'Part of the Great Cave at Elephanta. G. Ridge. March 1829
Artist: Ridge, George (1804-1831)
Medium: Crayon on paper
Drawing in crayon heightened with white on grey paper by George Ridge of the Great Cave at Elephanta, dated March 1829.
The small island of Elephanta, off the coast of Bombay, is celebrated for the great cave temple dedicated to Shiva that was excavated into the cliff above the water during the Kalachuri period in the sixth century AD. The vast scale of the excavation and the complexity of the plan make it one of the greatest achievement of rock-cut architecture. The principal shrine is flanked by two excavated courtyards and is entered on the east, north and west. The east entrance leads to the sanctuary and the the north entrance leads to the great Trimurti, the colossal triple-headed bust of Shiva. The columns have massive square shafts and cushion-like capitals. Large sculpture panels depicting various aspects of Shiva are carved on the walls of the cave. These are among the masterpieces of Hindu sculpture.