Ubud is an ideal launchpad for making sorties into the heart of Bali, especially the hills and we had an amazing trip to Kintamani a day before Galungan. Our plan was to go all the way to Mount Batur and see the temples and other places on the way. Not keen about taking the slow Bemos (buses), we asked our guesthouse folks to arrange for a rented car with driver. The cost of the trip was supposed to be around IDR 500,000 and they even arranged two more travellers who would share the car and the rent.
On the day of the trip, the car arrived early in the morning. Wayan, a cheerful fellow who made the trip a great experience, was our driver cum guide for the day. Our co-passengers were Sonna, a teacher from Sweden who set out to explore the world and to find happiness; and Cynthia, a shy and soft spoken financial accountant from Germany who was on a trip to Indonesia and Australia before joining a new job. They were good company and it was fun travelling with them. So off we went, on the Kintamani tour..
Children’s Names in Bali
In Bali, the first born son is named Wayan, or Gede or Putu, second is Made or Kadek” third is Nyoman or Komang and so on. Imagine a classroom full of students named either Wayans, Mades or Nyomans !
Goa Gajah or the Elephant Cave is nearest to Ubud and hence was our first destination. It is a cave temple dating back to the 11th century AD and is still used for worship. It is named so because of its close proximity to the Elephant river (Goa – Cave, Gajah – Elephant). The unique feature of the cave is the the fresco on its entrance which looks like the gaping mouth of a fierce demon. However once you get in, it is not as fierce. There are Shivalingas and a statue of Lord Ganesha in this ‘T’ shaped cave.
Outside the Goa Gajah are some small pagoda-like temples and statues of Ganas. There is a bathing area next to them with steps going down to a set of twin ponds. On one side of the ponds are statues of Indian rivers like Ganga, Yamuna and Indus, water flowing from the pots in their hands. The ponds look beautiful with all the lotus and colourful fish.
Sons of Brahma
Did you know that of the rivers that flow in India, all are considered female except three – Brahmaputra, Son and Indus, which are considered males. Of these three, Brahmaputra and Indus are two of the mightiest rivers in the world.
As we walked down the temple, a dense canopy welcomed us with a tropical forest type feel. This mini forest has a mountain stream gushing down the rocks, steps that went up to a small Buddhist temple and paddy fields further above. Overall the place was very pretty and calm just like the whole of Ubud is.
The takeaways from Goa Gajah were loads of photographs, and a sarong for which Ekta bargained so hard that even Wayan was impressed at the price she got it at .. Soon we were off to the next destination – a temple dedicated to Indra.