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Mumbai's Rough-Hewn Legacy April 4, 2007
text and photographs by Samir S. Patel

Ancient caves are part of the fabric of life in a megacity's suburban slums.


Mandapeshwar includes a couple of rough-hewn side caves and a more finished main cave with three rooms flanked by two large alcoves. The central room is an active site of Hindu worship. It contains a linga, or a phallic representation of the god Shiva, but it is not original. The original 1,500-year-old linga was long ago chiseled down to nothing by either vandals or Catholics, who have used the site as a crypt or chapel on and off since the Portugese ruled the area in the fourteenth century. The Our Lady of Immaculate Conception Church on the ridge above the cave claims Mandapeshwar as its own.  Next >>

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Samir S. Patel is an associate editor at ARCHAEOLOGY.

© 2007 by the Archaeological Institute of America