Dating back to the 9th and 11th century, The Elephant Cave Temple locally known as Goa Gajah, is one of the most famous Hindu temples located in Ubud, Bali. Being one of the oldest temples in Bali, the Goa Gajah cave temple is a historically significant archaeological site and a popular tourist attraction. Various structures inside the complex reveal Hindu influences dating back to the 10th century, and some relics feature elements of Buddhism.
Goa Gajah Location:
The Goa Gajah temple is located just 10 minutes south-east of Ubud in Central Bali, Indonesia.
A rented bike would be the best mode of commute in Bali. The location is well marked on Google Maps. You would find no difficulty in locating it.
The roadside and parking area just before the Goa Gajah Temple entrance is lined with various handicrafts, souvenir shops and a few refreshment counters. Park your vehicle and head towards the ticket counter.
Ticket Counter & Entrance Fee:
A short walk from the parking lot will take you to the ticket counter.
Rp 15,000 for per/adult
Rp 7,500 for a child
As with any temple visit in Bali, one needs to cover-up appropriately with a sarong before entering the temple. If you are not carrying one with you, no worries, these are available for rent at the entrance itself.
Once you have collected the entrance ticket, put on your Sarong and you walk down the hill towards the temple grounds.
Goa Gajah Temple Key Highlights
A fleet of stairs take you to the main courtyard with a huge bathing pool in the center and a cave behind it. Following are the key points of interest of the Goa Gajah Temple:
1) Bathing Pools with Fountains
As soon as you arrive in the temple complex, you will find two huge bathing pools sunken in the ground. The walls of each pool have three Hindu angel’s holding waterspouts carved into the stone. The water in the pools are said to have healing medicinal properties and is considered sacred. Immediately in front of the bathing pools is the main Goa Gajah Cave Temple.
2) The Rock-wall Carvings at the Cave Entrance
The Goa Gajah cave temple is characterized by terrifying faces carved into the stone – whose purpose is assumed to be the warding off of evil spirits. Images of forest, animals and foliage are also carved into the face of the rock. To enter inside the cave, one has to walk through the open mouth of a demon carved into the stone. This unique entrance has made it to be one of the most instagrammable spots. There is never a moment you don’t see people posing for a picture.
While, it is said that, the cave was rediscovered by Dutch archaeologists in 1923, the bathing pools with the fountains weren’t discovered until 1954.
3) The Meditation Cave
The interior of the Goa Gajah or the meditation cave is T-shaped. It starts as a thin tunnel opening up into a wider chamber with two shrines at either ends of the caves. Towards the left, there is a shrine with an idol of Lord Ganesha carved out of a black stone. Devotees place their offerings over a raised platform in front of the idol.
On the right, there is another shrine with 3 lingams representing Lord Shiv & Shakti.
4) The Lush Greenery and Other Scenic Vistas
When you’re exploring the site, you will notice many smaller stone shrines with idols of various Gods. There is a huge lotus pond, a small raven and lots of green space for you to roam around and admire the temple complex.
Time Required to explore: Less than 20 minutes
Vehicle Parking: Free
Entrance Fee: Rp. 15.000
Compulsory: Wear a sarong
Things to Keep in Mind
-Always remember that this is a place of religious importance. So, respect the temple and its complex and also the heritage that resides in.
-Sarong is compulsory
-Women during their periods are forbidden entrance.