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Goa Gajah

Goa Gajah is Historical Site of Hinduism and Buddhism

Goa Gajah

Goa Gajah is located in Banjar Goa, Bedulu Village, Blahbatuh, Gianyar which is one of the historical caves and has been recognized by the UN World Organization (UNESCO) to be one of the world heritages. This holy place is often referred to as the Elephant Cave Temple. This Goa Gajah complex contains Hindu and Buddhist relics, because in the cave there is a lingga yoni (symbol of Shiva) and a picture of Ganesha which is a Hindu heritage, while on the riverbank there are carvings of stupas and chattra which are Buddhist relics. So it is clear that the basic concept in the Goa Gajah temple is a mixed culture of Hinduism and Buddhism (Buddism and Shivaism) is archaeological evidence in Goa Gajah which is a reflection of past religious tolerance that we can still find today in Bali.

History of Goa Gajah

Goa Gajah Temple was built by "Raja Sri Bedahulu" or by another name "Raja Sri Astasura Ratna Bumi Banten" in 1365 AD, and this king was conquered by Maha Patih Gajah Mada in 1341 AD, and became a subordinate kingdom of Majapahit. The origin of the word Goa Gajah comes from the word Lwa Gajah in the lontar Negara Kertha Gama written by Mpu Prapanca in 1365 AD where there is the name "Lwa Gajah" which means the word "Lwa" means river and the word "Gajah" which means a temple worship for Buddhist monks. So the name of the word "Lwa Gajah" can be interpreted as a place for Buddhist monks who are located on the riverbank.

The initial discovery of Goa Gajah started from the official report of the Dutch East Indies by L.C. Heyting in 1923, who reported the discovery of the Ganesha statue, the Tri Lingga statue, as well as the Hariti Statue to the Dutch East Indies government. Then Dr. W.F. Stutterhiem started doing further research in 1925, until 1950, J.L. Krijgman and the state government began to carry out further research again. Until 1954 to 1979 several excavations began. Some of the discoveries from the excavation include an ancient sacred bathing pool or a petirtaan with six female-shaped statues. Until now, this discovery is still used as a ritual by local people with various beliefs.