Private Tour: Kanheri Caves, Elephanta Caves or Karla and Bhaja Caves from Mumbai

Review StarReview StarReview StarReview StarReview Star 21 reviews
Private Tour: Kanheri Caves, Elephanta Caves or Karla and Bhaja Caves from Mumbai
from USD $107.25
Availablity  
Journey back in time on this private tour from Mumbai to ancient Indian rock-cut caves. You have three cave options to choose from: the Kanheri Caves, the Elephanta Caves or both the Karla Caves and Bhaja Caves. With your knowledgeable private guide, explore one of these cave complexes to discover the early phases of Buddhist architecture, known as the Hinayana phase, and marvel at the incredibly detailed representations of Buddha carved into the rock walls. Your tour includes private air-conditioned transport, a traditional Indian lunch (depending on tour option selected) and entrance fees.
** During the monsoon season between June 15 and September 15, 2014, tours of the Elephanta Caves will be subject to weather conditions permitting. Tour will not operate under rainy conditions or during high tide.
BOOK WITH CONFIDENCE: As members of ABTA and ATAS we are 100% financially bonded. You can book your day trip with us in absolute confidence, no matter where in the world you are.

In Brief

Location:
Mumbai, India
Country:
India
Duration:
7 hours
Operates:
Daily (except Mondays for Elephanta Caves option)
Highlights:
All entrance fees included
All taxes, fuel surcharges and service fees included
All-inclusive tour
Free hotel pickup and drop-off included
Informative, friendly and professional guide
Led by a local guide
Lunch included
Private guide for a more personalized experience
Step back in time on a history tour
Overview
Important InfoInfo
Pricing
Reviews
In the morning, you will be picked up from your Mumbai hotel by your private guide and taken to the caves of your choice. Along the way, enjoy scenic views of the Indian countryside, including sprawling valleys and quaint villages. In between sightseeing, enjoy a traditional Indian lunch at a popular local restaurant (depending on tour option selected), and at the end of your tour, relax on the private drive back to your hotel.

Kanheri Caves (lunch not included):Duration: 5 hours

After a 1-hour drive, reach the Kanheri Caves, located deep within the green forests of Sanjay Ghandi National Park, one of Asia’s major national parks. Dating back from the 1st century BC to the 10th century, these cave systems offer a window into the lifestyle of an ancient Buddhist settlement. As you explore the caves, your guide will point out which areas were meant for living, studying and meditation, and which areas were designed as worship halls. Marvel at the system of canals and cisterns and learn how they provided water to the caves’ inhabitants.

Elephanta Caves (lunch included):Duration: 6 hours

In the morning, you’ll head to the Gateway of India in Mumbai to board a ferry to Elephanta Island. This 1-hour cruise will afford you picturesque seaside views. With your guide, explore all seven caves on the island, some of which are so small and hidden that they’re often easily missed. Enter the main cave, an impressive sprawling structure with high ceilings and towering support beams, columns and pillars. On each wall, admire the complex and astoundingly detailed reliefs and carvings depicting narratives of the goddess Shiva.

Karla Caves and Bhaja Caves (lunch included): Duration: 7 hours

After a 1.5-hour drive, reach the Bhaja Caves, a group of 22 rock-cut caves dating all the way back to 200 BC! Discover several excavations including ancient viharas (Buddhist monasteries) and chaitya-grihas (Buddhist assemblies or prayer halls), considered to depict the earliest architecture of their kind. Admire the highly decorated facade, which presents a true replica of a 2nd-century wooden structure, and the series of unique reliefs depicting Indian mythology, including stories of the sun god Surya.

At the Karla Caves, walk up the 500 steps of gradual incline to reach the entrance, where you’ll stand in awe of the Ekvira Mata Mandir, a temple dedicated to Hindu goddess Ekvira. Marvel at the vastness of its shrines and prayer halls, with their notable arched entrances and vaulted interiors featuring carved animals and images of Buddhist goddesses.

