Goa Gajah

Open 24/7, no days off
Type of place
One of the oldest monuments on the island. This is not just a cave, but a whole system of temples, pavilions, pools, and statues.
The 'Elephant Cave' is located above the Petanu River in the village of Bedulu.
The first European person visited this place only in 1923. Before that, the site was carefully protected by locals as particularly sacred and revered. There are still debates about whether this cave is a Hindu or Buddhist landmark. Both religions have clearly influenced the decoration and ambiance of the place.
The first mention of this place is found in the Javanese chronicle Nagarakertagama, compiled by Mpu Prapanca in 1365. It specifically mentions that a highly enlightened Buddhist lived here with his hermit disciples.
The entrance to the cave is designed as the face of a huge demon, protecting the place from onlookers. There are many different theories about who this demon is and why the cave is called the Elephant Cave. The most common version is that the cave is named after the Hindu god Ganesha, whose statue is located deep inside the cave and who is one of the main Hindu gods.
The cave grotto is T-shaped. There are 15 niches carved into the walls, apparently for meditation. The walls of the cave are dotted with small recesses for lamps. It is very dark inside the cave, so be sure to bring flashlights.
Near the entrance to the cave are two pools: one for men and one for women. You can reach the cave by taxi or rented bike. Like any place in Bali, it is best to come early in the morning. It will be less hot and less crowded. Entrance to the cave costs 15,000 rupiah for adults and 7,500 for children.