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Elephanta (ĕlĭfănˈtə), 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.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



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.


Burgess, J. The Rock-Temples of Elephanta or Gharapurt. Bombay, 1871.
Chandra, P. A Guide to the Elephanta Caves. Bombay, 1957.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


A strong southeasterly wind on the Malabar coast of southwest India in September and October, at the end of the southwest monsoon, bringing thundersqualls and heavy rain. Also known as elephant; elephanter.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
References in periodicals archive ?
I spent an hour posing with locals as we headed by boat to the cave temples of Elephanta Island, a Unesco heritage site.
It also has sites like the Gateway of India monument and cave temples at Elephanta Island. To the south is the rustic, beach-lined Konkan Coast.
Back in Mumbai, a boat ride crossing the waters of the Sea of Oman brought me to Elephanta Island. The island is celebrated for its five rock-cut caves that house what are considered as the zenith of the artistic achievements associated with the cult of Shiva.
You can, in the space of a few days, take a boat trip to Elephanta island, with its ancient cave temples, explore the sets of Bollywood, try historic Iranian recipes in a historic Parsi cafe, or cycle through the city in the early morning as it slowly wakes up from a heavy sleep.
Indian Register of Shipping (IRClass), an independent society providing ship classification and certification, said it has successfully assisted public electricity distribution utility, Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company Limited (MSEDCL), in the marine cable installation works for the electrification project of Gharapuri Island (popularly known as Elephanta Island), in Mumbai, India.
"I was just watching the TV news two days ago that electricity has reached three villages of the Elephanta Island after 70 years of independence, and this has led to much joy and enthusiasm among the people there," he said.
Summary: There are three villages on Elephanta Island, where locals are mostly engaged in tourism, fishing, rice cultivation and boat repairing
Investment in "off-grid" energy schemes such as that on Elephanta Island could be the way forward for hard-to-reach rural areas, he said, as "the centralized system has failed to deliver" with power cuts widespread where supplies exist.
Investment in 'off-grid' energy schemes such as that on Elephanta Island could be the way forward for hard-to-reach rural areas, he said, as 'the centralised system has failed to deliver' with power cuts widespread where supplies exist.
Escape the chaos of the city to relax on the hour-long ferry to the Unesco world heritage site of Elephanta Island. A steep climb through the trees is rewarded by a series of hill-top caves housing awe-inspiring eighth century carvings depicting the legends of Shiva.
WHAT TO DO For families Take a boat to Elephanta Island and explore the magical cave temples.