Elephanta Caves


Entrance to Elephanta Caves



Background Information:

Name:  Elephanta Caves

Location:  Maharashtra, India

Year Added:  1987

Criteria:  to represent a masterpiece of human creative genius (i), to bear a unique or at least exceptional testimony to a cultural tradition or to a civilization which is living or which has disappeared (iii). 

Number of Sites in India:  28

Basic Site Information:

Size:  the many caves, plus the surrounding area, roughly translates to a radius of 1 kilometer.

Time Period:  ~6th Century to 8th Century

Special Cultures:  possibly linked to the cult of Shiva

 Archaeological Summary:

The Elephanta Caves are located on a small island around 10 km from Bombay, India.  They are named for the statue of an elephant found at the front, which has since been dissembled and reassembled at the entrance of Victoria Garden Zoo in Bombay.  There are two groups of caves with the main cave being universally famous for the depictions of the Goddess Shiva.  The caves make up one of the most striking examples of rock art in India.

The many depictions of Shiva in glorious forms suggest a link to the cult of Shiva.  Pilgrims most likely journeyed to this grand palace to worship and be in awe. 

The caves, in conjuncture with two other sites, epitomize the beauty of and the culture involving rock art in India.  They deserve to be recognized for the worth they possess, and have been as a World Heritage Archaeological Site.


 photo one:  www.whereincity.com

photo two:  www.indianholiday.com


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