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date: 22 October 2019

Elephanta [Gharapuri]locked

  • A. P. Jamkhedkar

Extract

[Gharapuri]

Island 10 km from Bombay, India, renowned for its rock-cut temples and sculptures. The name Elephanta is derived from a stone elephant, removed (with other sculptures) to Bombay. The locally popular name Gharapuri is a corruption of agrahārapurī (Skt: rent-free village in the possession of brahmins). The names of localities near the present jetty such as Shet Bandar, More Bandar and Raj Bandar indicate the island was used as a port.

The coasts and both of the hills dominating Elephanta were once scattered with antiquities. An image of a horse, reported in the vicinity of the elephant, is no longer extant. Datable finds include large numbers of coins of the 6th-century Kalachuri king Krishnaraja. The style of the characters of an inscription on the base of a Brahma image suggests a date around the 9th century; and an inscribed copper vessel (dated ad 1086) was recovered during the clearance of a cistern. Perhaps the earliest remains (undated) are those of a stupa built of bricks (380×230×64 mm). Located on the eastern hill of the island, the stupa has cisterns and undecorated caves near by, which may have formed a Buddhist monastery....

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