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Entrance to the 'Elephant Cave'
Bathing temple
Bathing temple figures
Entrance to the Elephant Cave 'Goa Gajah'

Goa Gajah, or Elephant Cave, is located on the island of Bali near Ubud, in Indonesia. Built in the 9th century, it served as a sanctuary.[1]

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HistoryEdit

Although the exact origins of the cave are uncertain, it is believed to have been built as place for spiritual meditation.[2] One folklore relates that it was created by the fingernail of the legendary giant Kebo Iwa. However, examining its style, the sanctuary was probably dated from the 11th century Bali Kingdom. The complex contains both Hindu and Buddhist imagery, as the cave contains lingam and yoni, symbol of Shiva, and the image of Ganesha, while by the river there are carved images of stupas and chattra, imagery of Buddhism.

The cave was rediscovered by Dutch archaeologists in 1923, but the fountains and bathing pool were not discovered until 1954.[3]

Site descriptionEdit

The temple is characterised by menacing faces that are carved into the stone - who's purpose is assumed to be the warding off of evil spirits. The primary figure was once thought to be an elephant, hence the nickname Elephant Cave. Other sources state that it is named after the stone statue of the Hindu God Ganesh (characterised by having the head of an elephant) located inside of the temple.[4] The site is mentioned in the Javanese poem Desawarnana written in 1365. An extensive bathing place on the site was not excavated until the 1950s.[5] To reach the entrance of the cave, you need to walk down a long flight of stairs. There is not an accessible entrance.[6] The inside of the temple is small and usually has trails of white smoke from the incense burning.[7] Visitors wearing shorts will be issued a sarong to tie around the waist before entering the courtyard.

World Heritage StatusEdit

This site was added to the UNESCO World Heritage Tentative List on October 19, 1995, in the Cultural category.[8]

NotesEdit

  1. ^ Davison, J. et al. (2003)
  2. ^ "Elephant Cave in Bali - Goa Gajah - Bali Magazine". bali-indonesia.com. Retrieved 2018-06-13. 
  3. ^ Planet, Lonely. "Goa Gajah in Bedulu, Indonesia". Lonely Planet. Retrieved 2017-12-27. 
  4. ^ "Elephant Cave in Bali - Goa Gajah - Bali Magazine". bali-indonesia.com. Retrieved 2018-06-13. 
  5. ^ Pringle, R. (2004) p 61
  6. ^ "Bali Vacation Guide [With Kids] - Adventures With Children". Adventures With Children. 2018-06-12. Retrieved 2018-06-13. 
  7. ^ "Bali Vacation Guide [With Kids] - Adventures With Children". Adventures With Children. 2018-06-12. Retrieved 2018-06-13. 
  8. ^ Elephant Cave - UNESCO World Heritage Centre

External linksEdit

ReferencesEdit

Coordinates: 8°31′24.20″S 115°17′10.89″E / 8.5233889°S 115.2863583°E / -8.5233889; 115.2863583