Goa Lawah (Bat Cave) Temple

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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.

Nestled along the rugged coastline of eastern Bali lies the ancient and mystical Goa Lawah, or Bat Cave Temple, a site steeped in history and spiritual significance. Located in the Klungkung Regency, this sacred temple is shrouded in myth and legend, captivating visitors with its eerie beauty and rich cultural heritage.

 

SHORT HISTORY

The history of Goa Lawah Temple dates back centuries, with origins deeply intertwined with Balinese Hindu mythology. Legend has it that the temple was built around a natural cave inhabited by thousands of bats, believed to be manifestations of protective spirits guarding the entrance to the underworld.

According to local lore, the cave is said to extend deep into the earth, reaching all the way to the sacred Mount Agung, the highest peak in Bali and a revered spiritual site. As such, Goa Lawah is considered one of the island’s most sacred temples, attracting pilgrims and devotees from far and wide who come to pay homage to the gods and seek blessings for health, prosperity, and protection.

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 earth’s 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.  He stayed several nights and an entry temple was built to honour his visit and discovery of the bat cave.

Aside from its spiritual significance, Goa Lawah is also a testament to Bali’s rich architectural heritage. The temple complex is adorned with ornate stone carvings and traditional Balinese architecture, with intricate pagodas and shrines nestled among the lush tropical foliage. Visitors can explore the temple grounds, marveling at the intricate details and soaking in the tranquil ambiance.

One of the most striking features of Goa Lawah is the row of shrines that line the entrance to the cave, each adorned with colorful offerings and sacred symbols. As visitors approach the cave, they are greeted by the sight and sound of thousands of bats hanging from the ceiling, their chirps and flutters adding to the mystical atmosphere.

For those seeking a deeper understanding of Bali’s spiritual traditions and cultural heritage, a visit to Goa Lawah offers a unique opportunity to connect with the island’s ancient past. Whether marveling at the natural beauty of the cave, exploring the temple grounds, or simply soaking in the serene ambiance, travelers to Goa Lawah are sure to be captivated by the sense of mystery and wonder that permeates this sacred site.

 

At Individual Bali Hospitality, we specialize in crafting unforgettable holiday experiences in Bali, ensuring each moment is filled with joy and lasting memories. Our team is dedicated to curating personalized itineraries tailored to your preferences, allowing you to explore Bali’s cultural treasures, natural wonders, and hidden gems with ease. Contact us today at info@individualbali.com or via WhatsApp at +62-811-399-513 to start planning your dream vacation in Bali.

 

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