Inclusions

  • Local English-speaking guide
  • Hotel pickup and drop-off
  • Transport by air-conditioned vehicle
  • Lunch (Elephanta Caves and Karla and Bhaja Caves tours only)

Exclusions

  • Gratuities

Departure Time

9:00 AM

Departure Point

Departs from your Mumbai hotel

Returns To

Returns to original departure point

Additional Information

  • Confirmation will be received at time of booking
  • Please advise any specific dietary requirements at time of booking
  • Due to uneven surfaces, this tour is not recommended for those with walking disabilities or using a wheelchair; comfortable walking shoes are recommended
  • During the monsoon period from June 15th to September 15th, the tour of the Elephanta Caves will be subject to favorable weather conditions; if it is raining in Mumbai on the day of the tour or the tide is high, the trip to the Elephanta Caves will be cancelled and you will be given the option of an alternative date or full refund
  • This is a private tour/activity. Only your group will participate

Booking Information

You can present either a paper or an electronic voucher for this activity.

Cancellation Terms

This trip is fully refundable up to 96 hours prior to the commencement of your trip.

Booking Terms and Conditions

When you book this trip, you need to read and accept the terms and conditions for booking our day trips in excursions.

Hotel Pickup

When you book, we will ask you to select a hotel to be picked up from. Once your booking is confirmed, we'll send you a confirmation voucher with full contact information (phone number, email address) for our local operator in case you need to update or change your hotel pick-up details.

Here are answers to some commonly asked questions about hotel pickup:

What if my hotel is not listed?
That's okay. When you book you can select an hotel from our list and make your way there on the day of departure; or you can contact our local operator directly to make alternate pick-up arrangements.

What if I have not yet booked a hotel?
Once your hotel arrangements are finalised, you can contact our local operator directly with your hotel details.

What if I live locally, am staying with friends or relatives, and/or don't require pick-up?
Once your booking is confirmed, we'll send you complete details and directions to the tour/activity departure point.

Scoring an average traveller rating of 4.43 out of 5 based on the last 21 recent reviews

