Pura Goa Lawah (the Bat Cave Temple) is one of the island’s nine special temples (Sad Kahyangan) and honours the God Maheswara who resides in this part of the island. The temple is located on a beautiful part of the coast in south east Bali, near Candidasa. The temple is a very popular destination for foreign visitors, and is visited daily for local processions and ceremonies.
The centre of the temple is built around a natural cave which is said to lead all the way to Pura Goa in Besakih, some 30 km away. The central cave is home to a colony of fruit bats that live on the roof and walls. Legend has it that the bats are a ready source of food for the legendary giant snake, Naga Basuki, who lives in the cave at Pura Goa, Besakih and who is the caretaker of earthâs equilibrium; a belief that stems from ancient pre-Hindu animism and links the cave and its inhabitants back though millennia.
The entry to the cave was said to have been discovered by the sage Danghyang Nirartha (a priest who spread the Hindu teachings in Bali) when he stopped at the cave entrance and his senses were overtaken by flowers from a nearby tree and the view of the coastline to Nusa Penida. Â He stayed several nights and an entry temple was built to honour his visit and discovery of the bat cave.