Amidst the Arabian Sea, lies an island that is home to the ancient Elephanta caves. The caves are a marvel that displays the tales of Lord Shiva and offer a symphony of sculptures where the magic of faith and art combine.
Elephanta caves Mumbai is a sight to behold, that takes you to the ancient Indian civilization. Visiting the Elephanta caves is an experience like no other. Elephanta caves are a remarkable example of rock-cut architecture that is commonly seen in the ancient Indian civilization.
In this blog, we will explore the history of Elephanta caves, their significance, and the facts about them. Take a one day Mumbai tour package and indulge in the cultural significance of the caves and witness the beauty of the intricate carvings and sculptures of the Mumbai Elephanta caves. We’ll discuss the theories surrounding the caves, explore the history of the cave, and the events that have influenced the development and preservation of the Elephanta caves in Mumbai.
History of Elephanta caves
Located on Elephanta Island in Mumbai, the caves are a group of rock-cut temples. The history of the caves is shrouded in mystery, with very little known about the original builders of the caves. However, historians believe that the Elephanta Caves history dates back to the 6th century AD to the 8th century AD during the reign of the Chanakya dynasty.
The caves are believed to have been excavated out of solid rock with chisels and hammers, and the beautiful sculptures and carvings were made with a range of methods, including carving and sculpting.
The largest and most magnificent cave is known as Cave 1, and it has a big hall with a high ceiling that is supported by rows of pillars. The cave’s walls have elaborate carvings and sculptures representing Hindu mythology events such as Lord Shiva, his wife Parvati, and other gods and goddesses.
In the early 16th century, the Portuguese landed in the area and seized power in Mumbai (then known as Bombay) in 1534. There is, however, no evidence that they acquired control of Elephanta Island or the caves themselves. It’s more likely that they came across the island and the caves while exploring the area.
The Portuguese term “Ilha da Elefanta,” which translates to “Island of Elephants,” is said to be the source of the name “Elephanta.” Portuguese settlers gave the Elephanta caves in Mumbai its name after seeing a stone elephant close to the coast.
In the years that followed, the Elephanta Caves were neglected and abandoned, and the island turned into a popular destination for locals to make pilgrimages. The Elephanta caves weren’t rediscovered until the 19th century when the British started rehabilitating and opening them to the public.
Now that you know about the Elephanta caves history, there are some unheard and fascinating facts about Elephanta caves your guide will inform about:
The Caves were formerly referred to as Gharapuri.
Elephanta Caves was named after Portuguese explorers who visited the place in the 16th century. Gharapuri, which translates to “the city of caves” in Marathi, was the island’s and the caves’ original name.
For generations, the Island was a place of worship.
The spiritual importance of Elephanta Island has a long and rich history that dates back to prehistoric times. Before the caves were built, it is thought that the island was a place of devotion for Hindus and Buddhists for centuries.
The Caves are designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The Elephanta Caves became one of the most significant cultural sites in the world when they were named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987. The Mumbai Elephanta caves is popular because of their unique artistic and architectural elements, which represent India’s cultural and religious heritage.
Portuguese rulers damaged the caves
The Elephanta Caves in Mumbai sustained serious harm during the Portuguese rule of the island in the 16th century. The Portuguese exploited the caves as a shooting range, destroying or damaging numerous statues and carvings.
The Caves are devoted to Lord Shiva.
The Elephanta Caves in Mumbai are devoted to Lord Shiva, one of the deities in Hinduism, worshipped by millions across the world. The sculptures and carvings in the caves show several facets of Shiva’s life and mythology, such as his dual roles as the universe’s destroyer and creator.
The Sculptures and Carvings are made of Basalt
The sculptures and carvings in the Mumbai Elephanta Caves are created of basalt, a volcanic rock found in India’s Deccan Plateau region. The use of basalt allowed the artists to produce exquisite features and textures in the sculptures, which are still apparent today.
The island got its name from a large stone elephant.
A vast stone elephant that formerly stood close to the coast inspired the name of the island of Elephanta. The elephant was then relocated to Victoria Gardens in Mumbai, where it may still be seen today.
The Elephanta Caves in Mumbai is an interesting and historic attraction that provides tourists with a look into India’s rich cultural past. You will be able to view the artistically carved sculptures and old structures that make this place so distinctive whether you join an Elephanta caves tour with our Mumbai tour guide.
Elephanta Caves group tour or an Elephanta Caves private tour with our Mumbai tour guide.
You can also think about going to the Dharavi slum if you’re curious to discover more about Mumbai’s rich cultural heritage. Despite its reputation as a slum, Dharavi is home to a bustling population of artisans, entrepreneurs, and craftsmen who have built a name for themselves in textiles, leather, and ceramics.
Explore the mystical Elephanta caves in Mumbai with Magical Mumbai Tours and embark on a journey through India’s cultural heritage. Book your tour today to experience ancient architecture.
Elephanta Caves Photos
Check out the beauty of Elephanta Caves in these pictures, and book your Elephanta Caves Tour for your next visit to Mumbai.