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Goa Gajah - Elephant cave in 360°
Goa Gajah meaning “Elephant Cave” in Indonesian is a famous tourist attraction near Bedulu. It is believed to be built during the Pejeng Royal era (early 11th century). This T-shape cave was a unique place of worship revered both by Buddhist monks and Hindus. The cave was rediscovered in 1923, and the bathing-place in front of it was excavated in 1954. The sacred bathing-place is decorated with reliefs of goddess Wijadari.
1. What to see
The cave mouth looks like an elephant's head, but in fact it is a powerful demon face relief. Inside there is a 1m tall figure with four arms representing the elephant-headed god Ganesha, son of Shiva. The three lingams in the opposite corner are symbolizing Shiva in his three manifestations as Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva himself. You'll find eight small phallic symbols around each lingam, representing the eight guardians of the world.
2. When to see
Goa Gajah elephant cave is open daily 8am-5:30pm except for Nyepi day. Alike in all Hindu temples in Bali, a compulsory sarong can be hired at the entrance to enter the temple.
4. How to get there
Most tourists visit Bali on a package tour that includes an option to select from a range of excursions. If travelling on your own, probably the easiest way is to rent a car with a driver for an entire day. It is not recommended to drive on your own in Indonesia due to the general negligance of driving rules. Singposts are written with Latin alphabet, but it might be difficult to find remote places on your own.
5. Where to stay
There are plenty of hotels to stay in Bali, the best beaches can be found at Kuta, Sanur and Nusa Dusa. If you prefer sightseeing, Sanur area is highly recommended since it has the best location to avoid the traffic jams of Denpasar.