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Elephanta Caves Temple

The large Mumbai metropolis is very regular to the Elephanta Caves as it is one of the hotspots for the weekend getaways. This temple is situated some 10 kms away from the grand Gateway of India in Mumbai. The rock cut temples inside the caves date back to the 5th century CE.

This name was kept by the Portuguese right after the elephants statue near the island. The temples that are rock cut is solely dedicated to Shiva Mahadeva and is rich in sculptural content. Those wanting to go to these temples have to take the motors boats from the Appollo Bunder that is close to the Gateway of India.

The temples are made out of carved rocks and have created columns for the images and internal spaces. The huge sculptures are the temple through which one can walk through the chambers and the corridors. A rock was removed to create the entire complex. Some rocks can be seen highly finished while some of the rocks are bare. The cave is spread over a 60000 sq ft area and is a one whole chamber and the lateral ones, also courtyards and some shrines. Overall, the temple is nothing but a mass of natural rocks.

To enter the temple, there are three entrances. The axis is lined with a 20 pillared lines, the cellar is one at the western end and the shivlinga is placed in it. At the end of the north south axis, one can see the sadasiva manifestation of Shiva. It is a three headed, 20 feet high Shiva, the Trimurthy which is said to be the best masterpiece of Indian art. The image, colossal one, represents Panchamukha Shiva and one can immediately get attention of this masterpiece while entering the temple from the entrance at the north.

Also while you see the northern wall, one can see the images sculpted of Gagandhara, Kalyanasundara, Uma Maheswara and Ardhanariswara. While standing towards the west of the western entrance, one can lay their eyes over the images of Andhakaasuravadamoorthy and Natraja and at the east, one can see the images of Ravanaanugrahamurthy and Yogiswara.

One can find the non anthropomorphic form of the shivalingam and the colossal images in the 8 manifest forms in this cave. Also while at the east of the temple, there is the courtyard which is flanked by the shrine that is secondary. The six pillars at the entrance welcomes one and all out of which two are engaged and the rest remaining four are free. The entrance helps you lead towards the hall that is decorated with the sculptured panels from the legendary Shiva Purana.

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