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!

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.

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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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 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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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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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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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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