Ancient Hindu myths and stories are filled with images of horrible monsters, demons and fierce animals. The god Shiva has eight arms and is sometimes depicted as half man, half woman. Parvati, Shiva’s wife rides on a tiger. Dwarves, monkeys and other animals wait on Shiva. Wouldn’t you like to know more about these frightening, fascinating stories?
The island of Elephanta lies to the east of the city of Mumbai in the Indian state of Maharashtra. Elephanta Island is called Gharapuri, in Indian, which means “city of caves.” This island is a popular tourist destination because of the island’s cave temples, the Elephanta Caves, that have been carved out of rock. Here, many rooms and statues have been carved into the caves. The statues tell stories about Shiva and his followers.
Fun Facts About Elephanta Island for Kids
- Researchers believe the cave rooms were built between 400 and 800 A.D.
- The rooms are carved into solid basalt rock. Columns and pillars support the caves.
- Hindus came here to worship.
- A large statue of an elephant guarded the island. This elephant now sits in the Victoria Garden Zoo.
- The Portuguese invaded and conquered this area in 1547. Portuguese soldiers damaged the caves and used the statues and reliefs for target practice.
- The caves and reliefs were originally painted. Writing on the cave walls probably gave important clues about the caves. Portuguese soldiers removed the writing.
- Because the writing was removed, we do not know who built the statues. Local people believe that the gods built the caves.
Elephanta Island Vocabulary
- Myth: old story
- Image: Picture
- Demon: devil
- Worship: give praise to a god; pray
- Relief: a carved, two-dimensional scene or mural
All About Elephanta Island Video for Kids
Check out this cool video about Elephanta Island for Kids:
Elephanta Island Q&A
Question: Do people visit the Elephanta Caves today?
Answer: Tourists like to visit the caves and Hindus still go there to worship and hold festivals.
Map of Elephanta Island
Here’s a map of Elephanta Island and all its cities and villages. Zoom in to get into street level or zoom out to see other countries around Elephanta Island! You can see the terrain, but also see the roads, images of the buildings and even take a 3D tour through the streets of the cities of Elephanta Island, as though you are actually there!
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