The Stone Elephant Of Elephanta Island Bombay, 1850 Print

The Stone Elephant Of Elephanta Island Bombay, 1850 Print

A beautiful 1850 print of the stone elephant that once stood on EIephanta Island in Bombay (Mumbai). The Island is located off Bombay’s eastern shore. The 6th century AD Elephanta cave temples were chiselled into a rocky cliff and dedicated to Shiva. Contains some masterpieces of Indian sculptures.

One of them was a self-standing statue of a stone elephant which is shown in this print. The Elephanta Island’s name itself originated from this statue that was given by the Portuguese. The Portuguese found the massive elephant stone statue when they arrived to explore the island. They had taken control of Bombay and the island in the 16th century. The stone elephant measured 13.2 feet by 7.4 feet.

The engraving shows the elephant before it got damaged. The head, as well as the neck, dropped off in 1814, later the remainder of the statue fell into pieces. In 1864, however, the mass of stones comprising the statue was removed to the Victoria Gardens in Bombay. It was re-set there and now stands as some sort of a mute sentinel today. The actual origins of these cave temples are lost in obscurity. But it is said to date to the 6th century AD.

Did you know- it is believed the British attempted to ship the colossal elephant carving to England. But due to its immense weight, it was impossible to do so, in the process the statue fell and broke into pieces. It was then removed to the Victoria Gardens Museum (now the Bahu Daji Lad Museum) where it was repaired and remains there till today. 

From the collection- Raja Ravi Varma’s Portrait Photo – Old Postcard 1904., Chepauk Palace In Chennai – Old Photo 1895., Panoramic Views of Fort Mumbai, 2 Old Postcards 1900., British Indian Empire 1903 Vintage Map.