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The Elephanta Caves

The Elephanta Caves , located on Elephanta Island, or Gharapuri, about 11 Km off the coast of the Gateway of India, Mumbai, are a UNESCO World Heritage Site. A visit to these caves, excavated probably in the 6 th century CE, is awe-inspiring, and also thought-provoking. Over the years, I have visited the caves a number of times, and also attended a number of talks by experts in the fields of art, history and archaeology on the caves. Together, they help me understand these caves, their art, and the people they were created for, just a little bit better. Every new visit, every new talk, every new article I read about the caves, fleshes out the image of what the island and the caves would have been like, at their peak. I last wrote about the caves on this blog, in 2011, almost exactly 11 years ago. Since then, my understanding of the caves has, I would like to think, marginally improved. Hence this attempt to write a new and updated post, trying to bring to life, the caves of Elephan

Siddheshwar Temple, Solapur

Solapur is an important city in Maharashtra most well known for its textile industry, and bed sheets in particular. I remember my mother waiting to buy Solapur bed sheets at the Solapur station en-route to Chennai (then Madras) during my summer vacation. All other bed sheets were considered inferior quality than the Solapur ones, and to do them justice, they outlive all the other varieties. There is still one Solapur bed sheet with a beautiful peacock pattern, one that was bought almost 20 years ago still occupying the pride of place in my mother’s house.
We visited Solapur en-route to Pandharpur, Tuljapur and Akkalkot, and stayed overnight there for the purpose of catching the train back to Bombay. We had a few hours free and decided to visit the local Shiva temple, called the Siddheshwar temple, as it was a Shravan somvar (i.e. a Monday in the Indian month of Shravan, which is considered auspicious for Lord Shiva). We hardly knew what a treat was waiting for us, and I regret not taking along my camera.
We had to stop our vehicle quite far away from the temple, as it was a festival day, and there was a sort of fair going on around the temple. The local artisans, craftsmen and traders were peddling their ware all along the road, and it was tempting to buy almost everything in sight. We controlled our urges however, and went straight to the temple, which is situated on a lake.

The temple, situated in the middle of the lake, is picturesque; with a backdrop of the fort looming behind it. The temple was built by a yogi, Shri Siddharameshwar, who was a devotee of Sri Mallikajuna of Srisailam. He was on his way to Srisailam, when he was ordered by his guru to return to Solapur and consecrate many Shiva lingams. He duly returned to Solapur and began his work, starting from this temple. In all, he installed 68 Shiva lingams in Solapur, the list of which is given at the end of this article.
It is believed that Sri Siddharameshwar dug the lake himself, when all the holy rivers came and asked for permission to reside in the lake, thus making it sacred. There are a number of fish in the lake, and the locals consider it holy to feed them. As a result, there is a crowd of vendors selling foodstuffs to feed the fish... The lake has been kept reasonably clean, considering the amount of food thrown into it.
Apart form the main lingam of lord Shiva, there are temples of various other gods in the temple complex which is considerably huge.
Shri Siddharameshwar himself attained Jeeva Samadhi in the temple complex itself, and his Samadhi itself draws a lot of crowds.
The Siddharameshwar trust looks after the maintenance of the temple, and it is doing a good job. The temple itself is well maintained and clean, when there are crowds, there is a good queue system wherein men and women enter the sanctum sanctorum separately, and they have a shop where they sell books relating the temple’s history and photographs. Apart from all this, what is really noteworthy is the amount of charity and good works done by the trust. They run schools, colleges and hospitals, and when we visited the temple, they were collecting funds for cancer treatment of those who couldn’t afford it. They have a huge library within the temple complex with some good collection of religious literature. We came away quite impressed, and today, one of the most prominent photographs in my puja room is of the Siddheshwar temple. We did not have time to visit all the other 67 lingams consecrated by Sri Siddharameshwar, but we intend to make another visit soon. For anyone who wants to visit the temple, I am including below, the temple address as well as a list of al the 68 lingams.

