Goa Gajah, The Elephant Cave

Located in a short distance of former princedom Bedulu or Beda-Hulu, this unique ancient and mysterious site is fantastically carved into the rock-face which possibly date around 11th century.

The origins of the name Goa Gajah are uncertain. Some claim that the name comes from the world 'Lwa Gajah' recorded in ancient Javanese writings saying the cave was the home of an important Buddhist priest. Another opinion suggests that the name originates from the statue of Gannesha which is located in the western corner of the cave, part of the statue being an elephant's trunk.

Whether it was originally a Buddhist or Hindu hermitage cannot be answered with certainty, for there are both Hindu and Buddhist sculptures inside or outside the cave. Perhaps monks of both religions had hermitages close to one another. In pre-Majapahit Java and Bali, the two religions, both influenced by Tantric beliefs and practices, had begun to amalgamate into what is called the Siwa- Buddha cult. Buddhist practices and doctrines survive to this day amongst a small segment of the Brahmana broken bas-reliefs of stupas and a tiny cavern priests who are mostly found in East Bali.

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