Goa Gajah - Elephant Cave
Goa Gajah Elephant Cave is one of the most ancient and interesting sights that Bali has to offer and is a popular place to visit and offers a collection of caves that have been carved by the Buddhist people of Bali around the time that Buddhism and Hinduism where side by side on the island. You will see that the faces and statues are very similar to the traditional statues that you will see today and all through the Balinese history showing that this style has been alive for over a thousand years.
These caves, shrines and monuments are located with beautiful surroundings and offer a real sense of serenity as well as the fascinating cultural aspect of the area. The entrance to the caves appears to be carved in the shape of an elephant although this is an abstract character with faces and other details in the side of its body. The elephant is carved into the rock in the side of the cliff as well as other designs ranging from floral and natural patterns and animals such as tortoises, forest pigs and specters all visible around the area. The Bas-relief is also visible with its eye looking to the right/west side. There is also an article which was written in the early 11th century written in Kediri on the east side of the wall.
Other aspects of interest include the Patirthaan Pool which is sacred and holy with natural Tirtha Water which is used in many Hindu ceremonies around the entire area as well as in the courtyard of Goa Gajah Elephant Cave which are common meaning that you are likely to see some kind of Balinese ceremony while visiting the area as there are offering placed all the way through every day and sometimes there are very large scale festivals. Another incredible finding happened in 1954 by Krijgsman which revealed said holy pool and the statue douche which had been buried under mounds for over a thousand years. This excavated finding has made many others of the Ancient Department wonder about what other archaeological findings there may be on this fascinating and mysterious land.
Visiting Goa Gajah Elephant Cave is easy and often included in tours of the Ubud area due to its proximity to the Gianyar Regency. You can find Goa Gajah Elephant Cave yourself although unless you are staying nearby it is over an hour’s journey from the southern resort areas of Bali. Hiring a driver or booking onto a tour is the easiest and most efficient way to see this wonderful sight and with the knowledgeable guide you will also learn about the discoveries and importance of Goa Gajah Elephant Cave to the Balinese Hindu culture. The Douches are very interesting and are lined parallel in two groups and are not only inspiring but also puzzling.
There are also guides around the entrance who you can agree a price with and take with you if you wish although this is not essential.