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Elephanta Cave Temple in Mumbai Maharashtra

Here is Some Information about Elephanta Cave Temple in Mumbai Maharashtra India.

Location: Elephanta Island, Mumbai, Maharashtra
Built in:5th century
Dedicated to: Lord Shiva
Attraction:Cave temples cut out of rocks
Best Time to Visit:October to March
Temple Timing : Open from 9 A.M. to 5 P.M.Closed on Monday
Entrance Fee:Citizens of India and visitors of SAARC (Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Maldives and Afghanistan) and BIMSTEC Countries (Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Myanmar) - Rs. 10 per head.
Others: US $ 5 or Indian Rs. 250/- per head
(children up to 15 years free)
Significance: Listed as World Heritage Site
Coordinates:18.9634° N, 72.9314° E
Public transport :By ferry - see hours for details.
Photography : Allow

More Information about Elephanta Cave Temple Mumbai

Located close to the concrete jungle of Mumbai, the Elephanta Caves lie just off the coast of the Arabian Sea, situated at a 10 km radius from the bustling metropolis. One of the oldest rock cut structures in the country, the Elephanta Caves are the perfect expressions of archaic Indian art associated to the cult of Lord Shiva. Primarily believed to be the abode of Lord Shiva, the Elephanta Caves are an epitome of Hindu Cave culture and are a unique testimony to a bygone civilization. The origins of the Elephanta Caves have been debated time and again, though the sculptures and the art speak volumes about the time from when they could have been popular-6th or the 8th century. The island on which the caves are built was originally known as Gharapuri, and the Portuguese retitled it as Elephanta Island when they discovered a large stone structure of an Elephant on the island. The temple was primarily built for the worship of Lord Shiva and 'Shivaism'. However, it is believed that the Portuguese destroyed many other structures and even used the idols of Hindu Gods within the caves for target practice. Today, the site is a popular tourist hot-spot.

What to See

The hour-long ferry ride provides a good introduction to Hinduism thanks to the guides on board. Try to plan your trip so you see the sunset over Mumbai on your return journey.
Elephanta Island is quiet and picturesque, with light-green foliage and monkeys scampering about. Try not to bring food to avoid harassment by the monkeys.
Entry to the caves is via the main northern entrance to a massive hall, supported by large pillars, where the enormous Mahesamurti statue is housed. At 6.3m (18 ft.), the remarkable sculpture depicts Shiva in his three-headed aspect: as Creator (facing right), Protector (the crowned face at the center), and Destroyer (facing left, with serpents for hair).
Other sculptures near the doorways and on side panels celebrate Shiva's accomplishments. The beauty of this stonework lies in the grace, balance, and sense of peace conveyed in spite of the subject's multiple actions.
One statue shows Shiva bringing the Ganges River down to Earth, letting it trickle through his matted hair. He is also depicted as Yogisvara, lord of Yogis, seated on a lotus, and as Shiva Nataraja, the many-armed cosmic dancer.
Left of the Mahesamurti is Shiva as both male and female, Ardhanarishvara, an aspect suggesting the unity of all opposites.

History of Elephanta Cave Temple Mumbai

Elephanta Island is an hour away from Mumbai Harbour. Motorboats ferry tourists across to the island from the jetty at the Gateway of India. The boat ride, itself, is interesting as you go past fishing boats, anchored ships, yachts and little islands.

What is known about the island is that it once was the capital of powerful coastal kingdom. The Portuguese established fortifications and used the island for military exercises; as a consequence many sculptures were destroyed.

The island resembles twin hillocks rising from the sea and the caves are located halfway up the higher of the two. Carved out the solid basalt rock, the caves represent Mount Kailash, the heavenly mountain residence of Lord Shiva and date back to the 3rd or 5th centuries.

The entire cave complex area is constructed on 60000 square feet and consists of a main chamber, courtyards and several additional shrines. There is a mass of natural rock above the temple. The temple plan is designed in symmetry with the focal points worked out in a geometric Mandala, representing the cosmic field of energy. Inside the cave temple is a large hall, with nine sculptured panels depicting Lord Shiva in different moods as well as scenes from the life of Shiva. Little is known of the artists and architects who created these magnificent temples and sculptures out of sheer rock with the most primitive of tools.

The rock cut temples were created by carving out rock and through the process of rock removal. One can easily walk through the corridors and chambers of the temple. Some of the rock surfaces are highly finished while some are untreated bare rock.

The Elephanta Caves are a major tourist attraction in Mumbai and all the rock cut cave temples date back to the 5th century BC. A visit to the temple complex is a must in any tourist’s itinerary.

How to Reach Elephanta Cave Temple Mumbai

By Ferry/Boat
To go to Elephanta Caves, one will have to go to the Gateway of India in Mumbai and take a boat/ferry ride from there. The journey takes one hour by sea. Tickets for a deluxe boat are Rs. 140 for adults and Rs. 90 for children. Economy boats charge Rs. 20 less on both tickets. The first boat leaves at 9:00 AM and the last boat from the island leaves at 5:00 PM.

The Elephanta Caves is a great place to get away from the hustle and bustle of Mumbai metropolis. This trip to the caves will take you back in time, when faith, religion, hard labor, art and romanticism served as a base for everyday living. The Elephanta Caves are a glorious testimony to the aesthetics of a forgotten world and stand as one of the most popular tourist destinations, along with being a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

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