Feeling awestruck at The Elephanta Caves
Elephanta is situated close to the Gateway of India in South Mumbai and it takes only a ferry ride (less than an hour ride) to get to this island that houses marvelous cave temples built between the 5th to 8th century. The island got it’s name from the Portuguuese who found a massive rock cut elephant statue at the entrance of the island. The stone elephant is now placed in the Victoria gardens in Mumbai. There are three rock cut cave temples on the island, the largest being the Shiva temple. It has a large statue of Mehsamurthi, or Lord Shiva with three heads and around the cave you can spot many other statues of Shiva and his incarnations. Similar one day picnic spots near Mumbai: Ajanta and Ellora cave temples.
Elephanta caves are a network of sculpted caves located on Elephanta Island, or Gharapuri (literally "the city of caves") in Mumbai Harbour, 10 kilometres (6.2 mi) to the east of the city of Mumbai in the Indian state of Maharashtra. The island, located on an arm of the Arabian Sea, consists of two groups of caves—the first is a large group of five Hindu caves, the second, a smaller group of two Buddhist caves. The Hindu caves contain rock cut stone sculptures, representing the Shaiva Hindu sect, dedicated to the Lord Shiva.
The rock cut architecture of the caves has been dated to between the 5th and 8th centuries, although the identity of the original builders is still a subject of debate. The caves are hewn from solid basalt rock. All the caves were also originally painted in the past, but now only traces remain.
The main cave (Cave 1, or the Great Cave) was a Hindu place of worship until Portuguese rule began in 1534, after which the caves suffered severe damage. This cave was renovated in the 1970s after years of neglect, and was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987 to preserve the artwork. It is currently maintained by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI).
Distance from Mumbai:
25 kms Travel time: 50 minutes to 1 hour
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