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Elephanta Caves in Mumbai, Maharashtra

Elephanta caves are group of aesthetic sculptures located on Elephanta Island in Mumbai Harbour 10 km east to the Mumbai city of Maharashtra State of India. Elephanta Island is situated on an arm of the Arabian Sea. Island comprises of two groups of exquisite caves in which first cave features large group of Five Hindu Caves and second consists of smaller group of Buddhist caves. These are Rock-cut architecture of caves constructed between 5th and 8th century. Caves are carved from solid basalt rock and painted in early days, at present only traces are remained.

Cave one is main Cave considered as Hindu place of worship and are dedicated to Lord Shiva. Cave, is 27 metres square in plan with a hall. The northern entrance to the cave, which has 1,000 steep steps, is flanked by two panels of Shiva dated to the Gupta period. The left panel depicts Yogishvara and the right shows Nataraja. The central Shiva shrine is a free-standing square cell with four entrances, located in the right section of the main hall. Smaller shrines are located at the east and west ends of the caves. Each wall has large carvings of Shiva, each more than 5 metres in height. The main cave blends Chalukyan architectural features such as massive figures of the divinities, guardians, and square pillars.

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