Elephanta Caves

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A team of researchers recently discovered two rock-cut Shaivite temple caves older than Elephanta near Rajapur, Ratnagiri.

About Elephanta Caves

  • It is a specimen of rock-cut art and architecture from the times of medieval India.
  • The Elephanta Caves are located in Western India on Elephanta Island (otherwise known as the Island of Gharapuri), about 7 kms from Mumbai’s mainland shore.
  • The rock-cut Elephanta Caves were constructed in the mid-5th to 6th centuries AD and most of them are dedicated to Lord Shiva.
  • There are two groups of caves on the site of the Elephanta Caves, the first is a large group of five Hindu caves, and the second is a smaller group of two Buddhist caves.
  • The caves are hewn from solid basalt rock. Except for a few exceptions, much of the artwork is defaced and damaged.
  • The caves are an expression of art and a number of important imageries are sculpted here, which include 'Trimurti' or three-headed Shiva, 'Gangadhar' which is a manifestation of the river Ganga as she descends to the earth and 'Ardhnareshwar', which is a representation of Shiva and Parvati in the same body. 
  • It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Q1) What is a UNESCO World Heritage Site?

A World Heritage site is a landmark or area with legal protection by an international convention administered by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO). World Heritage sites are designated by UNESCO for having cultural, historical, scientific or other forms of significance. The sites are judged to contain “cultural and natural heritage around the world considered being of outstanding value to humanity.”

Source: Temple caves older than the Elephanta discovered in Ratnagiri