Whenever I take people to the Elephant Cave Temple, I will always say,"Ok, now it is time to play Indiana Jones." This ancient site always remind me of the movie. So, why is this a special place?
Well, first thing first. You will not find any elephant here, only the name is Elephant Cave or Goa Gajah. Why does it call Elephant Cave? The Sanskrit name of this temple is Antakunjarapada. This name can be traced down to a place in South India where there was an ashram located on slope of "Mount Kunjara" called "Kunjarakunja" or "Agastya-malai." Kunjarakunja itself means Jungle of Elephants. Historians believe that this is the origin or the reason why the temple is called Goa Gajah. Even the design of Goa Gajah depicts a scene of an ashram that is located in mountainous area.
Before you walk to the cave, you need to wear a sarong or a sash provided at the entrance. After paying the ticket, you will see announcement of the regulation of entering the temple. One of them is that you need to dress properly, and ladies during their menstruation are not allowed to enter. That's written there.
Then you will walk down into the steps that will lead you to the main courtyard. There are seven fountains called sapta gangga. This was the place where the monks cleanse themelf before they enter the cave for their prayer and meditation.
Beside the Sapta Gangga, 5 metres to the left, is the Elephant Cave. There carvings of forests all over the entrance to the cave. When you enter the cave you will see holes on the wall, possibly these were places for the monks to sit. Turning left will lead you to a shrine of Lord Ganesh or Ganesha, while turning to the right will leads you to shrines for worshipping Lord Brahma, Vishnu, and Civa.
You can take pictures anywhere in the temple, but you can not go high or climb any thing. Since higher place is considered holy.
When you finish at the temple, you can go out. You will notice that there are more temple buildings outside. These buildings are fairly new compared to the 11 century Elephant Cave.
Okay, that's our mini tour to Elephant Cave. Hope You enjoyed it.