Elephanta Cave Temple embraces the perfect expression of Indian art in the outline of striking sculptures and carvings. Located at Elephanta Island, the temple lies at a distance of 10 kms from the Gateway of India, at Mumbai in the sate of Maharashtra. The metropolis Mumbai is connected with all parts of India either by air, rail or road. In order to reach Elephanta Caves, one can take motorboats from Apollo Bunder in Mumbai. Cut out from the rocks, Elephanta Cave Temples are the major tourist attraction of Mumbai.
In the earlier times, Elephanta Island was known as Gharapuri and it was
the capital of Konkan Mauryas. The island 'Elephanta' was forenamed
after the statue of an elephant, sited near the landing area of the
island, by a Portuguese. The cave temples of Elephanta are dedicated to
Lord Shiva. Rich in sculptural content, the earliest temples trace their
origin in the 5th century B.C. Elephanta Caves represent Lord Shiva in
his 'lingam' as well as in his typical life form originating from the
Shivalingam in the colossal image and in 8 evident forms.
The main chamber embraces the mysterious image of Trimurthi Sadasiva
(Lord Shiva). This huge image is 20 feet tall, depicting Lord Shiva with
three heads and highlighting him as the creator, the preserver, and the
destroyer of the world. The gigantic idol represents Panchamukha Shiva,
where he is also portrayed as the savior and bestower of blessings.
Considered as the masterpiece of Indian art, this image is expected to
have been stood here in the same manner for conceivably a thousand
The huge temple complex sprawls in the area of 60,000 square feet on
Elephanta Island. It comprises one sanctum sanctorum, two lateral
chambers, courtyards and numerous additional shrines. The temple has
three doorways for entry and exit. The axis of the temple is marked by
doorways that lie on the east and the west. A hall with 20 pillars,
lines the axis and a 'Shivalingam' is placed in its western end.
Standing on square bases, the pillars comprise grooved columns and are
crowned with channeled soften carvings.
All these massive pillars are carved out of the rock and really inspire
awe of the onlooker. The whole temple is analogous to a gigantic
sculpture and to a matter of fact; one can walk through the corridors
and chambers of this sculpture. The walls of the entire temple are
carved with scenes, depicting the Indian mythology. The whole complex is
believed to have been created by a process of rock removal. A number of
the rock surfaces are finished to a great extent, still many are left
unprocessed bare rock.
On the southern wall, one can see beautifully sculptured images of
Kalyanasundara, Gangadhara, Ardhanariswara and Uma Maheswara. In the
western side of the northern entrance, there are images of Nataraja and
Andhakaasuravadamoorthy and in its east; images of Yogiswara and
Ravanaanugrahamurthy are visible. In the east of the main shrine, there
is a courtyard comprising an additional shrine. On its entrance, there
are six pillars, out of which, four are free standing and two are
occupied. It takes to a hall, which is ornamented with sculptured panels
portraying folklore from the Shiva Purana.
Cave Temples at Elephanta Island represent the perfect expression of Indian art. Get more on Elephanta Cave Temple in Mumbai, Maharashtra.
Elephanta Cave Temple
|Location:||Elephanta Island, Mumbai, Maharashtra|
|Built in:||5th century|
|Dedicated to:||Lord Shiva|
|Attraction:||Cave temples cut out of rocks|
|Significance:||Listed as World Heritage Site|
|How to reach:||One can easily reach Elephanta Cave Temple by taking Motorboats from Apollo Bunder near the Gateway of India in Mumbai|