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. Noted art historian Percy Brown described as "the creation of a genius".

Jawaharlal Nehru, first prime minister of India wrote in his book 'The Discovery of India ', "It is not some secret doctrine or esoteric knowledge that has kept India vital and going through these long ages, but a tender humanity, a varied and tolerant culture and a deep understanding of life and its mysterious ways. Her abundant vitality flows out from age to age in her magnificent literature and art, though we have only a small part of it with us and much lies hidden or has been destroyed by nature or man's vandalism. The Trimurti in the Elephanta caves might well be the many-faced statue of India itself, powerful, with compelling eyes, full of deep knowledge and understanding, looking down upon us."

Maheshmurthi of Elephanta Caves

The star attraction of Elephanta Cave temple is the iconic image of the three headed Shiva called Mahesh , the great Lord.

This image carved on the cave wall is arguably the highest watermark in medieval of sculptural art medieval India achieved.

Everything about Elephanta!

Mahayogi Shiva of Elephanta

Mahayogi Shiva at Elephanta

Mahayogi Shiva is located as you enter the main cave, opposite to the panel of Nataraja at Elephanta .This is an unusual posture of Shiva portrayed as sitting on a lotus flower in meditating attitude.

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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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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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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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Elephants Island Map

Elephanta Map

The Elephanta Island Map (Gharapuri).Popular attractions are marked (Cave 1 to Cave 5) and the Cannon Hill.

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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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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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