Elephant Cave or better known as Goa Gajah is the name of a place with the archeological heritage in form of a cave ornamented by the beautiful relief on the outside wall of cave. This place is formerly as a park, a place of retreat for Shiva Priest and Buddhist monks. Goa Gajah is located in the west side of Bedulu Village, Blahbatuh District and Gianyar Regency which is about 27 km from Denpasar City. This cave is built on the brink of a meeting between two small rivers those are called by Kali Pangkung then it water mixing with Petanu River flows under it. The meeting area of two rivers is called by Campuhan/mixed which is deemed to have a magical power based on concept of Rwabhineda (two differences). Based on this concept seems Goa Gajah is intentionally built in two rivers.
The Elephant Cave, Goa Gajah, Bali, is located approximately twenty-six kilometers from Denpasar or a short distance from Bedulu – before you will see the mysterious Goa Gajah or Elephant Cave. . It is easy to find as it is by the side of the main road, just East of the crossroads in Teges village.
The Goa GAjah, Elephant Cave have a fantastically carved entrance depicts entangling animals,leaves, ocean waves, rocks and demonic human shapes running from the gaping mouth. The mouth is the entrance to the Goa Gajah, Elephant Cave. The monstrous Kala head that looms above the entrance of the Elephant Cave, Goa Gajah, seems to part the rock with her hands.
You can make out the profile of an elephant if you look at the face’s hair; the elephant’s trunk is hanging over its ear to the right. The area around the Goa Gajah, Elephant Cave is very beautiful and the cave itself is a very important archaeological site, as it holds the remains of an ancient Buddhist monument. Inside the Elephant Cave, Goa Gajah, you will see that these remains must be of the same era as the grand Borobudur temple in central Java. Also the site of the Elephant Cave, Goa Gajah holds relics of the God Shiva.
The origins of the name of the Elephant Cave: Goa Gajah are uncertain. Some claim that the name: Goa Gajah, comes from the world ‘Lwa Gajah’ (“Elephant river”) recorded in ancient Javanese writings saying the cave was the home of an important Buddhist priest. Other suggests that the name of the Elephant Cave Goa Gajah originates from the statue of Ganesha, which is located in the western corner of the Elephant Cave, where a part of a statue is an elephant’s trunk.
Besides The Shiva relics inside the Elephant Cave, Goa Gajah, there are several Buddhist remains such as the statues of Buddha and Harito. The same style as the statues found in Borobudur temple, which indicate that it most likely is made in the eighth century. The Elephant Cave, Goa Gajah appears to have been the center of religious worship of the God Shiva.
Built at least 700 years ago, the cave was rediscovered in the 1920s and fully excavated 30 years later.
In front of the Elephant Cave, Goa Gahaj are enormous rectangular bathing pools with water fountains. Excavations carried out in 1954 unearthed bathing places in front of the Elephant Cave, Goa Gahaj with six female figures, nymphs or goddesses holding water spouts.