Interior of the great Cave Temple of Elephanta, near Bombay, drawn in 1803
Artist: Westall, William (1781-1850)
Medium: Aquatint, coloured
This is plate 30 of Robert Melville Grindlay's 'Scenery, Costumes and Architecture chiefly on the Western Side of India'. Grindlay (1786-1877) was only seventeen when he arrived in India in 1803. He served with the Bombay Native Infantry from 1804 to 1820 and during this period made a large collection of sketches and drawings. The island of Elephanta near Bombay derives its popular name from the figure of a gigantic carved elephant near the landing place. The temple is dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva and was completely excavated from the rock some time around the 6th century AD. The great temple is at the centre of the excavation and is entered from the east. It has two smaller shrines on either side, entered from the north and west respectively. Large panels containing figures in relief are cut deeply into the walls. These are depictions of aspects of Shiva are considered among the great masterpieces of Hindu sculpture.