Interior View of the principal Excavated Temple on the Island of Elephanta
Artist: Forbes, James
Plate thirty-eight from the first volume of James Forbes'"Oriental Memoirs". Forbes(1749-1819)arrived in Bombay in 1766 and spent eighteen years of life in Western India. During his residence there he frequently visited the excavations at Kanheri and Elephanta. On one occasion he stayed at Elephanta for four days, 'sketching the most striking features ...of the wonderful works'.The rock-cut cave-temples of Elephanta are situated on an island near Bombay, and named after a stone elephant found there by the Portuguese. Forbes described this as a 'general view of the interior of these extraordinary excavations, in which the Triad Deity of the Hindoos is distinguishable at the termination of the central aisle or avenue. A strong light is thrown into the cave through an accidental aperture in the side of the mountain, the light originally admitted being only from the principal entrance.'