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Caves of the Elephants

Elephanta Caves are a World Heritage Site and a collection of cave temples dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva, with a lot of Shivalings.

They are located on Elephanta Island, or Gharapuri (literally "the city of caves"). It is about a 1 hr boat ride from The Gateway of India.


Living in Mumbai for more than 30+ years i had never visited them and so was the case with my girl friends !!

So we three decided to go and visit it, like a check mark to our list of things to do in Mumbai :P





There are a lot of local hawkers selling variety of things on the way to the caves, which is about 120 steps up hill.

The caves are mostly damaged, but still recently a lot of restoration is done and there are guards kept to ensure people do not misuse things.
There are a lot of people trying to be guides, however it is better to read up rather than spending money on the guides.



The three faced statue (Trimurti) is the most beautiful and considered a masterpiece. Shiva the Hindu God has always been a fascination for me and i like reading about, hence some details on this object d'art.




This statue is also known as Sadashiva and Maheshmurti. The image, 6 m (20 ft) in height, depicts a three-headed Shiva, representing Panchamukha ShivaThe three heads represent three essential aspects of Shiva: creation, protection, and destruction. As per another version, the three heads symbolise compassion and wisdom.

The right half-face (west face) shows him holding a lotus bud, depicting the promise of life and creativity. This face is symbolism for Brahma, the creator or Uma or Vamadeva, the feminine side of Shiva and creator.


The left half-face (east face) is that of a moustached young man. This is Shiva as the terrifying Aghora or Bhairava, the chaos creator and destroyer. This is also known as Rudra-Shiva, the Destroyer. 


Lastly the central face, benign and meditative Tatpurusha, resembles the preserver Vishnu. This is the Shiva form as the "master of positive and negative principles of existence and preserver of their harmony".


The three-headed Shiva are his creator, preserver and destroyer aspects in Shaivism. They are equivalently symbolism for Shiva, Vishnu, and Brahma, they being equivalent of the three aspects found in Shaivism.





At the max one can spend an hour here and return back by boat again to gateway of India.

A morning well spent !!

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