Are located in Gharapuri (town of Caves) of Mumbai Port, about 11 km from Mumbai. Elephanta caves are a combination of 7 caves, five of which are Hindus and two Buddhist caves. These caves were constructed by Silhara Raja. These caves are located on an island.
Elephanta’s caves are famous for the many grand statues of mythological deities. The statue of Trimurti Shiva is most popular in these idols. Elephanta’s caves are a major tourist attraction located near the metropolis of Mumbai. This island is settled in a part of the Arabian Sea, where there are two groups of caves. Statues of stone are also made in the Hindu Cave and those who paint the Hindu Lord Shiva.
The most important of these caves is Mahesh Murthy’s cave. These caves are famous due to artistic caves. It is said about the existence of these caves that these caves are between fifth and eighth century but still, the information about the existence of these caves is being gathered.
The statue of Lord Shiva is also on the mountains of Elephanta’s caves. There is a large hall in the temple, in which the nine idols of Lord Shiva present themselves in different currencies. In this cave, in the caves of art, Ardhanarishwar, Kalyan Sundar Shiva, Ravana carrying Kailash Mountain, the notable statues of the dark and Nataraja Shiva have been shown.
In Elephanta, the sculpture of Lord Shankar’s many Leela forms is equivalent to the sculpture of Ellora and Ajanta. Statues have been made by cutting rocks in Elephanta’s cave. There is a very strong rock outside this cave. Apart from this, there is a temple in which the cave remains. You can admire the beauty of the island by sitting on the banks of Elephanta Lake.
There are 26 pillars in the main cave, in which Shiva has been engraved in many forms. These statues cut off the hills are inspired by the South Indian sculpture. Apart from this, it is also said that, after the conquest of the Chalukya dynasty, Rajkumar had constructed a huge temple of Lord Shiva here. But later when the Portuguese came here and they made the idols of elephants separated from the old caves, then the cave was changed from Gharapuri cave to Elephanta. In 1987, Elephanta Caves were declared World Heritage by UNESCO.
History of Elephanta Caves
These statues made in the cave were made in about 5th to 8th century, but there are different views of the people on this. This island, which has been under the rule of the Mauryan dynasty, Chalukya, Silharas, Yadav dynasty, Muslim rulers of Ahmedabad, Portuguese, Maratha and finally British rule, shows the history of this island.
People of Elephanta believe that during the Mahabharata, Pandavas built this cave to reside. The Portuguese had large statues of elephants in these caves, after which they named the place “Elephanta”.
According to one legend, Lord Shiva’s demon worshiper Baanasur has lived in these caves. According to local traditions and experts, these caves are not man-made. The statue of Lord Shiva is also on the mountains of Elephanta’s caves.
There were some coins of the 4th century in the Archaeological Survey. The Chalukyas who defeated Kalchuris and Konkan Maurya also believe that it was built in the middle of the 7th century. The last contender to construct the main cave was Rashtrakut, which was at the beginning of the 7th century and at the end of the 8th century.
Later on the Elephanta, the ruler of the Chalukya empire and later the Sultanate of Gujarat ruled, who surrendered to Portugal in 1534. From then on, Elephanta became known as Gharapuri. There is a great loss of these caves after Portugal. Portuguese soldiers chose Shiva’s resting place as a target. He also removed the Davo related to the construction of the cave. While some historians described Portugal as the destroyer of the caves only.
It was repaired in 1970, and in 1987, the UNESCO World Heritage site also designed it. It is currently being monitored by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI).
How to Reach Elephanta Caves
Mumbai is well connected to other parts of the country. Located 7 miles (approximately 11.2 km) north-east of Mumbai, in the northeast. From the Gateway of India Terminal, Colaba, this island can be reached by boat. Renting is very cheap and this service is available to the person twice every one hour. The tourists arrive here in an hour’s intervals through the yacht.