Back with the bang. After Maheshmurthy Shiva is Ardhanarishwara. Artha is half, Nari is Lady and Ishwara is Shiva. So Arthanarishwara is the semi lady or half feminine form if Shiva. His left half is consort Uma. This denotes the unified equality of the feminine and masculine forces which forms the creative power of universe.
Hinduism being one of the oldest and traditional religions in the world, like the other old religions, believes in fertility and unification. Like Egyptian or Greek civilization, Hinduism too has several symbolisms that denote fertility, unification, etc. Hinduism essentially has 2 paths – ‘Thuravaram’ (asceticism) and ‘Illaram’ (family system). Its about being pure in any one path. Either a person should be a pure family man with a single spouse and must support his family or must be a complete ascetic, not even owning fabric to cover himself (he covers himself with ashes).!!!
The next panel is Parvathi Mana, where Parvathi / Uma is upset. This signifies the game of Ludo, where Shiva keeps winning and Parvathi is upset. So she is seen with her head turned to the other side (not facing Shiva), in anger and foul mood. Then Shiva pacifies her and lets her win. This is one of the very badly damaged panels. Shiva’s face is also gone case.
The next panel is the last panel of Lord Shiva’s legends. This is Ravana in Kailasa. Kailasa is the part of Himalaya where Shiva resides. Ravana is a demon who possesses helluva power. He thinks that he has more power than Shiva, and comes to Kailash and shakes the whole place. Seen here is Kailash denoted as a plank on which Shiva sits. Below the plank is Ravana who is seen lifting Kailash with his 20 arms. Coolly and calmly, Shiva presses his toe onto the ground, crushing Ravana beneath Kailash. Shiva releases Ravana at this point, without letting him die. Ravana thus understood the mighty strength of Shiva.
Then there was separate cave which has a huuuuuuuuuuge sculpture of Ganesh (elder son of Shiva) and the Saptha Maatha.
I was taking shots of my friend and he of me, when a foreign tourist who watched us for some time, readily offered to take a shot of us together.
Apart from this main cave which includes so many marvelous pieces of art there are around 5 to 6 smaller caves that are incomplete.
The cave has been constructed and the rooms and sanctum sanctorum made, but there are no sculptures or imageries of God in these caves.
There is an onsite museum here which tells about the lores, legends and archeological evidences of Elephanta. Yeah, that’s me at the museum.
From the Elephanta, in the same island, a path diverts from this Museum. One way leads to the caves, about which I wrote. The other pathway leads to the Cannon Hill.
Cannon Hill gets its name from the huge cannons located in the top most positions of this island. These were left behind by the Portuguese. These 2 cannons could be rotated 360 degree, with the mechanisms below. There huge rooms located below these cannons. It was dark inside, I wasn’t sure what to expect. What if I am attacked by monkeys or bats?
However I ventured inside, thankfully I didn’t meet anything. But these are really huge rooms which the Portuguese must have used for storing ammunition and cannon balls esp.
Enroute, I came across this wall which must have been a room once and now is just a wall.
The window in this wall served as a perfect framing for this shot.
The roots of the trees beside this wall has taken the most beautiful path to grow in the midst of the bricks. It was so beautiful.
As an ending point, forget going here on Monday, its closed.
Again dedicated to Rathish. Also courtesy of some photographs in this post.