At Elephant’s Cave – Goa Gajah


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One interesting place to visit in Bali was Goa Gajah, the 11th century tiny little cave listed on the UNESCO World Heritage sites. As the word of Goa Gajah is anticipated coming from the word of Lwa Gajah, the name of Buddhist Temple or hermitage for Buddhist monk, it was a surprise finding that it was rather a Hindu temple. It was surrounded by the nearby villages and enormous rice paddies.
Once entering in the dark cave narrow passage, it suddenly ends in an intersection. The left passage contains a statue of Ganesh, the Hindu god reminiscent of an elephant. The right passage holds a small worship area with 3 stones (lingam and yoni, symbols of divine procreative energy) in honor of Shiva. So if couples were having reproductions problems that was the place to bring their offerings and pray. But entering in the dark misty cave was not as impressive as looking at it’s demon’s mouth surrounded by old archaeological ruins. While the Patirthaan holy pool centered in the cave courtyard serves as a place to take the holy Tirtha water for Hindu ceremony, and walking further there were signs of entering in the jungle. I was told that many old men, once they reach their retirement age, go to live in the jungle for reaching eternal peace with the natural habitat until they die. Very mystical setting and stories in the Elephant cave.

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