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!

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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elephanta-island-during-low-tide

Elephanta Island

Elephanta Island, locally called Gharapuri island is off the Mumbai coast.The cave temples of Elephanta is located on the hillocks of Elephanta Island.
 

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Nataraja at Elephanta Caves

Nataraja at Elephanta

Nataraja Panel is located at the entry point of the main cave, opposite to the Mahayogi Shiva at Elephanta.After the three panels (Gangadhara at Elephanta , Mahesh Murthy at Elephanta and Ardhanarishvara at Elephanta ) which are located in the deep wall of the cave, this is the most dynamic of all t...

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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.

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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Ferry point Elephanta

Ferry to Elephanta

Elephanta Ferry (launch) services operate from the Gateway of India ferry point also called the Apollo Bandar.

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Shiva-Parvati of Elephanta

Shiva-Parvathi at Elephanta

In this panel Parvathi, the consort of Lord Shiva is portrayed in a affectionate but somewhat upset mood.Her head is turned away from Shiva.The theme revolves around a game of dice the couple played.

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