Elephanta caves - Famous and Historical group of caves
Elephanta caves were found during the 5th Century CE. These caves are very old and mainly comprise of rock cut temples. The name for these caves was given because these caves are located in the elephanta island. Elephanta caves are spread over an area of 60,000 Sq. feet.
About Elephanta Caves:
The Elephanta Caves located on the arm of Arabian Sea, has two groups of caves. One group of caves is the Hindu caves and other one is the Buddhist caves. These caves are made of solid basalt rock.
We can see the beautifully adorned Lord Shiva sculptures in these caves. The elephanta cave temple comprise of a huge main chamber. There are two small chambers and a number of secondary shrines. We can enter elephanta caves through three sides. Out of these three sides, the eastern and western entrance serve as the axis of the temple.
The pillars in these caves have fluted columns with square bases. The major attraction of the elephanta caves is the idol of Trimurthi Sadasiva, which is the sadasiva manifestation of Lord Shiva.
We can see a court yard in the east where there is another small shrine with six pillars. When we enter the Elephanta Caves, it will lead to a huge hall where we can see sculptures panels that depict the legends from Shiva Purana.
At the end of the north axis of the Elephanta Caves, we can see the big image of Trimurthi Sadasiva. This statue is 20 feet high and depicts the Lord in His three-headed form. The central face depicts the benign Lord Shiva, as the 'Preserver of the Universe' (Lord Vishnu). The right one depicts the feminine side of Lord Shiva, as the 'Creator of the Universe' (Lord Brahma). The left one depicts the angry side of Lord Shiva as the 'Destroyer of the Universe' (Aghora Bhairava).
How to reach Elephanta Caves:
We can reach Elephanta Caves by a ferry from the Gateway of India, Mumbai. The caves come under the Archaeological Survey of India. The timings for visiting these caves are between 9.00 AM to 5.00 PM and are closed on Mondays. They charge an entry fee of Rs.10 for Indian citizens and SAARC countries, and Rs.250 or $5 for visitors from other countries.