The guide was very knowledgeable, not just about the caves but other aspects of Indian history, and he made it all come alive with what was almost a stage performance! He was also quite solicitous of our welfare, as it was VERY hot. He made sure we had plenty of sitting and resting in the shade. The trip through the National Park was also very interesting.
• Submitted 12 Jun 2018
Nitin was an amazing tour guide!!! He was extremely knowledgeable and we learned so much because of him. He also took extra time to point out good photography spots and poses and even took several of our photographs. This extra touch made it even more fun and meaningful. We were extremely happy with his service. The caves themselves were a sight to see. We were really glad we went and had a chance to view these detailed carvings from so many years ago. Sargum and Jeff
• Submitted 30 Nov 2017
You must go- it is awesome and not given the attention it deserves. Its an easy day trip from Mumbai and not to be missed. Our guide was a lovely, intelligent and informative young woman.
• Submitted 29 Nov 2017
I thoroughly enjoyed the trip and my guide made all the difference.
• Submitted 07 Aug 2017
A great time and verry interesting
• Submitted 30 May 2017
Our trip to Kanheri Caves was a definite trip highlight. Our guide provided a wonderful level of knowledge which brought the history of the caves to the fore and added considerably to our experience. Some wonderful examples of carvings on display all set on in a beautiful national park. We spotted deer and monkeys in the park and the views from the top of the granite outcrops back over Mumbai are fabulous.
• Submitted 18 Apr 2017
The driver was talkative and great! The guide was knowledgeable about the area, the history, and even current politics. It was an enjoyable tour that left nothing wanting, except maybe a friend. If I went to Mumbai again I would do this trip a second time, but I would definitely go with a friend.
• Submitted 03 Dec 2015
The tour guide is very knowledgeable about the place. He also recommended other places of interest in Mumbai. Transport is provided and he makes the trip a very pleasant one .
• Submitted 21 Aug 2014
Kanheri Caves - Amazing!!! 109 caves - carvings all done by hand in BC times. My tour guide Tom B was very informative. He told me the meaning of several of the carvings and what certain caves would be used for. Very easy walk, not strenuous at all.
• Submitted 28 Apr 2014
UNESCO World Heritage Site--these caves with their beautiful wall-relief carvings are beautiful and unique. Guide was very knowledgeable and that is crucial. Tour company was somewhat lackluster in their organization skills but that was more than made up by the guides who are eager to please. I recommend this tour.
• Submitted 21 Apr 2014
The Kanheri Caves was one of the best things I saw on my trip! I had a very informative guide who showed me a lot of the 2nd century carvings. I think this is a way better experience than Elephanta Caves! Excellent way to end of my last day in Mumbai and India!
• Submitted 22 Jan 2013
We did the Elephanta Caves tour. The caves are impressive and well worth the trip.
• Submitted 26 Mar 2018
Good trip and good info.
• Submitted 11 Jul 2017
We had the elephants caves tour with supersonic tours and with Nitin as a local guide. The tour was a bit strange as we had 3 different guides and there were loads of down times. We have been picked up at the hotel and dropped off by the gate off India where we were handed over to Nitin. The 1 hour boat ride was a bit awkward as we didn't have much communication at all while we saw other guides sharing information. But when we arrived Nitin switched on and we had the most amazing tour all around. You really can tell that he is local and passionate about this place. Nice touch for my wife was that Nitin made copious amount of pictures from us and the carvings. After the tour we had a drink and been dropped off by ourselves on the next boat. So once again a pretty boring 1 hour followed. We have been picked up by a young gentleman forgot his name but had the most amazing moustache who took us to a local restaurant and left us there. It was a bit awkward yet again as we didn't get the foggiest what are we eating and the serving staff wasn't very helpful either o lucky that we don't have any food allergies what could cause problems downside was also that the food was spectacular but as we didn't know what are we eating we couldn't re order it again somewhere else the driver picked us up 40 min later and dropped us by the hotel. To be honest if Nitin wouldn't have been so fantastic on the tour I would've score a much lower rating but I cannot take away that we know now everything what worth to know about the caves and have some beautiful pictures to look back at
• Submitted 08 Feb 2017
We had a truly delightful and educational tour of the Bhaja Caves. Our guide was very professional and informative. We enjoyed his sense of humor making the tour comfortable and pleasant. We highly recommend this tour. Our driver was helpful and thoughtful. He was an excellent addition to our tour. A must go see!
• Submitted 10 Nov 2015
We did the Karla and Bhaja Caves between Mumbai and Pune, amazing! Drive out there definitely takes a while but we had such a good driver (not crazy like most there) and a very knowledgeable guide with great communication skills. The history is amazing, the walk up and down to each one is half the battle for sure. Very enjoyable experience for the day!
• Submitted 03 Dec 2014
This was a great day out for me - just what I wanted. There was only me, so it was essentially a private tour, but they can accommodate more people if needed. It was monsoon time, so it was raining for much of the day (I knew that before I went so it wasn't a surprise). My guide and driver were really great - very accommodating, enthusiastic, informative, patient and helpful. The journey there and back took much longer than expected 3 hours each way due to the rains and sheer volume of traffic on the roads, but, I really wanted a trip that would take me out of the city and into the countryside a little, which is what this did. The two sets of cave dwellings are relatively compact, no longer than 20 minutes needed at each to see them, but, they were both different and crowds of locals were excitedly enjoying festivals in the pouring rain which added to the spectacle (and the traffic chaos!) on the day of my visit. A big thanks to Viator for organising a perfect day out for me.
• Submitted 20 Aug 2014
Great organization. Wonderful driver(hotel was an hour away). Experienced guide.
• Submitted 18 Mar 2014
Our Mumbai tour was extraordinary. It was educational and beautifully scenic. Our tour guide was very informative and helpful. The tour was the highlight of our trip.
• Submitted 26 Apr 2013
When to the Elephanta Caves. The guide was good, with an interesting boat trip, but a long way for not that much. The guide seemed a bit rushed and I'd have liked time to explore by myself.
• Submitted 22 Jan 2013
Not recommended this one and make sure you have the tour guide name and number. We were supposed to be picked up by the driver for after tour lunch but he was no show. Txt the tour ppl but no response so we gave up waiting. They txt back later but too late. Not heard from them since.
• Submitted 14 Jan 2017

In Brief

Location:
Mumbai, India
Country:
India
Duration:
7 hours
Operates:
Daily (except Mondays for Elephanta Caves option)
Highlights:
All entrance fees included
All taxes, fuel surcharges and service fees included
All-inclusive tour
Free hotel pickup and drop-off included
Informative, friendly and professional guide
Led by a local guide
Lunch included
Private guide for a more personalized experience
Step back in time on a history tour