The Elephanta Caves, one of the most visited tourist destination of India Tour is located in Mumbai, the industrial capital of Indian subcontinent. The island of Elephanta is approximately 10 kms away from the Gateway of India in Mumbai. The Elephanta caves are one of the best creations of Indian art and architecture. The meticulously worked upon rock cut wonderful caves are a jewel of Indian Tourism. According to the leading historians there was a statue of an elephant near the coast of the island and therefore it was named as Elephanta Island by the Portuguese settlers in India.
The Elephanta Caves in Maharashtra state of India are one of the most celebrated and marvellous historical tourist destinations. The caves consist of splendid temples of Lord Shiva. The historical accounts narrate the stories of the great warrior Prince of Chalukya Dynasty, Pulakesin II to rejoice his victory. Elephanta Caves are an exemplar in the field of rock cut architecture, it has some of the most fabulous and magnificent megaliths carved wondrously into unimaginable human figurines and animal profiles. The spectacular cave architecture and exquisite friezes on the ceilings are simply inimitable. The main area lies in the western end of the caves which is considered to be the resting abode of the ‘Linga’, where Lord Shiva is worshipped as the God of potency and proliferation. Different frescos beautifully lined one after the other show all the holy incarnations of Lord Shiva. The temple is planned with sheer geometric arrangements that leave you in awe. The entire rock cut process was a gradual cumbersome shift and movement of rocks. Some of the rocks have refined surface while others are untouched. The entire Elephanta caves stretch over an area of about 60000 sq ft. with a main hall, two lateral chambers, a courtyard and numerous contributory shrines. There are three main entrances to the temple out of which the ones on the west and east sides are more important of the structure. The Sadasiva display of Shiva is adorned at the end of the north-south alliance. The Titanic 20 feet high image of the three-headed Shiva, is highly imposing and is a magnum opus of the great Indian art. The tourists can visit these incredible caves from 9 am to 5 pm and should avoid going in monsoon as the caves can be dangerous when it pours.
The origin of the Elephanta caves dates back to the ancient times of Konkani Mauryas and it were then known as Gharapuri, named after a sculpture of an elephant found there. This figure was later moved to the Bhau Daji Lad Museum near the Jijamata Udyan in Byculla, Mumbai. It is very convenient to reach Mumbai as it is one of the most important metropolitans an excellent network of air, rail and roads. The Elephanta caves are also reachable through ferries from the Gateway of India. The nearest airport is Mumbai International Airport. An India tour must include a visit to the magnanimous Elephanta Caves that are one of the most beautiful things that Indian history has gifted to the world.