Goa Gajah Temple Bali

Goa Gajah Temple Bali, Elephant Cave Temple

Goa Gajah Temple Bali is one of Bali’s Interest places to visit at Gianyar Regency this place is well known as Bali Elephant Cave Temple.

All You Need To Know About Goa Gajah Temple

Goa Gajah Temple Bali is one of the Bali Tourist Attractions at Gianyar Regency and this site is called Bali Elephant Cave Temple. Goa Gajah is a place with archeological heritage in form of a cave ornamented by the beautiful relief on the outside wall of the cave. This place is formerly a park, a place of retreat for Shiva Priest and Buddhist monks. Goa Gajah is located on the west side of Bedulu Village, Blahbatuh District, and Gianyar Regency which is about 27 km from Denpasar City.

Story of Goa Gajah Temple Bali

The word Goa Gajah is anticipated to come from the word of Lwa Gajah, the name of the Buddhist Temple or hermitage for Buddhist monks. The Goa Gajah’s name is written on Negara Kertagama papyrus which is compiled by Mpu Prapanca on 1365 M. Lwa or Lwah/Loh means the river and it reflects the meaning that the hermitage is located at Gajah River or in Air Gajah. In the year inscription 944 Saka, it is mentioned with the name ‘ser ring Air Gajah’ that is meaning the Subak leader in Air Gajah.

The word has mentioned that the hermitage of Lwa Gajah is located in Subak Air Gajah. Among the local residents, the Goa Gajah Temple Bali is better known as Cave Temple, located in the west of Bedahulu Village, Blahbatuh Subdistrict, Gianyar Regency. It is about 27 km east of Denpasar.

A visit to this temple can be done easily because it is only a few feet below the highway toward the village of Tampaksiring Indeed this temple was built in the valley of Petanu River having a beautiful natural panorama.

In the past named:

  • Air Gajah is a hermitage for Shiva Priest
  • Lwa Gajah is a hermitage for Buddhist monks

In addition to the name of Air Gajah and Lwa Gajah, it is also mentioned the hermitage’s name of Antakunjarapada that is on Dawan Inscription year 975 Saka and Pandak Bandung inscription year 993 Saka. If we consider the sense of the word, then Kunjara means Gajah, Anta means end or limits, and Pada means area/region.

When it is combined the word means Gajah Border Region, which probably means the hermitage located in the Subak Border Region (Air Gajah). Based on this prediction, the hermitage of Antakunjarapada is the hermitage of Gua Gajah. So in the past century, the Goa Gajah has 3 designations for the name of the hermitage located on the Subak Border Region (Air Gajah) including Air Gajah (name in the ancient Bahasa Malayu or Bali), Lwa Gajah (name in the ancient of Java Language) and Antakunjarapada (name in Sanskrit).

Goa Gajah Temple
Goa Gajah Temple Bali

Goa Gajah Temple Relief

The structure and relief of Goa Gajah can be explained the structure of Goa Gajah is a T-shape consisting of:

  • The outside of the cave is a vertical-shaped hall, divided into 2 parts and each section has 2 niches.
  • The inside of the main room has 11 niches with horizontal shipped. There is a statue of Lord Ganesha set in the west corner, meanwhile, in the east corner there are 3 on the pedestal and each phallus is surrounded by a small phallus.

Therefore the hermitage of Goa Gajah is an artificial form of asceticism Kunjarakunja located in the south part of India, in the mountain forest of Kunjara as a hermitage of Rsi Agastya, hence the relief carved at the hermitage of Goa Gajah is a natural mountain carving.

Among the reliefs, there are trees with limbs and dense leaves. There are also animals such as wild boars, tortoises, and ghosts that seem to creep up the slopes of the mountains and stack the corners of the forest area. At the mouth of the cave as an entrance, it is ornamented by the sculpture of Kala Head with his eyes glancing to the left side or east wall there is a brief with letter of Kediri type or Kediri Kwadrat from the beginning of the 11 century.

The function of the Kala is identical to a Bhoma contained on the gate of a Hindu temple in Bali, namely to maintain the sanctity of asceticism and provide protection. It can be added that this cave was discovered in 1923 and is previously covered by grass and trees so its existence is still hidden as a relic.

Other Relics

A few yards from the cave which is in the middle of the cave courtyard, there is a pond of Patirtaan, a place to take Tirta or holy water for the ceremony. The holy pond was originally buried in the ground and successfully found in 1954 by Krijgsman from the department of antiquities.

This holy pond is completed by the statues equipped with showers in form of Widyadara-Widyadari (angels) arranged in a group of three lines with 6 statues ( 5 statues have been put back). At first, there 7 fountain statues, a statue was set in the middle as an interrupter but its existence has not been known until now.

The existence of 7 fountain statues are based on the concept of Sapta Tirtha, the seven holy water which has a purity equal to Sapta Nadi (seven purified river includes Gangga, Sindhu, Saraswati, Yamuna, Godawari, Serayu, and Narmada. It is symbolic that taking the water from each fountain has a sacred value like the sacred of Sapta Nadi.

Goa Gajah Temple Locations

It is about 27 km from Denpasar town. This cave is built at the crevasse edge of the federation of 2 rills that is called the Pangkung River, where the irrigation is mixed with the Petanu River flow. The federation area of two rivers is called Campuhan/Mixture. It owns the magical energy on the basis of the Rwabineda Concept/two different matters on this basic concept hence Goa Gajah Temple or Elephant Cave Temple is intentionally built among two rivers.

Goa Gajah Temple Bali Map

Related Bali Tour Package To Visit Elephant Cave Temple Bali