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Elephanta(ĕlĭfăn`tə), island, c.2 sq mi (5.2 sq km), in Mumbai harbor, Maharashtra state, W India. It is noted for six Brahmanic caves, carved (8th cent.) from solid rock some 250 ft (76 m) above sea level. The Great Cave, the largest (130 ft/40 m long), contains gigantic pillars supporting its roof and colossal statuary, most notably the famous three-headed bust of the Hindu god Shiva. The caves are much visited by Hindu pilgrims, especially since they were restored in the 1970s. The statue of an elephant, now removed to Mumbai city, gives the island its English name. The Indian name is Gharapuri.
an island in the Arabian Sea, 8 km from Bombay. An ancient city located on Elephanta Island was destroyed by the Portuguese in the 16th century. The island is famous for its Brahmanic temple caves dating to the eighth century. The largest of these outstanding monuments of early medieval Indian art is a many-columned hall with a giant three-headed bust of Siva (about 6 m in height) and numerous reliefs.
REFERENCESBurgess, J. The Rock-Temples of Elephanta or Gharapurt. Bombay, 1871.
Chandra, P. A Guide to the Elephanta Caves. Bombay, 1957.