of dance and music, held in the Elephanta Islands every February. Read on to know more about this festival.

Elephanta Festival

Highlights/ Location: Elephanta Islands
Famous For: Dance and music
Time: February
Duration: 2 days
Timings : 7:00pm - 10.00pm

Elephanta Dance Festival Mumbai
Elephanta festival is organized by the Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC) to promote Mumbai tourism and culture. It is one of the most prominently celebrated festivals in Mumbai. This renowned festival is held on the Elephanta Island, adjacent to the Elephanta Cave, a World Heritage Site. The Island is located at a distance of ten kilometres from Mumbai Harbour and there are regular launch services from there to Elephanta Island. The initial name of the Elephanta caves was Gharapuri which means, 'peaceful living place of lord Shiva'. The name Elephanta Cave was given by Portuguese, after a carved elephant found on this island. The festival, which is a feast of dance and music, is conducted in the month of February every year transforming the entire island into a huge auditorium. Set in the backdrop of huge pillars and sculptured panels on the walls of the temple in the Island, the festival is dedicated to the varied classical music and dance forms of India. Read further to know more about Elephanta festival and its major attractions.

Feast Of Dance And Music
The Elephanta festival is conducted to promote tourism and culture in Mumbai. It intends to commemorate the heritage of dance, art and sculpture in India. The festival welcomes performers from the whole country to participate in it, showcasing their dancing prowess. The venue of the festival, the renowned Elephanta Island, is a favoured destination for this festival. The Island, which was once the capital of a powerful kingdom, was later named as Elephanta by Portuguese after they found a monolithic statue of an elephant there. The island is also famous for the displays of rock carving of Lord Shiva which is beautifully exhibited on the walls of rock temples.

Elephanta Festival
The highlight of the festival that started in 1989 is the illuminated Maheshmurti (Shiva idol) located in the main cave of the Elephanta Island. The idol is lit up at night, providing an amazing backdrop to the entire setting. Over the years, the festival has become a huge attraction for Mumbaites as well as for the domestic and foreign tourists. The temple also has huge pillars which intensify the whole festive ambiance. The cyclopean auditorium where the dances are performed is decorated with lights along with a decorated idol of lord Shiva. The festival, which starts with a warm welcome comprising of traditional tunes of the native fishermen folk, features performances of eminent artistes on an aesthetically erected stage. Wonderfully illuminated Maheshmurti cave, bright lights and delicious ethnic food make this festival a truly unforgettable experience.

The weeklong festival encompasses classical dances, plays, skits and instrumental and vocal recitals. Seats are arranged under open sky, making a perfect atmosphere for a cultural festival. Live music and folk dances occur in the evenings and the festival provides the perfect platform for musicians and dancers to display their talents. The festivities start with a folk dance from the local fishermen (Koli). You will also see India's leading artists enthral the audience on a marvellously decorated stage. At the Gateway of India, there is a Shehnai program during the festival.

How To Reach
Visitors can reach the Elephanta Island through a boat from the Gateway of India which is a one-and-a-half hour's journey. During the festival, special launch services are provided for the visitors.

Elephanta festival is indeed a feast for the art lovers. Hope this article familiarises you with this festival. So, head on to Elephanta Islands and be a part of this art festival!