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!

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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Caves in Elephanta

Elephanta in a Nutshell

What is Elephanta?Elephanta CavesĀ is UNESCO World Heritage site is a fine specimen of rock cut architecture and art of medieval India.

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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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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 Thirumurthy image at Elephanta Caves

Mahesh Murthi at Elephanta

Despite the noisy crowd you may encounter inside main cave in Elephanta , this image of Lord Shiva with his closed eyelids and in a deep contemplating attitude would be the most satisfying piece of art you would ever see in India.Rather this is the highest watermark of medieval Indian art tradition.

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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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Facade of Elephanta Cave 2

Elephanta Cave 2

This is an unfinished cave, located near Cave 1, that is the main attraction in Elephanta.Follow the paved trail from the courtyard of the main cave (Cave 1), you can spot cave 2 on your right, slightly up on the hillside.

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