Goa Gajah also known as Elephant Cave is a very easy place to find and get to if you’re in the Ubud area. If you see buses in the parking lot when you arrive expect to be surrounded by tourists.
It’s a good thing Goa Gajah has many different areas to explore, if one is swarming with visitors you can visit a different section. There’s a large garden, bathing pools, the Elephant Cave, Buddhist Temples, rock carvings along a cliffside pathway and a very large, impressive tree that is said to be sacred.
At the end of the downhill pathway you’ll immediately see a bunch of stones stacked on the left. These were some of the original stones that were part of carvings and temples at the Goa Gajah site. They are said to still contain spirits.
I continued my exploration to the two bathing pools located in front of the sacred tree. The stairs to the pools were scattered and worn, some with moss so be careful if the stones are wet. The six female statues have water streaming into the shallow bathing pools. The holy water is now used for purification purposes not bathing.
The Elephant Cave is to the left of the bathing pools. The distinct carvings outside of the cave are noticeable from a distance and don’t resemble an elephant, in fact the face is a bit scary.
The cave itself is surprisingly smaller then I expected it to be. It’s very dark and filled with incense smoke which made it difficult for me to explore, my allergies instantly kicked in as I entered. The T-shaped cave has small altars, two with three rocks symbolizing the God Shiva and a statue of Lord Ganesha.
I loved wandering around the gardens and area around the Buddhist temple. There are large stone pieces of a carved statue that separated from the upper cliffside and fell into what looks like a small waterfall.
We were told not to enter the area so it’s a bit hard to describe the natural water source. One can walk through the large forest area, stroll around the pond or sit under the huge trees with amazing roots!
It’s quite amazing to know that Goa Gajah was discovered less than a hundred years ago. The cave and bathing pools were buried underground, covered with leaves and hidden by trees. The archeologists did an amazing job reconstructing and displaying what it once was.