Elephanta has a small site museum. The museum resembles more of an old house with terracotta roof. It’s a good precursor to the Elephanta caves.

The first hall contains a series of narrations of the attractions in Elephanta.The next hall exhibits a large number of black & white photographs of other cave temples rock cut architectures in India. Surprisingly a large number of them are in Maharastra.

The prominent examples include Ajanta and Ellora.The hall beyond it exhibits heritage attractions region wise in India. From a tourists’ perspective, this is an informative exhibition with large maps and lots of details.There is no additional entry fee to be paid for this museum.

The museum is located right after the ticket counter where you buy entry ticket for Elephanta caves. The temptation is to head straight to the caves skipping this otherwise humble looking museum.

A short visit to the museum (about 30 minutes) is an excellent precursor, especially if you are visiting Elephanta without the aid of a guide.

Elephanta Museum

The site museum is great precursor with generous narrations of the themes in the the caves.

The prominent examples include Ajanta and Ellora.The hall beyond it exhibits heritage attractions region wise in India. From a tourists’ perspective, this is an informative exhibition with large maps and lots of details.There is no additional entry fee to be paid for this museum.

Everything about Elephanta!

Gangadhara and Parvathi

Gangadhara at Elephanta

Gangadhara, roughly translates the 'Bearer of the Ganges'.A complex sequence of events led to bringing the heavenly river Ganga (Ganges) to Earth.

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Mahayogi Shiva of Elephanta

Mahayogi Shiva at Elephanta

Mahayogi Shiva is located as you enter the main cave, opposite to the panel of Nataraja at Elephanta .This is an unusual posture of Shiva portrayed as sitting on a lotus flower in meditating attitude.

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Elephanta Cave 4

This cave has a large open verandah with a massive unsupported rock formation overhanging above.There is a beautiful doorjamb carved around the entrance to the main shrine at the center.

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Entrance to the cave 3 in Elephanta

Elephanta Caves

The name, Elephanta was given by the Portuguese as there was a large elephant sculpture in the island, when it was held by them as a naval outpost.Otherwise this island was known as Gharapuri.

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Elephants Island Map

Elephanta Map

The Elephanta Island Map (Gharapuri).Popular attractions are marked (Cave 1 to Cave 5) and the Cannon Hill.

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The unfinished cave 5 in elephanta island

Elephanta Cave 5

Though it's an unfinished cave, a visit can give you good idea of the how the work in progress sites looked like during the excavation of caves.

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View from Elephanta Island

History of Elephanta

The most convincing of the theories on its origin tell Elephanta caves were executed during the period 450 to 750 AD. Incidentally, this period also marks the decline of Buddhism in India and the revival of the Brahmanical traditions.

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