Elephanta Caves

From: India Travel Guide Mumbai, Goa and The West Coast

See also: Gateway Of India

Elephanta Caves, India
The Elephanta Caves are a UNESCO World Heritage Site and contain a collection of caves which are dedicated to the god Shiva.

The vast complex of caves dates back to between the 5th and 8th century and have been magnificently hewn out of rock and feature intricate stone carvings, sculptures, courtyards, pillars and for the shrines that are dedicated to the Lord Shiva.

The five Hindu and 2 Buddhist caves were cut out of Basalt rock and would have originally been painted throughout, although little remains of this now. The largest cave is known as the Shiva Cave and contains several chambers which each offer there own unique selection of carvings. One such carving of interest is the popular Trimurti which depicts a three headed Shiva and stands at just over 6 meters in height.

One of the caves known as the great cave was damaged by the Portuguese in 1534 when they claimed the island, the cave in question has undergone restoration and the site is maintained by the Archaeological Survey of India.

There is plenty to see on the Island and the views from the caves across the surrounding area is incredibly picturesque, there are also plenty of wild monkeys that live on the island and as long as you keep your distance they are usually no bother, just be careful if you bring a picnic!

Location Guide
The caves are located on Elephanta Island, which is within Mumbai Harbour, Mumbai in India.