Elephanta Caves Tour

Elephanta Caves Mumbai Tour

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Elephanta Caves, Mumbai, Maharashtra

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Elephanta Caves, Mumbai
The Elephanta Caves the major attraction of the Elephanta Island, is situated in the Mumbai harbour off the coast of Mumbai. The Elephanta Island lies at a distance of 10 Kms, from the Gatewayof India.

From the Elephanta Island there are stairs that lead to the cave. Several rock-cut temples date back to the 5th century C.E stand here. The island was named as Elehanta by the Portuguese, after the statue of an elephant near the island. Dedicated to Shiva Mahadeva these rock cut temples are rich in sculptural style. These magnificent caves constituted beautiful reliefs and sculptures. The caves are believed to dating back to the reignof Silhara Kings of the 9th to 13th centuries. Some of the images of these caves are dedicated to the imperial Rashtrakutas of Manyakheta.

The Trimurti of Elephanta showing faces of Lord Brahma, Vishnu and Maheswar. In the Elephanta caves, Shiva is portrayed in 8 different colossal forms, such as the non anthropomorphic Shivalingam form, as well as in his purest formbeing protruding from the Shivalingam. In the year 1987 the caves were listed as UNESCO World Heritage Site. But it is complained that the important cultural and historic site has been mistreated by visitors.
Temple Structure, Elephanta Caves, Mumbai
These rock cut temples were constructed by carving out massive rocks and creating the columns, the innerspaces and the figures. The entire temple looks like a huge sculpture with corridors and chambers.

One can walk in these corridors and chambers. The temple complex was formed through rock removal process. Some of the rock surfaces are delicately finished while some are bare rock.
Temple Complex, Elephanta Caves, Mumbai
The whole cave temple complex spreads over an area of 60,000 sq feet. The complex comprises a main chamber, two lateral ones, courtyards and many subsidiary shrines. The massof natural rock lies above the temple.

There are three gateways to the temple. The east and the west entrances marking the axis of the temple. The axis is lined by a 20 pillared hall and on its western end is the cella, which is enshrined a Shivalingam. The pillars made of fluted column stand on square shaped bases. The pillars are crowned with fluted cushion capitals.
Trimurthi Sadasiva Image, Elephanta Caves, Mumbai
The image of Sadasivais the manifestation of Shiva, which is carved at the end of the north south axis. This magnificent 20 feet tall image of the three headed Shiva, Trimurthy is considered as a masterpiece of Indian art. This image represents Panchamukha Shiva, but only three faces of Shiva are carved into the wall.
Other Images, Elephanta Caves, Mumbai
A part from the Trimurthi image the caves house other images, like massive images of Kalyanasundara, Gangadhara, Ardhanariswara and Uma Maheswara on the southern wall. To the west direction of the northern entrance are images of Nataraja and And hakaasuravadamoorthy. To the east of the northern entrance are images of Yogiswara and Ravanaanugrahamurthy.
Accommodation in Mumbai
As the caves are very close to Mumbai, so one has to stay at the hotels of the city. The hotels well-equipped with the modern facilities offer pleasant stay to guests.
Best Time to Visit Elephanta Caves, Mumbai
The caves can be visited any time in the year, but one should avoid the monsoon season, as the boat services may be suspended.
How to reach Elephanta Caves, Mumbai?
The caves can be only reached by boats, leaving from the Gateway of India. The 10 Kms journey takes less than an hour. The boat services may be suspended during the monsoon season. One can check the tickets and timings for the boats that is available at the Gateway of India.
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