EST. 2009

December 20, 2018

That Cave of Wonders

THERE ARE NO ACTUAL ELEPHANTS IN GOA GAJAH, the site of a man-made cave misleadingly called Elephant Cave. Its intricate doorway depicts a giant menacing face surrounded by various forest and animal figures, none of which are elephants. It is suspected that the cave’s name derives from a series of inaccurate translations over time.

If not elephants, what’s there to find? Numerous stone steps below street level, the site is a complex comprising the cave, a pool with seven statues, a temple, and a rock garden, all nestled among lush forest greens. Palms tower overhead, fresh water runs below. Beyond are small farms and the postcard rice paddies of Bali.

Goa Gajah’s location was considered sacred by its founding people, who built the complex on a hillside where two streams met to form a river junction. Dating as far back as the 11th century, it is but one of many archeological sites in Bedulu, once the capital of a great kingdom ruled by the Balinese king Dalem Bedaulu.

Pop by for a wander around, sweaty climbs up many stone steps, and if you're lucky, prepare to be literally blessed.

Goa Gajah Elephant Cave, Bedulu Bali.