Shri Siddheshwar Devasthan Panch Committee,
Siddheshwar Mandir,
Solapur 413001

Phone No: (0217) 2723778

List of 68 Lingams installed by Sri Siddharameshwar

No-- Name ------ Place
1 - Shree Amrut ling----- Siddheshwar temple
2 - Shri Papeshwar ling ---- Siddheshwar temple
3- Shri Popeshwar ling ---- Siddheshwar temple
4 - Shri Sangameshwar ling ---- Siddheshwar temple
5 - Shri Parmeshwar ling ---- Siddheshwar temple
6 - Shri Yoginath ling ---- Siddheshwar temple
7 - Shri Vajreshwar ling ---- Siddheshwar temple
8 - Shri Omkareshwar ling ---- Siddheshwar temple
9 - Shri Aaheshwar ling ---- Siddheshwar temple
10 - Shri Maheshwar ling ---- Siddheshwar temple
11 - Shri Akleshwar ling ---- Siddheshwar temple
12 - Shri Umeshwar ling ---- Samanti Katta
13 - Shri Shikeshwar ling ---- Mahadwar
14 -- Shri Aadilingeshwar ling ---- Mahadwar
15 - Shri Nandikeshwar ling ---- Mahadwar
16 - Shri Aaleshwar ling ---- Mahadwar
17 - Shri Teleshwar ling ---- Near Narthcoat highschool
18 - Shri Vishweshwar ----Near Dafrin hospital
19 - Shri Brahmeshwar ling ---- Parshi Bangalow,Railway lines
20- Shri Kopeshwar ling ---- Head post office
21 - Shri Adkeshwar ling ---- Near Railway Station
22 - Shri Tripureshwar ling ---- Near Railway Station
23 - Shri Anandeshwar ling ---- Juni Mill
24 -Shri Havgveshwar ling ---- Murarji Peth,Manik Mill
25 - Shri Rameshwar ling ---- Murarji Peth,Manik Mill
26 - Shri Nageshwar ling ---- Murarji Peth,Manik Mill
27 - Shri Rambhadreshwar ling ---- Murarji Peth,Manik Mill
28- Shri Homeshwar ling ----- Near Juni Mill Chal
29 - Shri Jageshwar ling ----- Chakradev mala
30 - Shri Anantanameshwar ling---- Bhogade Vasti canal
31 - Shri Pashuptiya ling ---- Deshmukh Mala,Ganesh Nagar
32 - Shri Shatkeshwar ling ---- Chandak Bagicha
33 - ShriYalleshwar ling ---- Near Tarti Naka
34 - Shri Jambukeshwar ling ---- Maruti(underground)
35 - Shri Jabreshwar ling ---- Maruti Balves
36 - Shri Jagdeshwar ling ---- Balves
37 - Shri Bandeshwar ling ---- West Mangalvar Peth
38 - Shri Bhadreshwar ling ---- West Mangalvar Peth
39 - Shri Shelgi Ganesh ling ---- East Mangalvar Peth
40 - Shri Kameshwar ling ---- East Mangalvar Peth
41 - Shri Shankeshwar ling ---- Opposite to Varad Math
42 - Shri Panchmukhi ling ---- Opposite to Varad Math
43 - Shri Amogheshwar ling ---- Sakhre vada
44 - Shri Someshwar ling ---- Madhala Maruti
45-Shri Ahimukhibhrameshwar ling----Khari Bavdi,Shukravar Peth
46-Shri Brahmanadeshwar ling----Maruti Mandir,Shukravar Peth
47 - Shri Achleshwar ling ---- Vaidya vada,Shukravar Peth
48 - Shri Chinheshwar ling ---- Tripurantakeshwar,Shukravar Peth
49-Shri Tripurantakeshwar ling---Tripurantakeshwar,Shukravar Peth
50 - Shri Sarveshwar ling ---- Panchkatta
51 -Shri Umamaheshwar ling ---- Collector Bunglow
52 - Shri Navaneshwar ling ---- Gurubhet
53 - Shri Sidhvanti ling ---- Homekatta
54 - Shri Jyotishwar ling ---- Homekatta
55 - Shri Akleshwar ling ---- Park Maidan
56 - Shri Gomukhi ling ---- Park Maidan
57 - Shri Balabrahmeshwar ling ---- Near Shami tree
58 - Shri Vajreshwar ling ----- Near Shami tree
59- Shri Umamaheshwar ling ---- Near Shami tree
60 - Shri Balayogishwar ling---- Near Shami tree
61 - Shri Shamishwar ling ---- Near Shami tree
62- Shri Khayeshwar ling ---- Barabaluti,Murarji Peth
63 - Shri Molgeshwar ling ---- Kalmma Mandir,North Kasba
64 - Shri Kutharsomesh ling ---- Revensiddheshwar Mandir
65 - Shri Mallikarjun ling ---- Mallikarjun Mandir
66 - Shri Ayleshwar ling ---- Mallikarjun Mandir
67 - Shri Anandshwar ling ---- Mallikarjun Mandir
68 - Shri Umakshetreshwar ling ---- Mallikarjun Mandir
We have been told that by hiring a local auto, it is possible to cover all these lingams within a day.


  1. Dear Anu,
    I like your blog. Especially this post on Solapur, my native place and the personal experience about the Solapur fabrics you have shared. I have linked this post of yours to one on my blog where I have written about Solapur.. Do visit my blog. Your comments would be highly appreciated.
    Thanks and Regards,

  2. Dear Anuradha Madam,

    I like your blog on specifically about Textile production in solapur after that thanks for posting about shree siddesheshwar temple. its our Gramdawit. my home town is solapur.

    Grand Appreciation for posting blog about your Solapur Visit.

    Thanks a lot once gain.

    Sidh Parshetti,
    Facebook:-sidh parshetti


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