Grasp the beauty of Elephanta Rock Caves in Mumbai
Located at Elephanta Islands in Mumbai, the Elephanta Caves are the pride owners of some of the finest rock – cut sculptures in India. A masterpiece of Chalukyan – Gupta art, the Elephanta Island is most revered for the spectacular 22-ft Panchamukha Shiva (Lord Of the Five Faces). The carvings of Elephanta Rock Caves in Mumbai combine the graceful forms of South Indian Hindu sculpture with the exactness and poise of Buddhist Gupta Arts.
The caves temples of Elephanta of 7th century A.D. lie opposite the harbour of Mumbai on an island in the bay of Mumbai. During 1987 the caves of Elephanta were listed by UNESCO as one of its World cultural heritage sites. They contain a row of works of art connected with the Shiva cult.
It was named originally Gharapuri, “city of the Ghara-priests”, which was renamed by the Portuguese in the 16th century after the stone elephant that they found in the harbour. Visitors can see the elephant in the Victoria gardens in Mumbai. The unique cave temples are the main attraction of the island. The powerful Trimurti (three-faced) Shiva sculpture of the temple forms an extraordinary example of Hindu art of sculptures. This three-sided, 10-foot-high sculpture of Trimurti characterize Shiva as the Creator, Preserver and Destroyer. On the entrance of one of the caves there is a portrait of Nataraj that is Shiva as a cosmic dancer. Further, there is a sculpture of Shiva in the form of an Ardhanarishvara, half man and half woman. In one of the cave entrances visitors can see on the stone slab Shiva and Parvati on the mountain Kailash with demon Ravana. This sculpture shows Ravana lifting the mountain. Ravana’s bended back shows an enormous exertion.
The ferry journey from the gateway of India in Mumbai to the island lasts about an hour. The tour with the guide on the island takes approximately half an hour.