Friday, November 15, 2013

Geopiece of the Day: Elephanta Caves

Just 9 nautical miles across the sea from Mumbai, India are the ancient Elephanta caves. The green island is one of histories wonders due to the cave temples that have been cut into the rock in the seventh century. The temples are dedicated to Shiva and many of the artful rock panels reflect Shiva in the role of  creator, protector and destroyer.

The island of Elephanta houses seven caves and their decorated temples and the images from Hindu mythology, bear a unique testimony to a civilization that has disappeared. Here, Indian art has found one of its most perfect expressions, particularly in the huge high reliefs in the main cave.

The date of the famous Elephanta Caves is still very much debated and varies from the 6th century to the 8th century according to different specialists. They constitute one of the most striking collections of rock-art in India. There are two groups of caves. To the east, Stupa Hill contains two caves, one of which is unfinished, and several cisterns. To the west, the larger group consists of five rock-cut Hindu shrines. The main cave is universally famous for its carvings to the glory of Shiva, who is exalted in various forms and act ions. 

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