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Elephanta Caves
Site number:
Type of site: Cultural
Date of Inscription: 1987
Location: Asia, India, Maharashtra State, District Kolaba (Island of Elephanta)
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Description: “The 'City of Caves', on an island in the Sea of Oman close to Bombay, contains a collection of rock art linked to the cult of Shiva. Here, Indian art has found one of its most perfect expressions, particularly the huge high reliefs in the main cave.” --WHMNet paraphrase from the description at WHC Site, where additional information is available. For 360 degree imaging of this site, click here.
  The Elephanta Caves are the focal point of the Elephanta Island, located in the Mumbai harbour off the coast of Mumbai (Bombay), India. In 1987, the caves were designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is visited by many domestic and foreign tourists. In recent years, complaints have been made that visitors mistreat this important cultural and historic site. Most of the sculptures here were defaced by the Portuguese, who used the sculptures as target practice in the 17th century. The Portuguese also gave the island its modern name,Elephanta from Gharapuri. The caves are thought to date back to the Silhara kings of the 9th through 13th centuries (810–1260). Some of the sculptures of this site are also attributed to the imperial Rashtrakutas of Manyakheta (in present day Karnataka), the Trimurti of Elephanta showing the three faces of Shiva almost akin to the Trinity of Brahma, Vishnu, and Mahesh. This was also the royal insignia of the Rashtrakutas. Other Rashtrakuta sculptures here are the reliefs of Nataraja and Sadashiva and the splendid sculptures of Ardhanarishvara. The rock-cut temple complex cover an area of 60,000 sq ft consisting of a main chamber, 2 lateral ones, courtyards and subsidiary shrines. The site of these magnificent caves contained beautiful reliefs, sculptures, and a temple to the Hindu god Śiva. The caves are hewn from solid rock. The temple complex is said to be the abode of Shiva. --Wikipedia. Text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License. For 360 degree imaging of this site, click here.
Reference: 1. UNESCO World Heritage Center, Site Page.
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