ELEPHANTA CAVES

Elephanta Caves Mumbai
Elephanta Caves
About 10 nautical miles across the sea from the Gateway of India (Mumbai) lies Elephanta also known as Gharapuri. This green island is famous for the World’s wonder rock-cut cave temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. It is an ideal holiday place with plenty of pretty nooks and comers and pleasant picnic spots.

But it is much more than all that. The Elephanta Caves provide a fascinating study in the rock architecture and sculpture of India.

The elephant was originally known as Gharapuri meaning a rock town. It had a sacred influence on the original Indians who considered it to be the island of purification.

First we come across a large pavilion or hall originally supported and adorned by 26 pillars or columns each one averaging about 16 feet in height. Today some of these columns have fallen but the majority is still standing. In the hall there is a shrine with the Shivlinga installed in it.

The most remarkable feature of the Elephanta Caves is the mammoth representation in stone of the various heads of Shiva, depicting his several moods. This extraordinary three headed ‘Trimurti’ as it is known, is nearly 20 feet in height and each of the head is nearly six feet in length.

The front face shows Shiva as Brahma, the Lord of Creation, as its right is Shiva as Rudra, the god of destruction and at left is Shiva as Vishnu, the preserver. Other images include Shiva’s Tandav Dance, Shiv-Parvati marriage etc. The shrines at Elephanta Caves belong to the Pashupati faith. Maurya and Chalukyas patronized these shrines. The caves probably belong to the era between 8th and 10th centuries A.D.

Motor launches are available from the Gateway of India to go to Elephanta Island.

Nearest Railway Station : Churchgate

1 comments:

Elephanta is amazing place, and one of the best place to see the ancient rock cut architecture. One community of researcher do believe that these caves were carved by Shaiva, a sect of Hindu religion. But because of major destruction of ancient inscription, the true developer of these caves is a much debated topic amongst the archaeologist. But there is no doubt about the quality of these caves really a masterpiece of rock cut architecture. Thats why these caves were included in the list of World Heritage Sites.

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