Monday, February 9, 2015

Great Cave, Elephanta

The main cave, also called the Shiva cave, Cave 1, or the Great Cave at Elephanta is the most impressive structure on the island. Built anytime between 6th and 7th century, the cave is a sculptural marvel evolved Brahmanical rock-cut architecture.
   

It was a Hindu place of worship until Portuguese invaded the cave in 1534, after which the caves suffered severe damage. This cave was restored in the 1970s, but the damage done was too much. In the year 1987 it was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site and it is currently maintained by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI).



The cave has a main entrance on the north with two other openings on the east and west respectively. The central hall with six rows of pillared columns, six in each row. The roof of the hall has concealed beams supported by stone columns joined together by capitals. 



In the center of northern wall is the gigantic figure of Shiva as Mahesha, the Supreme God combining in himself the qualities of creator, preserver and destroyer.  



Each wall of the complex has large carvings of Shiva, each more than 16 ft in height. One such panel is Gangadhara image to the right of the Trimurti. The carving which is 13 ft wide and 17 ft high is an ensemble of divinities assembled around the central figures of Shiva and Parvati. In this image Shiva  has the River Ganges as she descends from heaven. 



The cave is also famous for the exquisite and vibrant sculptures. The most of the sculptures here are very huge some are as high as 5 meters tall. The central figure here is that of Ardhanarishvara where sculpture's left is female and the right is male.

37 comments:

eileeninmd said...

What an amazing place to visit. The cave and the carved statues are fantastic. Great photos, have a happy week!

Al said...

What a great place, and it looks very busy and full of life.

Jackie and Joel Smith said...

As always, I learn so much from your posts and your beautiful photos.

Derek said...

It really is quite magnificent. I can see why it became a World Heritage Site.

Your photos are excellent too. They give a real feel of the location. Thanks for sharing them.

Have a good week.

Team G Square said...

Nice pictures and well narrated post.

Sridharan Srinivasan said...

I have visited Ellora.. But not this and Ajantha.
These Nice shots help me visit Elephanta virtually..!

R Niranjan Das said...

Nice captures!

Liz Needle said...

What an amazing cave. I can't even begin to imagine how they did that incredible carving with the tools available to then then. I find your photos quite fascinating.

Mama Zen said...

Amazing sculptures!

Ramakrishnan Ramanathan said...

Amazing stone sculptures at Elephants !

Gattina said...

Beautiful statues !

Sylvia K said...

Another amazing place and superb captures as always, Rajesh!! Fascinating!! Thanks as always for sharing!!

Carver said...

Interesting site and you got some good shots.

magiceye said...

Beautifully captured!

Marie said...

How sad there was so much damage done to the shrine! I am glad it is being protected and looked after now. It's a lovely place. I am always fascinated by places such as this that are carved out of pure stone!

Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

This is an amazing structure! It must have taken much effort to excavate and build inside a cave like this.

ladyfi said...

What an amazing place!

Leovi Leovi said...

Fabulous rock-cut temple, love it! Great photos!

happywonderer.com said...

Such elaborate carvings at this cave. Must be so interesting to walk into it...

x_pEpPeRoNi_x said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Reader Wil said...

I wish I had your knowledge of architecture and religion.
your photos are excellent.
Have a great week.
wil, ABCW Team.

Roger Owen Green said...

My goodness, it's massive!

ROG, ABCW

Photo Cache said...

the pillars look very sturdy, well made.

My ABC WEDNESDAY

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

Exquisite is he word for those carvings for sure. What a beautiful place.

Su-sieee! Mac said...

Very impressive! I'm glad that it was designated a World Heritage Site. Be a shame for the world not to see this.

Take 25 to Hollister

Snapperoni :: Photography said...

Beautiful place. And the carvings are so detailed. It's a wonderful thing to know this place is well looked after.

LindyLou Mac said...

Your wonderful pictures have me hoping even more that I will day have the opportunity to visit India.

Lmkazmierczak said...

Always enjoy your presentations....wonderful photos and info♪ http://lauriekazmierczak.com/eastward-ho/

harshita joshi said...

Super pictures,i visited ajanta and ellora but not this one

indu chhibber said...

Interesting details,loved to see the pics.

Sri Kri said...

Nice Shots.Very sad to know that this cave suffered severe damage.


Cheers,
Sriram & Krithiga

Yogi Saraswat said...

Great series of pictures of ancient place.

Leena Walawalkar said...

Your post and pics made me nostalgic, had visited the caves way back in the 90s.

Rakesh Pandey said...

Very beautiful article. Actually, apart from the caves, there's a cannon hill. Which still has two cannons and a powder magazine, which were installed during Portuguese era, I. E. I around 1600. Also the lovely village nested between the mountains.

Elephanta is indeed a beauty!

Maniparna Sengupta Majumder said...

Nice details and pictures... :-)

Ravish Mani said...

Beautifully captured the magnificence :)

Swati & Sam said...

Beautiful photographs :)