Sunday, April 2, 2017

Elephanta Island

Saturday, 18 March 2017

The Elephanta Caves are rock-cut Hindu temples on a small island in Mumbai’s harbor. Although small in number, they contain some of the most expressive temple sculpture in India.

The island is served by small ferry boats from the Gateway. The trip takes about an hour each way.

Mumbai skyscrapers are barely visible in the distance and a ferry is in the foreground. Between these is an off-shore LNG terminal with two tankers docked at it.
I was not aware that cruise ships stopped in Mumbai. Apparently, Costa Lines ships come to Mumbai from November to March on cruises from Dubai to Singapore (and reverse). There were two cruise ships here today.
The caves are about 120 steps above the dock. The steps are lined with small shops and covered with the ubiquitous blue tarps providing shade in the sunny months and protection from rain during monsoon.
On to the sculptures. While you can find better photos and much more information on the Internet, I’ll post four photos showing the exquisite beauty and detail of the sculptures. Unfortunately, the Portuguese found little use for these figures and were quite destructive.

Shiva as Sadashiva: three personalities in one - Destroyer, Protector, and Creator.
Furious Shiva slaying Andraka.
The blissful marriage of Parvati and Shiva.
Ardhanarishvara -- the androgynous representation of Shiva that merges female Parvati (Shiva’s left side) and Shiva (right side).
There are several other sculptures, but you can seen better photos in many places on the Internet.

Postscript: I liked this shadow pattern that fallen leaves made on the blue tarp.

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