Goa Gajah

Elephant Cave or better known as Goa Gajah is the name of a place with the archeological heritage in form of a cave ornamented by the beautiful relief on the outside wall of cave. This place is formerly as a park, a place of retreat for Shiva Priest and Buddhist monks. Goa Gajah is located in the west side of Bedulu Village, Blahbatuh District and Gianyar Regency which is about 27 km from Denpasar City. This cave is built on the brink of a meeting between two small rivers those are called by Kali Pangkung then it water mixing with Petanu River flows under it. The meeting area of two rivers is called by Campuhan/mixed which is deemed to have a magical power based on concept of Rwabhineda (two differences). Based on this concept seems Goa Gajah is intentionally built in two rivers.

The Story of Goa Gajah Goa Gajah word probably derived from the word of Lwa Gajah, the name of Vihara (Buddhist Temple) or the park for Buddhist monks. This name had been written on Lontar (palm leaf) of Negarakertagama compiled by Mpu Prapanca in 1365 AD. Lwa or Lwah/Loh means river so what is meant here is the hermitage located in Gajah River or Air Gajah. It was also mentioned in the inscription year 944 Saka that Ser Ring Air Gajah that is means the chief of Subak (irrigation system organization) at Air Gajah. It is signaled that the hermitage of Lwa Gajah located at Gajah River Subak. In the inscription year 1103 Saka issued by Jayapangus King (the king who famous with it authority, which make the Bali's name become famous in that era) mentioning that Air Gajah is a hermitage for Shiva Priest. Based on this date, it can be concluded that the hermitage is now renamed to Goa Gajah. In the past named:

  • Air Gajah is a hermitage for Shiva Priest
  • Lwa Gajah is a hermitage for Buddhist monks
In addition to the name of Air Gajah and Lwa Gajah, it is also mentioned the hermitage's name of Antakunjarapada that is on Dawan Inscription year 975 Saka and Pandak Bandung inscription year 993 Saka. If we consider the sense of word, then Kunjara means Gajah, Anta means end or limits, Pada means area/region. When it is combined the word means Gajah Border Region, probably means the hermitage located on the Subak Border Region (Air Gajah). Based on this prediction, the hermitage of Antakunjarapada is the hermitage of Gua Gajah. So in the past century, the Goa Gajah has 3 designations to name of hermitage located on the Subak Border Region (Air Gajah) includes Air Gajah (name in the ancient of Bahasa Malayu or Bali), Lwa Gajah (name in the ancient of Java Language) and Antakunjarapada (name in the Sanskrit).

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