Amazing Elephanta Caves, Mumbai, India
- Elephanta Caves, Mumbai, India.
- Elephanta Caves are an UNESCO World Heritage Site and a collection of 7 cave temples and a few Buddhist stupa mounds. They are predominantly dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva. Located on Elephanta Island, or Gharapuri (literally "the city of caves"in Marathi language), in Mumbai Harbour, 10 kilometres (6.2 mi) east of Mumbai in the Indian state of Mahārāshtra.
- The caves are hewn from solid basalt rock and date back to the 2nd century BCE, their creators are unknown (local legends just connect them with different mythical and non-human figures).
- According to the survived artwork there are 5 Hindu and 2 Buddhist cave temples. Much of the artwork is, unfortunately, defaced and damaged.
- The carvings in the main cave narrate Hindu mythologies, with the large monolithic 20 feet (6.1 m) Trimurti Sadashiva (three-faced Shiva), Nataraja (Lord of dance) and Yogishvara (Lord of Yoga) being the most celebrated. Most scholars consider them to have been completed by about 550 CE.
- The main cave (Cave 1, or the Great Cave) was a Hindu place of worship until the Portuguese arrived, whereupon the island ceased to be an active place of worship (the Portuguese established a garrison here).
- The Portuguese named the island "Elephanta Island" for the huge rock-cut stone statue of an elephant that they found here.
- The elephant statue was damaged in attempts to relocate it to England in 1860s, it was then reassembled in 1914 and now sits in the Jijamata Udyaan in Mumbai.