Aging of Elephanta Caves
The Elephanta Caves and the island (originally called Gharapuri island) were named so by the Portuguese rulers after a huge rock-cut black stone statue of an elephant they found installed on the island. The statue is now installed at the Victoria Gardens (Jijamata Udyan) in Mumbai.
After climbing the flight of stone steps, you will finally reach the entrance area to the caves, and need to pay an entrance fee here, which is Rs. 10 for Indian citizens and Rs. 250 for foreign nationals. The caves are closed on Mondays - so do not buy boat tickets even if you see the sellers selling them at the Gateway of India.
This is the main cave of Elephanta Caves and called Cave 1. It is carved in solid basalt and has some magnificient stone carvings and artwork known to be made in ancient times- somewhere between the 6th and 8th century.
The cave is a massive hall, supported by pillars and houses the famous Maheshmurti statue of Shiva in his 3-headed aspect - Creator, Protector and Destroyer. It is also in partially ruined state like many other sculptures here. The caves were regular places of worship of Lord Shiva in the ancient times.
If we could imagine what the caves and the sculptures of Hindu gods really looked like when they were formed, we can see the richness of ancient history, art and culture here.
The aging of the caves and the sculptures is natural, and due to neglect under rule of different Indian rulers and also caused by the Portuguese in the 15th Century, who did shooting practice on these sculptures in the caves.
|MAHESHMURTI AT ELEPHANTA CAVES|
The Elephanta Island has more caves and sculptures, and also two old cannons at the hills called Cannon hills.