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.

Taking advantage of this, Tarakasura, the demon king secures an cleaver boon from Brahma, the creator. According to the boon, none could kill Tarakasura other than the son of Lord Shiva. Believing himself immortal, Tarakasura terrorised the universe and the heavens. Gods came to the verge of annihilation.

The only remedy, having a son born to Lord Shiva seemed impossible.

In the meantime Sati, Shiva's deceased wife reincarnated as Parvati. She was born to the Himavan, the god of the Himalayas and his wife the apsara Mena. She underwent severe austerities to impress Shiva to marry her.

The gods, in their desperation pursued Kamadeva, the god of love to disturb Shiva's meditation. Kamadeva succeeds but getting burned into ash in Shiva's fury. A lot many events later the Shiva-Parvati marriage finally materialises. Lord Brahma officiates the marriage.

Kartikeya was born to the Shiva-Parvathi couple who is considered as the 'god of war'. The second child born to the couple is Ganesh, the elephant headed 'god of the beginnings'. Kartikeya subsequently slew Tarakasura and bring peace to the kingdom of gods.

The marriage is a very popular theme in indian sculpture and temple art. You can also see playful mood of the couples in the Shiva-Parvati panel.

Kalyana Sundara at Elephanta

The panel in Elephanta Caves depicting the marriage of Shiva and Parvathi.

The panel in Elephanta Caves depicting the marriage of Shiva and Parvathi.

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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Museum in Elephanta

Elephanta Museum

Elephanta has a small site museum.The museum resembles more of an old house with terracotta roof.

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Ferry returning to Mumbai from Elephanta. The Elephanta Island in the backdrop.

How to reach Elephanta Caves

Elephanta is an island off the Mumbai (Bombay) coast.So the first point is to get to Mumbai.

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The demon king Ravana lifts Kailash, the abode of Lord Shiva

Ravana Shaking Kailasa at Elephanta

Ravana, the demon king of Lanka is a staunch devotee of Lord Shiva.Portrayed in this panel is a very popular episode of Ravana lifting the mount Kailash, the abode of Lord Shiva.

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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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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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The pier that connects the Elephanta Island with the ferry point.

Access to Elephanta

Elephanta is an island off the Mumbai (Bombay) coast.So the first point is to get to Mumbai city.

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