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The Trimurti Mahesh of Gharapuri

Listed under Temples in Mumbai, India.

Photo of The Trimurti Mahesh of Gharapuri
Photo by flickr user RobRyb
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The mysterious sculptures in the Elephanta Caves have been battered by time and damaged by heavy-handed human ignorance, but still stand out as one of the greatest artistic achievements of the Silhara Dynasty, which ruled in India from the 9th to the 13th century.

The island in Mumbai Harbour on which the caves stand was named Elephanta by the Portugese in the 17th century when they came to explore, but it was once known as Gharapuri, and was home to a complex of temples cut out of the rock in honour of Shiva, who is said to inhabit it still.

Amongst the huge collection of religious art to be found here is a Trimurti-Sadashiva – a surreal, three-faced image of Shiva the Destroyer, very similar to the more usual trimurti of Brahma the Creator, Vishnu the Maintainer and Shiva himself, where the three cosmic elements become a whole.

The sculpture shows Shiva as an enraged, masculine figure to the left, as a beautiful, gentle youth to the right, and as a calm, solid meditator in the centre. The whole sculpture measures around twenty feet, and towers over the tiny tourists, dark, smooth, impassive and intact after more than ten centuries at rest in the dark.

Written by  larapiegeler.

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