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Elephanta is a place where legends still live in stone. According to the Archaeological Society of India, the cave art reliefs in Elephanta "not only constitute one of the greatest examples of Indian art but also one of the most important collections for the cult of Shiva."
Once known as Gharapuri (the city of caves), Elephanta Island was the proud capital of a powerful coastal kingdom. It was named Elephanta by the Portuguese, who took possession of it several centuries later, and found a monolithic stone elephant at the place they first landed.
Today Elephanta is a World Heritage Site, showcasing legends of Lord Shiva carved in rock cave temples. The cave complex is a collection of shrines, courtyards, inner cells, grand halls and porticos arranged in the splendid symmetry of Indian rock-cut architecture, and filled with exquisite stone sculptures of Hindu Gods and Goddesses. The island is about an hour's boat ride from the Gateway Of India.
Every year, in February, the Elephanta Dance Festival is held. Renowned dancers and musicians perform outside the caves, beneath a star-studded sky, to an appreciative audience. Special launch services and catering arrangements are provided for visitors.
- Deepa Krishnan