Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Bali 2010 - Goa Gajah

Goa Gajah (Elephant Cave) is one of the most well-known temples in Bali due to its unique cave dedicated to Ganesha (one of the Hindu deities with an elephantine nose). My last visit was many years back, and from memory it was a bit more secluded then it is now. From the car park, you walk through a small souvenir market before going down some steps towards the temple site. On one side of the main plaza are some remnants of an old Buddhist temple - these are thought to be from the same era as Borobudur in Indonesia.


There are 2 large square bathing pools on the other side of the plaza, and the cave is right at the end of the plaza. The pools are thought to be a fountain of youth. Water trickle into the pool from stone jars held by maidens carved into the wall.


The mouth of the cave has a large carving which depicts a demonic creature. It is strange and yet beautiful. The poolside folly at Grand Hyatt Bali was closely based on this carving. The cave itself is quite small and only a few visitors are allowed to go in at any one time. It is dark and stuffy inside, but well worth a visit.


Besides the cave, there are also some other temples in the nearby forest. Take a short walk following the footpath and you will see some interesting large stone carvings lying in the jungle stream. They look like remnants of an alien civilization.


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