This rock-art linked to cult of Shiva is one of the finest creation of a mankind. Located in Western India over a small Island is known as Elephanta Island, flaunting numerous Ancient Archaeological remains from 2nd Century B.C.
Constructed in mid 5th – 6th century AD, these Caves are the epitome of Architectural Splendor. Important developments such as Pillar components, provision of Sanctum or Garbhagriha, division of caves in to different parts including the layout of the caves mark this place exceptional in terms of architecture. Situated at 10 km radius from Mumbai, this is one of the oldest rock structures with a unique testimony to a bygone Civilization. Initially known as Gharapuri, Portuguese changed the place to ‘Elephanta’ as they found a large stone structure of an Elephant on island. A Temple was also built to primarily worship ‘Lord Shiva’.
Each and every Archaeological component here is preserved in their Natural settings. Since its inscription as a ‘World Heritage ‘, the Authenticity of this property has been maintained highly. Although several pathways are enacted to enhance the Visitor’s experience and steps are initiated to conserve the site. The management of these Caves is maintained by Archaeological Department of India.
With its picturesque Environ, you will realize that the massive hall here is supported by the large pillars. A large ‘Mahesamurti’ three-headed structure of Lord Shiva greets you on the entrance. Other graceful forms such as ‘Ardhanarishvara’ and ‘Shiva Nataraja’ are also present within these caves. Various aspects of Shiva as Preserver, Creator and Destroyer have been proficiently identified in these marvelous sculptures. Capture some beautiful clicks upon the beautiful Elephant-Structured Rock with the mesmerizing Arabian Sea at its background. Walk up to the Cannon Hill and spend your evening exploring the island. You also opt to lazing around the beach.
You can also relish some local spread at MTDC (Maharashtra Tourism Department Hotel) run resorts to quench your hunger. Even outside caves and at Cannon Hills, many local vendors offer refreshments and beverages at reasonable cost. However, overnight stay is not available here and even the MTDC Hotel has a stringent check-out time latest by 5:00 PM. A Ferry/Boat is available at Gateway of India. It will take one hour to reach these caves via these Boats.
For Shopping Enthusiast, a Local Flea Market is available to pick up stuffs like Sculptures made of Marble, Clothes, Jewelry, some Amazing items crafted out of wood, paintings of Lord Shiva etc. It is a best place to shop some Indian Artifacts.
These caves are definitely and aesthetic combination of sculptural art and astonishing beauty. Fine utilization of Hindu spiritualistic beliefs has been inculcated in the overall planning of these Magnificent Caves. Indian Art here is found in its perfect expressions!
Address: Gharapuri, Mumbai (Map)
Contact No.: 022 2204 4040
Timings: 9:00 AM – 5:30 PM