Elephanta Caves are one of the most prominent attractions of Maharashtra. Situated near Mumbai, the Elephanta Caves are only 10 kilometers off the Gateway of India. These caves house several exquisite rock cut temples. The name of the island is so because of the statue of an elephant near it. The island was named as Elephanta by the Portuguese.
Inside the caves
The temples inside the caves are made out of rock. The columns, images and spaces in these temples are a treat for the eyes of the beholder. You can also take a walk through the chambers of the beautifully sculptured temples. Several rocks had to removed in order to carve out this structure. The whole of the complex has an interesting architecture. Here you will find a blend of the finished and unfinished rock surfaces.
These caves are spread over an area of 60000 square feet, which is a huge space. The temples inside the complex have a main chamber, smaller shrines and corridors. If you see above this temple you will find a huge natural rock. The temple has three entrance gates in totality. The axis of the temple is marked by the gates on the east and the west. In addition to the temple, the caves house a hall which has 20 pillars.
The image of Lord Shiva that is placed inside the temple is a must-watch. The image is that of the three headed Shiva (trimurthy) and is 20 feet in height. Considered a masterpiece, the image represents panchmukha (five-faced) Shiva with only three faces visible on the wall. It captures your attention as soon as you step in the temple from the entrance at the North. Apart from this , there are massive images of Ardhanariswara, Kalyanasundara, Uma Maheswara and Gangadhara on the southern wall. Images displayed on the other walls of the temple include those of Natraja, Yogiswara and Ravanaanugrahamurthy.recommended tours