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Temples on Bali

In every village in Bali, there are several temples and at least one small one in each home. One can therefore safely say that there are more temples than homes in Bali. Most of these temples are shrines and might not be regarded as actual temples, but the number of walled compounds is believed to reach to a total of 10,000.

Goa Gajah temple
A temple with Hindu and Buddhist influences

At the facade of Goa Gajah ('Elephant Cave') cave is a relief of various menacing creatures and demons carved right into the rock at the cave entrance. The primary figure was once thought to be an elephant, hence the nickname Elephant Cave. The site is mentioned in the Javanese poem Desawarnana written in 1365. Despite its great antiquity some parts of the Goa Gajah complex were not excavated until the 1950s.
Picture: Goa Gajah
The complex at Bedulu village is just 2 km south east of Ubud on the main road to Gianyar. The centerpiece here is a cave dating back to the 11th century the entrance of which is an ornately carved demon's mouth. Inside are some fragmentary lingam and yoni ('phallus' and 'vagina') statues, as well as a statue of Ganesha. Statues stand guard around pools near the entrance. A number of the relics here strongly indicate that the site has a Buddhist as well as Hindu past.
The entrance of the cave displays some kind of creature with it's mouth wide open. The cave has a 13-meter-long path that ends up in two directions. At the end of the left part there is a one-meter-high statue of Ganesha with four arms (a Hindu goddess with the head of an elephant). In the other part there are three linga that represent the manifestations of Shiva. In front or the entrance is a statue of the Buddhist godess Hariti.

Location map of Goa Gajah temple

Last revised on December 25, 2009
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