The next spot to visit on my itinerary was the exquisite hotspot of Elephanta caves. I took a lazy ferry ride for that.
Elephanta caves… a land lost in time.
Yes, these words describe this heritage site very well. It’s a land which consists of caves dating back to 8th century A.D. Elephanta Caves have sculptures based on Hindu and Buddhist mythology and are carved out of solid rock salt. To get there, one can board a ferry which runs regularly from the Gateway of India. Visiting this UNESCO world heritage site only costs Rs. 160 (boat fare of both ways).
When I reached there, I was surprised to see a toy train (which hardly runs up to 800 metres though) which costs only Rs. 10. Rather than taking the train, I preferred walking because I like exploring such places on foot. Honestly speaking, it was a great opportunity for me to capture some great moments for which I am ever ready. Now, I had to walk 2-3 kilometres as the caves are situated on a hill. Like other tourist attractions, it was swarming with locales selling food items, souvenirs, etc.
I want to share a hilarious experience that I saw while going to the caves. Monkeys, as we all know are notorious in nature were busy doing the job which they do the best. Yes, they were snatching the food items from the visitors. It was quite an unusual experience, but I had to be very careful at the same time because it has happened in the past that they have snatched and broken a few cameras and other items. So, a heads up while going there, please be aware of the notorious creatures!
So, I was there…. Right outside the caves but my jaw dropped when I saw a large Trimurti sculpture right in the middle of the main hall. For those who don’t know, Trimurti, in Indian mythology depicts all the three (tri) idols (murtis) of Brahma, Vishnu And Mahesh ( Shiva).That hall gave a very strong vibe that this place could be a temple in the past. After staring at the Trimurti for quite a while, I moved on to the other sculptures.
I am not good at reading the different mudras of Lord Shiva, but I can say that whoever made this was very fond of him. Ranging from Shiva as Natraj to something depicting his marriage was very unusual to see altogether at one place. For your information, I asked about it from a local guide out there.
After reading the history of this archaeological marvel, one thing is very sure that its sculptor is unknown. But I must say that whoever carved these out not only finished it to perfection, but also made sure to make it aesthetically pleasing and soothing to eyes. Only one question aroused in my mind when I was observing the pillars inside the main hall, “How can someone make anything so perfect without any technological help”.
Thus, I would like to sum up my Elephanta experience by saying that one has to invest a full day to explore this epitome of marvel because it is a proof which contains various hidden and untold tales of our diverse religion and cultures which certainly dates back to 5th century AD.