Goa Lawah Temple
Goa Lawah Temple
Goa Lawah Temple is considered one of the most important of temples in Bali. It is a very unique and unusual temple as it is constructed around the opening of a cave where large colonies of bats reside. The name itself in Goa Lawah translated means ‘bat cave’.
Once at the main entrance you will see two huge banyan trees standing tall. Once inside, you will now enter the central courtyard and notice three bale pavilions located in three corners of the building. The purpose of the bales are for two main reasons, firstly for placing offerings of fruit and the other for a place where gamelan bands can play during religious ceremonies.
Within the centre of the temple complex you will discover ancient shrines. These shrines have endured centuries of colonies of nectar eating bats as they make a loud chirping sound in front of and behind the shrines at the opening of the cave. It is here that you can also see the famous Shivaite shine, which has survived for thousands of years. Also here is a the decorative bale with the carvings of the mythical dragon Naga Basuki who in local tradition is said to keep the balance within the universe. This was once a place for local priests to gather and meditate, although it seems hard to believe once you experience the constant chirping of the bats at the cave’s entrance. It is said though that the high pitched noise emanating from the bat cave is ideal for focusing one’s thoughts during meditation.
Goa Lawah Temple was built sometime around the 11th Century by one of the first priests of Hinduism in Bali in Mpu Kuturan. The temple is very popular with travelling locals who visit with offerings and participate in prayers before continuing their trip. It is one of the most fascinating temples in Bali and extremely popular with overseas visitors who want to experience traditional historically significant sites.Across the road is Goa Lawah Beach where you can see the coastline of Nusa Penida Island on a clear day.
The temple has gone through extensive renovations over recent years to prevent any further erosion. It is one of Bali’s most popular temples and the resting place for long pilgramages from other temples along the coastlines and also the place for where temple artifacts and sacred heirlooms are blessed near the ocean.
Legend of Goa Lawah Temple
Legend says that the prince of Mengwi Kingdom was hiding from his enemies inside of the bat cave and then followed through emerging at Besakih Temple at the base of Mount Agung. According to the locals in the area, the cave heads into three different directions. The first leading to Mount Agung (Besakih), the second to Talibeng and the third to Tangkid Bangbang. There are also stories that when Mount Agung erupted in 1963 that volcanic ash was coming from Goa Lawah.
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