Perched on a cliff just a few meters away from the main road which connects Ubud and Tampaksiring regions in Bali, a small yet bizzare cave attracts curious visitors from all over the world. But first, they must walk through a courtyard with small statues around and a bathing pool in the center of it. Before people can completely absorb the atmosphere of this place, a huge demon-like carving catches everyone’s attention for its grotesque appearance.
This is the Elephant Cave, owing its name probably from a small statue of Ganesh/Ganesha (a Hindu god with the body of a human but the head of an elephant) inside the cave. The cave itself is a very small T-shaped cave which is also filled with lingga and yoni (Hindu symbols of fertility, male and female respectively).
You won’t get too excited for the cave I must say. But if you take a stroll further downhill, you will find a creek where some large stones are located. However they are no ordinary stones because they used to be part of a Buddhist structure up in the hill (or presumably so). Yes, you heard it right, a Buddhist structure in a predominantly Hindu society of Bali. I haven’t made any proper research regarding to this. But probably it is a remnant of pre-Majapahit period in Bali (Majapahit is a Hindu kingdom which is also the largest kingdom ever recorded in Indonesian history with an area covering what is now modern-day Indonesia, Malaysia and Southern Philippines).
I am always excited to find two or more different cultures or religions living side by side (even just remnants of them) just like what I saw in Jogjakarta back in January 2011. History does teach us lessons, only if we open our mind and heart.
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