June 26, 2013

Elephanta- The Island Cave...!!



A half an hour boat ride from Mumbai takes you to the very famous Elephanta caves. Situated on an island hill, the rock cut caves date back to between 5AD and 8AD. Elephanta island is made up of two hills most of which are covered with scattered forest patches and rock cut caves. The island has in total 7 caves of which 5 are Hindu caves and 2 are Buddhist caves. Except for the main cave, the remaining six are either partly completed or dilapidated and does not offer much to the visitors. The island was earlier known as Gharapuri which got a change in its name to Elephanta after the Portuguese invasion during which they found a large stone cut statue of an elephant on the island. The island is presently taken care by the Archaeological survey of India and is also a UNESCO world heritage site. The first eye catcher as I alighted at the jetty was the toy train filled with passengers. Visitors can either take a train ride or walk languorously to the foot of the hills. From there it is a climb up past the artifact vendors, restaurants and tourists to the caves.

Well paved path ways leading to the caves greet you and the first one that you see is the main cave. This cave which is also known as Cave no.1 and Shiva cave has a huge hall with numerous carved pillars. The walls have sculptures related to the legend of Shiva and various forms of the lord. There is also a sanctum with a Shivaling inside it and huge carvings of doorkeepers on the walls. The cave has two open areas in the form of courtyards on both sides and also a water cistern in one corner. This is also the largest of all the caves.

Cave 1
Inside cave 1
Andhakasura Vadhamurthi
Kalyan Sundramurthi
Ardhanareeshwara
Gangadhara


Shivling inside inner sanctum
The main attraction of the cave is the Trimurti. The sculpture which is a three headed Shiva garners the biggest attention from visitors and photographers. The 20 feet tall creation depicts Shiva as the Creator, the Protector and the Destructor. This carving is also known as Maheshmurti and is flanked by other carvings on the wall.

Maheshmurti
After gaping at the wonderful sculptures for quite some time I came out and headed towards the other caves.  The remaining caves look incomplete and does not have much to explore. Some of them have a Shivling inside a small sanctum while others are just hollow rooms with one cave having a few pillars. The other hill has 2 Buddhist caves with restricted access. There is also a canon on the hill which attracts visitors. 

Cave 2
Cave 3
Inside Cave 3
Cave 4
Cave 5
If you are a first time visitor or an archaeological lover this island cave will captivate and leave you spellbound for long. The caves might not seem very big but the sculptures, the pillars and the slabs will take you back to the long chiseling years spend in the creation of this cave wonder.

Signing Note- A beautiful island with captivating caves and brilliant sculptures...!!

Location- Off Mumbai coast.

60 comments:

  1. mesmerizing.. captures yet again ... and detailed information!!

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  2. This time when I was in Mumbai I was not able to visit this place,but next for sure I will visit...Nice Capture

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  3. I have been there so many times. The B&W treatment makes the pics look really different.

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  4. Very beautiful article on Elephanta caves!

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  5. Beautiful coverage of the place.

    Check out My Indian Travel

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  6. Nice... Liked it... Love to visit this place, sometime in near future...

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  7. These kind of engineering wonders make me thought of how great brains we were having such a long time back. we should not be so proud of using computers and its related technology...because its "Brahmas" (creaters) are western giants.we are just users..that's all! kudos for sharing the great captures..!

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  8. such lovely shots!!! the scupltures look much more mysterious in B&W...

    and coincidently my latest post is on a UNESCO World heritage site too :)

    http://www.myunfinishedlife.com

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  9. beautiful photos... if photos are colorful is more beautiful... nice write-up

    thanks niranjan

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    Replies
    1. Thank you. Though of giving it a monochrome look. :)

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  10. truly an ode to lord Shiva, Elephanta caves is an examples of supreme sculptural art work. The magnificent Trimurti where Shiva is personified as Creator, Protector and Destroyer is fascinating. I loved the photographs and the way you have tried to capture every sculptor with pure finesse.

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  11. ah, toh ye hai elephanta...i hav written about it but never saw the pics.... thanks

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    Replies
    1. You must visit the place. Absolutely wonderful sculptures.

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  12. Hey, you went there finally! Good...
    Btw, the photographs look great. Good idea that you made them B&W. Brings out the contrast in the sculptures very well! :)
    Indian Fashion n Travel Blogger! - Bhusha's INDIA TRAVELOGUE

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  13. beautiful captures... always wanted to visit them... and finally i did!!

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  14. very attractive and historic
    nyc capture
    http://hindustanisakhisaheli.blogspot.com/
    http://eyeswantstosee.blogspot.com/

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  15. Wow, great architecture! well written article with amazing caves.

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  16. Beautiful Pictures Niranjan..I have visited Mumbai but not yet got opportunity to visit the caves..your description are very good.

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  17. Amazing place!! Beautiful photographs!!

    I visited this place 27 years ago!! I was still a small kid then. All I remember now is the boat ride and some carvings.

    I haven't visited Mumbai since then. I need to make a visit to this nice place.

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  18. Lovely images and write up. Sure is a wonderful place to visit.

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  19. Been there awesom place but you picks looks more awesom... It was all dark when i went....Enjoyed your writing and Picks...

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    Replies
    1. Thank you. Do visit again during day light.

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  20. fantastic cave photographs!!!
    a small request, it'll be nice to limit one post with 6-8 photos, otherwise it takes little more time to slow internet connection users...
    happy clicking!

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    Replies
    1. Thank you. I try my best to reduce the number of photographs. But sometimes I cannot help it.

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  21. hey its really feels good when i have seen your photographs of this place which is looking nice which encourages me to visit this place and do photography as its my passion.

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  22. Amazing post. Monochrome effect is great...

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