Monday, April 20, 2009

Elephanta Caves

Elephanta Caves
Elephanta Caves
About 11kms offshore of the Gateway of India is a small but beautiful island known as the Elephanta Island. The Elephanta Caves here are the home of Lord Shiva.
Carved in solid Basalt rock these caves are an artistic example of surpassing skill. Originally Built by the Rashtraputa kings in 6th century A.D. the caves prominently depict the rock cut architecture of that time .

Also known as the
'Gharapuri' meaning the 'Place of Caves' this island got its present name from a huge black stone figure of a huge Elephant.
When the Portuguese first landed here they found a statue of a Elephant which they moved to the shore. Today this statue stands in front of The City Zoo, Raniche baug(victoria garden).

The cave temple opens out on three sides. Light enters these caves from various sides causing the sculptures to glow adding to the beauty of the caves.

The 'Mahesha Murti' a three headed bust of Lord Shiva standing 6meters in height is the most famous of the sculptures.
The left side signifies Shiva as the destroyer, the right the preserver and the front as the meditative Shiva.

In the main cave there are nine carvings showing various moods and forms of
the nine sculptures show
1. The yogic
2. Lord Shiva as a dancer

Shiva and Parvati in a marriage ceremony
Parvarti on Mount Kailash
Shiva lifting Kailash
6. Descent of the
Shiva as Maheshmurti
Shiva slaying a demon
Shiva as Ardhnarinateshwar

The Caves is now one of the 16 sites in India marked as world monuments.

The island can be reached by motor launches. There are a lot of trips between 8a.m. to 2:30p.m.
It takes about an hour to reach to the island.

Launch fares:
Rs.85 for Adult(Deluxe launch with guide)
Rs.65 for Adult(ordinary launch)

Nearest station
: C.S.T.(Victoria Terminus) on central railway and Churchgate on Western Railway

Ferries and Launches are available from
Gateway of India.

Please note: Last launch from Elephanta island leaves at 5:30p.m.

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