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About The Elephanta Caves


A team of researchers recently discovered two rock-cut Shaivite temple caves older than Elephanta near Rajapur, Ratnagiri.


GS I: History

Elephanta Caves:

  • Historical Significance: The Elephanta Caves are a remarkable example of rock-cut art and architecture, originating from medieval India. They hold historical and cultural significance.
  • Location: Situated in Western India, the Elephanta Caves are located on Elephanta Island, also known as the Island of Gharapuri. This island is located approximately 7 kilometers from the mainland shore of Mumbai.
  • Construction Period: The rock-cut Elephanta Caves were crafted during the mid-5th to 6th centuries AD. The majority of the cave structures are dedicated to Lord Shiva, highlighting their religious importance.
  • Two Groups of Caves: The Elephanta Caves comprise two groups of caves. The first group consists of five large Hindu caves, each with its unique artwork and sculptures. The second group consists of two smaller Buddhist caves.
  • Solid Basalt Rock: These caves are meticulously carved out of solid basalt rock, showcasing the exceptional craftsmanship of the artisans.
  • Artistic Representations: The caves serve as an artistic expression with several significant sculpted images. These include the ‘Trimurti,’ a depiction of the three-headed Shiva, ‘Gangadhar,’ representing the descent of the river Ganga to Earth, and ‘Ardhnareshwar,’ symbolizing Shiva and Parvati in a single body.
  • UNESCO World Heritage Site: The Elephanta Caves have earned recognition as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, further emphasizing their cultural and historical importance.

-Source: Times of India

December 2023