One of the major attractions of
Maharashtra, the Elephanta Caves are situated near the metropolitan
city of Mumbai. The Elephanta island is located 10 km away from the
Gateway of India. There are various rock cut temples present in these
caves, which are as old as 5th century.
The Elephanta island was named by the Portuguese, after the statue of
an elephant near the landing area of the island.
Construction of The Caves
The rock cut temples in Elephanta caves are carved out of rock. There
are columns, internal spaces and images within these temples. The
entire temple is related to a large sculpture. In fact one can walk
through the corridors and chambers of this sculptured temple. Created
through a process of rock removal, the entire complex is an
interesting monument. Some of the rock surfaces here are finely
finished whereas some are unfinished bare rock.
The Elephanta rock caves are sprawled over a large area of about
60000 square feet. These temple caves consist of a main chamber,
courtyards and several subsidiary shrines. There is also a mass of
natural rock, above the temple.
There are three entrances to the temple. The eastern and the western
entrances mark the axis of the temple. There is a 20 pillared hall
that lines the axis, and on its western end is a cell in which a
¤ The Mystical Images
The magnificent image of Sadasiva, a manifestation of Shiva, is
carved in relief at the end of the north south axis. The stupendous 20
feet high image of the three headed Shiva, known as Trimurthy is a
magnificent one. It is regarded as a masterpiece of Indian art. This
huge image represents Panchamukha Shiva, whose only three faces are
carved into the wall. It attracts your attention just as you enter the
temple through the northern entrance.
Along with this image there are grand sculptured images of
Kalyanasundara, Gangadhara, Ardhanariswara and Uma Maheswara on the
southern wall. Other sculptured images of Nataraja and
andhakaasuravadamoorthy are to the west of the northern entrance and
the images of Yogiswara and Ravanaanugrahamurthy are to its east.
¤ Reach Elephanta Caves
The Elephanta Island can be reached only by boat. Ferry rides are
available from the Gateway of India and it takes just 15 minutes to
reach the Elephanta Island. It is one of the most adventurous ride as
the boat cruise up and down the wavy sea making it a life time