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Elephanta Caves

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This World Heritage Site is sprawled over a whooping 6000sq feet area. The Temple majorly consists of the Chamber, couryards and subsidary shrines. The city of caves on an island in the Sea of Oman close to Mumbai, has a cave on a tiny island housing one of the most perfect example of rock - cut architecture. It can be easily reached by the 10km, boat ride from the Gateway of India.

Flash Back
It was in 1819, a party of British Army Officers sat on a tiger hunt in the forest of Western Deccan and spotted their prey on the far side of a carved facade of a cave. On going further inside, the officers discovered a series of carved caves, each more dramatic than the other. It was later found out that the cave complex was lived continuously from 200BC to 650 AD. It was also found that there are about 30 caves , some of them half finished.

Fast Facts

»Language
Marathi, English, Hindi
»Clothings Very light woolens in the winter and cottons in the summer.
»Best time - October to March
Famous Sites:
Shiv lingam
Anthropomorphic Shivlingam
The anthropmorphic form of Lord Shiva, the hindu diety, carved in the rock cut architecture is a sight not to be missed.
elephanta cave
Elephanta Cave 7th
It depicts Shiva as the dancer of Andhaka, as the dancer of Nafraja sustaining the cosmic cyle, as Umamaheshwara, and as Ravananugraha.

Elephanta Hall
The Caves

A dark cave on a small island, houses one of the most alluding example of rock - cut architecture known as Elephanta Caves. The cave is dedicated to Lord Shiva. The cave temple , situated about 75mts above the jetty level, follows the pattern of the Dumar Lena Cave in Ellora.

Here Shiva is portrayed, in the non anthropomorphic Shivlingam form. To the east of the main temple is the courtyard. It has six pillars at its entrance, four of which are free standing and two are fixed. The entrance leads to the hall decorated with sculptured panels depicting legends from ShivPurana (Epic of the Lord Shiva - Lord of Destruction).

In the foyer there is the carving of Shiva as Natrajan on the right and as Lakulisa on your left, a 7th century priest who did much to reabsorb Bhuddhists into Hinduism, seated on a Lotus, the symbol of enligtenment.

Giant Dawarpalas and their ganas guard these doorways. At the four corners of the main mandapa are the famous wall panels showing Shiva in many moods. In addition to that, across the width of the hall is a representation of , Kalyanasundaram, the marraige of Shiva and Parvati.

On th wall across from the entrance is the cave's centrepiee, the triple - headed figure of Shiva as Maheshwara or Lord of the Universe. Standing at a height of 5.45mts it depicts the three aspects of Shiva as creator, preserver and destroyer. The head on the left is beleived to be that of Shivas life giving shakti, Uma while that on the right shows him as Rudra - Bhairava, a fearful figure. The central face is the swarupa or true self of Shiva - calm and serene with his right hand raised in benediction.


In And Around

»Garba - Graha: It encloses the main lingam, representative of Shiva. The southern wall encases the Sadasiva, flanked by chapels surrounded by Ardhnareshwara (the adrogynous God), and the Gangadhara God.


Not to be Missed

Elephanta Festival
In the month of Feburary there is thi
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