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Elephanta Caves

The Elephanta Caves

The Elephanta Caves is 'World Heritage Site' designated by UNESCO in 1987 to preserve the artwork. The caves are located on Elephanta Island in the Arabian located about 10 kms off the eastern coast of Mumbai. The exquisite architecture of these caves makes them a popular attraction for the tourists coming to Mumbai. That contains Shaivistic high relief’s in stone of Hindu deities important to worshipers of Shiva.

    The sculptures were created beginning in the late Gupta Empire.
  The caves are hewn from solid rock. The complex covers an area of 60,000 sq ft consisting of a main chamber, 2 lateral ones, courtyards and subsidiary shrines. The site of these magnificent caves contained beautiful reliefs, sculptures, and a temple to the Hindu God Shiva. The carved walls of the temple portray the scenes from the Indian mythology.

    There are seven caves in total and the significant amongst them is the Mahesha-Murti Cave. On its very entrance, you will be welcomed by huge figures of doorkeepers which would really impress you at the moment.  Some of the sculptures of this site are also attributed to the imperial Rashtrakutas of Manyakheta (in present day Karnataka). The excellent sculptural content which symbolizes Lord Shiva in his both forms ‘lingam’ and his life-sized statue. In the main chamber, you can see the mysterious image of Trimurthi Sadasiva that is about 20 feet tall. It represents the three-headed Lord Shiva, almost akin to the Trinity of Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh. 

    The right half-face shows him as a young person with sensuous lips, embodying life and its vitality. In his hand he holds something that resembles a rose bud—again with the promise of life and creativity. Other Rashtrakuta sculptures here are the reliefs of Nataraja and Sadashiva and the splendid sculptures of Ardhanarishvara.

Elephanta Festival

    Every year in February, this heritage site makes the venue for the much-awaited musical event called Elephanta Festival. To put succinctly, Elephanta Caves is a lovely place to get an insight of religious and cultural aspects of India.

How to reach Elephanta Caves

    One can easily reach Elephanta Caves by taking Motorboats from Apollo Bunder near the Gateway of India in Mumbai.