Next day I make a plan to visit Elephanta caves with some office colleague. After reaching at the Gateway of India, we saw a number of ferries to the left, which were taking passengers to the Elephanta caves. Though we didn’t decide to visit that destination in advance, to waste such an opportunity was sheer foolishness. So we bought the ticket of ₹120 to board the ferry. We had to pay an extra ₹10 to sit on the upper deck, but the beautiful panoramic view was worth it.
Over half way, we could see an island around 10-11 kms from the shore. The forest covered island was Elephanta, as we were told. Soon, the boat left us at a jetty, and we walked further to reach the cave temple. A small toy train was transporting people to the base of the hill. We hopped into it. It dropped us to the base of a hill, and we then climbed the steps (120, what I counted) to reach the caves. For people who could not climb, paid palanquin service (dolly) was available.
Some Interesting facts of The Elephanta Caves
We were amazed to see the cave temple that dated back to the fifth century CE. The name “Elephanta Island” was given by Portuguese, after an elephant statue near the landing site of the island.
The Elephanta Caves are a unit of caves settled on the Elephanta Island within the Arabian Sea close to the urban center. The sculptures were created starting from the late Gupta Empire. Elephanta Island was selected as United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization World Heritage site in 1987.
We explored the beautiful rock cut temples that were dedicated to lord Shiva. The temples were created by carving out rock, creating columns, forming internal spaces and the images. It was interesting to witness the hard work and techniques used by the then people to form such structures.
Elephanta Caves Temple Complex
The complete complex was formed by a process of rock removal. Surfaces of some rocks were highly finished, while some were left untreated as bare rock.
The cave temple complex spreads to a huge area of about 60000 square feet. It consisted of a main chamber and two lateral sections, a few courtyards and several subsidiary shrines. Over the temple is spread a giant mass of natural rock.
A huge manifestation of Shiva is engraved in relief which is a 20 feet high image of Shiva having three heads and is called as Trimurti. It was a magnificent colossal and is a masterpiece of Indian art. The place was a unique site and is a must visit for everyone.
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