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!

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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Ardhanari view from Parvati side

Ardhanarishvara at Elephanta

Ardhanarishvara, literally translates into the god (Siva) half female.For its artistic excellence , this image is arguably the second best image, after the three headed Mahesh Murthy (also sometimes referred as Trimurthy ) at Elephanta.

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Entrance to the cave 3 in Elephanta

Elephanta Cave 3

This a large cave complex, probably second only to the main Cave.The facade is impressive with a row of large cussion capital pillars.

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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Elephants Island Map

Elephanta Cave 6 and Cave 7

Cave 6 and 7 are located in the eastern hill in Elephanta Island. It's not very frequented by visitors compared to the rest of the caves.

Ardhanari image at Elephanta

Mythical Themes at Elephanta

The choice of the themes in Elephanta's panels is an interesting mix... anything from love to contemplation to violence to performing arts to yoga. In Elephanta you'll see some of the highest watermarks of medieval India's sculptural art.

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Marriage of Shiva and Parvati

Kalyana Sundara at Elephanta

The circumstances leading the marriage of Shiva and Parvati is a significant episode in the Hindu mythology.After the death of his first wife Sati, Shiva withdrew into an ascetic lifestyle, deep meditation and austerities.

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