Bali is known as the island of a thousand temples. In truth there are many more than that, every family has a temple in their “home compound” as well as their town or neighborhood.
Andy and I decided to skip the tour this time and rent our own motorbike to go on the adventure. The man who rented us the motorbike for the day also provided us with a map. He marked relatively easy to find temples along a main highway stretch. We set off and found the first one within 20 minutes of our journey. After donning some pretty awesome SARONGS we were off to see the temple.
Goa Gajah actually means elephant cave and was built in the 9th century as a sanctuary. The entrance to the cave supposedly looks like an elephant but I think it looks more like an evil monkey man.
Once inside the cave you can pray to the three main Hindu deities: Brahma: the creator, Vishnu- the preserver or protector and to Shiva: the destroyer or judge.
Outside the cave was a holy bathing area made to ward off evil spirits, and tourists are allowed to wash their hands and face in the water.
There were also many large Buddhist statues that stood in ruins after an earthquake in the early 1900’s. The ruins now are covered with moss and are surrounded by water from a nearby waterfall.
Many large trees are considered sacred here (you know this by seeing the checkered sarong wrapped around the base of the tree) and Andy and I were able to take an awkward family photo by one of them :)