Interior of the Great Shiva Cave, Elephanta, looking north towards the entrance
Artist: Wales, James (1747-1795)
Water-colour with ruled and wash borders drawing of the interior of the great Siva cave temple at Elephanta, looking north towards the entrance, by James Wales, dated c.1794. The great Shiva temple at Elephanta was excavated during the 6th century of the Kalachuri period and consists of a series of chambers cut from the rock with entrances on the east, north and west. The square sanctuary is situated in a hypostyle hall with twenty pillars. These have squat shafts and fluted cushion-capitals. The sanctuary which houses a linga is entered through four doorways flanked by a pair of large guardian figures. The walls of the cave are decorated with large-scale figural panels depicting different aspects of Shiva and are among the masterpieces of Hindu sculpture. The cave is renowned for the impressive Trimurti, the large three-headed bust of Shiva.