After being negated for a long time, the cave was refurbished in the 1970s considering its historic importance with being a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987. The astonishing architecture and solid basalt rock of the caves has been believed to be between the 5th and 8th centuries. All the caves were decorated with paintings, but now only traces are remained of painted walls.
Being located on extreme of the Arabian Sea, Gharapuri consists of two groups of caves. The first is a large group of Hindu caves, five in count and the second, a smaller group of two Buddhist caves. The Hindu caves contain stone sculptures that were rock cuts and dedicated to the Lord Shiva, the destroyer and saver. The island of Gharapuri was a significant Hindu place of worship until Portuguese started ruling it in 1534. It was Portuguese who started called it the island Elephanta after seeing colossal statue of an Elephant at the entrance. The same statue is now placed in the Bhau Daji Lad Museum in Mumbai.
Elephanta Caves is a place where Indian classical art found its expressions, through a network of caves. The island of Elephanta has been an epitome of Hindu cave culture with temples and the images from Hindu mythology. The island through these caves gives testimony to a civilization that has disappeared. With Stupa Hill and five rock-cut Hindu shrines, the place constitutes one of the most striking collections of rock-art from India. The cave is supported with complex structures, combine pillars, columns and found in bonded stone architecture.