Goa Gajah which is also known as Elephant Cave is an archaeological site of significant historical value that makes it a special place to visit. The name is slightly delusive and creates an impression that it’s a huge domicile full of elephants, which gets vanished when you actually get to see the place in reality. It is believed that the ‘Gajah’ or elephant portion came from a beautiful stone figure inside the cave portraying the Hindu Lord Ganesh, who is depicted with an elephant’s head. The cave’s entrance manifests a little threatening gigantic face with its wide open mouth. The mouth is further ornamented with extended carvings displays forest, animals or few other creatures.
The main grounds are few steps down from the roadside and parking area. You will find a few art and souvenir shops at the roadside and around parking area featuring different mementos to purchases.
Down the stairs, you perceive a courtyard full of antiques and the main 11th-century ‘cave’ wherein you can enter to discover beautiful rock-wall carvings, a meditational site, a Hindu temple, a meeting hall, and a remarkable bathing pool with fountains, excavated back in 1954.
The cave includes huge old stone carvings and few of them are restored to their former appearances. The pool features five beautiful statues depicting Hindu angels holding vases. Various structures reveal Hindu as well as Buddhism influences on the cave. The cave is shallow inside and has three stone idols each wrapped in red, yellow and black clothes. At the southern end, you can find beautiful rice fields and Petanu River. The site was considered sacred and was built for meditation and prayers. Women during their periods are forbidden entrance and wearing a sarong and waist sash is a must that is also available for rent at the entrance.
The complex is open daily 08:00 – 16.00. Entry tickets are 15,000 rupiahs for adults and 7,500 for children.
Bedulu Village, Jalan Raya Goa Gajah, Blahbatuh, Gianyar