Elephanta Caves near Mumbai
is one of the ancient monuments near Mumbai. It is considered as one of the complex Hindu caves on Gharapuri, But in the 6th century AD the Elephanta Island was named by the Portuguese, after the statue of an elephant near the landing area of the island. in the sixth century AD. This statue of elephant was moved to the Bhau Daji Ladd museum near the Jijamata Udyan in Bycullah, where it is still seen.
Various interesting rock cut temples as old as 5th century are worth seeing in these caves. Beautiful images depicting Shiva are worth seeing in the cave.
The most attractive Mystical Images:
There are three entrances to the main temple in the complex- from the north, east and west. The main gallery is divided by columns into equal rows and aisles. To the west, and outside this area, is a square sanctuary containing a monolithic Linga.
A manifestation of Shiva, the magnificent image of Sadasiva, is carved in relief at the end of the north south axis. The huge 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.
There are also 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.
The six metre high Trimurti, showing Siva in the three roles of creator, preserver and destroyer. This sculpture is supposed to be one of the centerpieces of the Indian sculptural tradition. Other panels include representations of Siva as Ardhanarisvara (part female), Kalyana-sundara and Nataraja.This piece was moved to the Bhau Daji Ladd museum near the Jijamata Udyan in Bycullah, where it can still be seen.
Note: We must be a little alert because too many monkeys are residing there and hang around the public. They don't harm anybody.
How to Reach Elephanta Caves
Mumbai is the city easily accessible from all parts of India by a good network of air, rail and roads.
By Air: The nearest airport is Mumbai International Airport.
By Rail: Nearest Railway Stations are Churchgate and Chatrapati Shivaji Terminus.
By Road - Can reach Mumbai by road from the neighboring states as regular bus services are available.
Frequent ferry service is available from Appollo Bunder near the Gateway of India to reach the cave temples.
Elephanta Cave attracts a huge number of tourists and local visitors also day in and out as its location is a great advantage , situated near the metropolitan city of Mumbai. Elephanta Island is just 10 km away from the Gateway of India.