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Photographer's Note

The entrance to the Goa Gajah cave is richly carved in the face of a demon with huge open mouth, large eyes, big moustache & big teeth.

The name Goa Gajah (English = Elephant Cave) was probably derived from a name mentioned in a scripture called Negara Kertagama written during the reign of King Hayam Wuruk of Majapahit kingdom in 1328 AD. In this scripture it is mentioned that the king had a hermitage on the slope of a mountain called "Lwa Gajah". Another assumption is that the shape of the cave (the entrance of which is decorated with carvings looking like a demon/monster) from a distance, looks like elephant head. Yet another opinion is that the name comes from a wooden Ganesha which is inside the cave.

We entered the cave through the demon's gaping mouth. The cave itself is really rather small. The short tunnel from the entrance dead-ends in front of a statue of Ganesha. Inside T-shaped the cave, apart from the Ganesha statue were some lingams.

I took this angular POV keeping the meru structure of the kulkul on the right & showing the slope of the green hill on which the cave has been carved. The more common straight-on view of the cave entrance is posted in WS.

Note the stone statues of the Hindu gods at the entrance are dressed in checkered sarongs or cloth. This can be seen all over in Bali. I understood from our driver that the black and white checks were important because they represent the balance of good and evil — "the head and the stomach".

In Bali, the stories and the dances show the conflict between good and evil, but good never "triumphs" over evil — the balance is simply restored. Amazing, isn’t it?

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Additional Photos by Angshuman Chatterjee (Angshu) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 7852 W: 324 N: 16061] (56760)
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