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Elephanta Caves, Mumbai
The Elephanta is the name of
the island on which the caves are located, about an hour of boat
ride away from the Apollo Bunder (the Gateway of India). Boats ply
to the Elephanta island every 30 minutes and charge you anywhere
between Rs. 100 to 200 depending on the class of the boat (normal or
deluxe). Elephanta is certainly worth a visit but foremost it
is a nice escape from Mumbai for half a day - the hustle bustle of
the city seems distant when you breath in the fresh sea breeze!
The sculptured panels depict graceful figures of divinities surrounding the central theme of Shiva. On these panels Shiva is depicted variously as either Anugrahamurti (Bestower of gifts) or Samharmurti (destroyer of evil and ignorance). The figure of Maheshmurti - depicting all three aspects of Shiva - the creator, protector and destroyer - in the central panel of the back wall is the masterpiece and is surprisingly well-preserved.
Beware of the monkeys around the
caves. Just like at the Kanheri caves, the monkeys are everywhere
and are known to snatch the visitors' cold drink bottles, cameras,
etc. though not often. They are quite used to the huge masses of
For Elephanta caves, you can surely say one thing...the journey is as good as the destination. Hence I have dedicated a photo gallery for the journey part, and another for the caves themselves.
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