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Goa Gajah ("Elephant cave")

Photos and description

In the North of Bali, near the village Bedulu located cave Goa Gajah, surrounded by rice fields. According to the archaeologists, the cave was purchased about the year 1022. Although the cave itself is much older.

Its history, originating in the 9th century of our era, a mix of ancient Buddhist and Hindu origins. Some researchers believe that Goa Gajah manually dug by Hindu priests and later used the cave as a shelter or sanctuary. Inside the cave there are 15 niches which could be used for meditation and shelter. There is evidence that the cave had a special religious significance and the early Buddhists: there are found many Buddhist relics. Goa Gajah is still conceals many mysteries and secrets to solve that yet.

Interest is the entrance to the cave is a large stone relief carved into the rock, in the form of a demon head, resembling the head of an elephant. An open mouth surrounds the entrance to the cave. Researchers have not come to a consensus of how and why the cave got its name. According to one version of the bas-relief that adorn the entrance could symbolize elephant. On the other - the "elephant" cave is called because of standing inside of it statues of Ganesha, the Hindu God of prosperity, depicted in human form with an elephant head.

If you walk through the cave, you can see three of the lingam (symbol) of Shiva - black cylinders with a height of half a meter on a common pedestal in the Eastern part of the cave.

The territory of Goa Gajah is not limited to cave: near the entrance is a fountain with statues. The statue represents a female figure, holding a jug, from which water constantly flows into the pool. Historians believe that this pool could be used as a bath to wash before meditating. On the ground this part of Bali the first European to set foot in the early 20th century, baths were only found during excavations in 1954.

Many more interesting things to be found in Goa Gajah to shed light on the history of Balinese people who lived here nearly a Millennium ago.