Friday, 19 October 2012

Explore Traces of Mumbai History with Elephanta Caves and Rock Cut Architecture

Mumbai is generally considered as one of the most modern cities in India. However, it is surprising to know that an island full of ancient structures is lying just close to the center of the city. Located in Mumbai Harbor, Elephanta Island is famous for ancient caves, popularly known as Elephanta Caves, and rock cut stone sculptures.

Historians have no idea about the antiquity of these structures. They seem to have existed for ever from the time immemorial. A section of art historians is, however, of the view that these were built sometime between the fifth and eighth century AD.

It is also a matter of debate as to who built the monuments that still stand majestically and create a feeling of awe and wonder. Hoodaki UK offers you an opportunity to visit these caves and witness the unique architectural style of an ancient era with affordable flights from Birmingham to Mumbai.

There exist two groups of caves. The first group consists of five caves dedicated to Hindu gods whereas the second is a group of two Buddhist caves. The first group of caves is famous for rock cut stone sculptures representing different forms of Shiva and other Hindu gods.

Seeing the archaeological significance of Elaphanta Caves, UNESCO declared it a World Heritage Site in 1987. Presently maintained by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), the caves are a major attraction for the tourists visiting Mumbai. 

Regular ferry services exist between the island and the city of Mumbai. To reach the island of caves, a visitor can take a ferry from the Gateway of India, another landmark structure in Mumbai.

Originally known as Gharapuri, which literally means “the city of caves”, the island got its present name during the Portuguese rule in sixteenth century. Upon seeing a huge statue of an Elephant at the entrance of the caves, they called the island Elephanta, and the name became popular subsequently.

The elephant sculpture has now been shifted to the Jijamata Udyaan, the premises housing Bhau Daji Lad, one of the largest museums in India.


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