Elephanta Caves Mumbai , Gharapuri

he Elephanta Caves (Marathiघारापुरीची लेणीGharapurichya Lenee) are a network of sculpted caves located on Elephanta Island, or Gharapuri (literally "the city of caves") in Mumbai Harbour, 10 kilometres (6.2 mi) to the east of the city of Mumbai in the Indian state of Maharashtra. The island, located on an arm of the Arabian Sea, consists of two groups of caves—the first is a large group of five Hindu caves, the second, a smaller group of two Buddhistcaves. The Hindu caves contain rock cut stone sculptures, representing the Shaiva Hindu sect, dedicated to the god Shiva

The cave temples to Siva, on the island of Elephanta, in the Bombay harbour, contain some of the most magnificent sculptures in the Deccan. The dating of the caves seems to be controversial. They were probably finished some time between 450 and 750 AD. The complex is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Access from Mumbai is by boats leaving from the Gateway of India. There are three entrances to the main temple in the complex- from the north, east and west. The main gallery is divided by columns into equal rows and aisles. To the west, and outside this area, is a square sanctuary containing a monolithic Linga. The huge, high-relief works in the main cave, on both sides of the three entrances and on the south wall, are characteristic of the cult of Siva and considered to be among the most perfect expressions of Indian art of their time. The most well-known is the six metre high Trimurti, showing Siva in the three roles of creator, preserver and destroyer.



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