Seven Bali Holidays

Pura Goa Lawah ( Bat Cave Temple )

Mystical Bat Cave temple

One of Bali's most important temples is Goa Lawah. It has a structure built around a cave mouth where swarms of bats can be found. Its name translates simply to 'Bat Cave.' Mpu Kuturan, one of the early priests who laid the roots of Hinduism on the island, founded the temple in the 11th century.

It's a popular stopover for Balinese traveling to the eastern sections of the island, who bring offerings and short prayers before continuing on their journey. It is frequently included in many temple trips for foreign visitors and is one of the first sites on tours to Candidasa and the Karangasem regency. The silhouette of Nusa Penida Island can be seen clearly on the horizon from Goa Lawah.

Highlights of the Goa Lawah Temple
At Goa Lawah's main entrance, tall banyan trees grow tall. When you enter the temple's center courtyard, you'll notice three bale (pavilions) in each of the three corners. Fruit gifts are generally placed on these bales, and gamelan bands perform during significant rituals. Age-old shrines are the focal point, having endured hordes of honey bats chirping incessantly around and behind the shrines near the cave entrance. There's also a Shivaite shrine that's been standing for thousands of years, as well as a bale adorned with themes of Naga Basuki, the mythological dragon who's said to keep the universe in check. Despite the fact that it seemed hard to meditate in the midst of the chirping, with the hollow cave mouth increasing the noise, it was once a location for priests to go deep into meditation. Many people believe that their ability to concentrate was assisted by the frequent natural high pitches. Goa Lawah's atmosphere becomes truly unique around piodalan temple anniversaries, with pilgrims dressed in vibrant traditional garb carrying colorful parasols and flags.
Mystery Goa Lawah Temple
One unsolved enigma is if the tradition of a secret tunnel passage leading to Besakih Temple, 25 kilometers northeast at the foot of Mount Agung, is true. According to legend, a prince from the Mengwi kingdom hid from foes inside the cave and then proceeded through, finally emerging at Besakih Temple, located north-east of this place, at the foot of Mount Agung. No one has tried to prove or illuminate this intriguing story. The cave goes to three separate sites, according to the people and temple community: Mount Agung (Besakih), Talibeng, and Tangkid Bangbang. When Mount Agung erupted in 1963, there are several tales of ash falling from the sky around Goa Lawah.
It's great to learn about the Goa Lawah Temple.
The best time to visit is in the mornings, when the majority of the inhabitants from adjacent villages come to pray. The huge trees give a balance of shade to moderate the scorching southern beach breezes from across the road, making afternoons pleasant. Nectar bats swarm the skies above the temple at sunset, feasting on airborne insects. On the Balinese Pawukon calendar, the piodalan (great temple anniversary) of Goa Lawah occurs every 210 days. It also celebrates its anniversary on the same day as Uluwatu Temple. The temple is well-managed and maintained, despite the frequent flow of pilgrims and visitors. Expect a larger crowd of pilgrims in the days leading up to the Nyepi holiday, when Melasti ceremonies are performed on Saka New Year Eve. Long pilgrimages from numerous temples, like Goa Lawah, are made to the coasts to be blessed with precious heirlooms and temple goods.

Open : Daily, 09.00 am - 05.00 pm

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