Nestled in the enchanting landscapes of Bali, Goa Lawah Temple stands as a captivating place of interest that lures in countless visitors. This sacred sanctuary, also known as the Bat Cave, boasts a breathtaking sea temple with a complex built around a mystical cave opening. Within this sacred cave, hordes of bats have made their home, creating an otherworldly ambiance that is sure to leave a lasting impression.
Steeped in history, Goa Lawah Temple was established in the 11th century by Mpu Kuturan, one of the pioneering priests who played a vital role in laying the foundations of Hinduism on the island. Situated in the village of Pesinggahan, Dawan district, this awe-inspiring landmark lies at the border of the Klungkung and Karangasem regencies. It serves as a crucial first stop for those embarking on tours to Candidasa and the further eastern regions of the Karangasem regency.
To reach Goa Lawah Temple, one must embark on an hour-long drive from the Kuta area or cover approximately 50 kilometers from Denpasar airport in an eastern direction. As the temple lies in the Klungkung Regency, Dawan Village, it beckons travelers with its alluring beauty and compelling energy. One’s journey to this sacred site is further enhanced by the picturesque beach located right in front of it, boasting crystal-clear waters that add a touch of magic to the Lawah cave.
What sets Goa Lawah Temple apart is the captivating presence of a colony of bats that inhabit the cave passages. These sacred creatures are protected by local customary rules, forbidding anyone from hunting or disturbing them. These bats are believed to be guardians of the temple, their nocturnal activities becoming a mesmerizing phenomenon that leaves visitors in awe. Visitors have the rare opportunity to witness the bats in action as they emerge from the temple in search of food. The bats take turns, creating a spectacle that is both fascinating and poetic. Can you imagine if all the bats left the cave simultaneously? It would be as if the entire area were enveloped in a cloud of these mystical creatures.
Moreover, the temple features a bat relief at one of the gates, aptly named Gelung Temples. This relief symbolizes the special position that bats hold within the temple premises. As night falls, waves of these nocturnal creatures embark on their nightly journey, adding an air of mystique to the already enchanting atmosphere. The captivating fusion of natural beauty, such as the mesmerizing coast with its blue ocean and the enchanting Nusa Penida Island as a backdrop, make the Goa Lawah Temple a sight to behold.
Delving into the historical past of this temple, we discover that Goa Lawah was named Goa Lelawah by Danghyang Nirartha, a priest who shared the teachings of Hinduism in Bali. During his Tirtha Yatra trips, he chanced upon this cave filled with bats, their unbroken voices ringing out like hymns that enhanced the cave’s beauty. Thus, the cave came to be known as Goa Lawah, or the Bat Cave. Danghyang Nirartha was so moved by the fragrance of the flower trees growing above the cave that he decided to stay here for several nights, finding solace and peace in this ethereal place.
Within the captivating yard of Goa Lawah, visitors will find numerous Meru and other sthana, as well as the Pelinggih Stana of the Gods positioned at the mouth of the cave. This sacred and beautiful area encompasses a blend of the sea and mountains, symbolizing the sacred linga-yoni. It is truly a sight to behold, a place where spirituality and natural beauty intertwine.
Guided by the teachings of Mpu Kuturan, who arrived in Bali during the tenth century, Goa Lawah Temple serves as a testament to the unity amongst various sects that existed on the island. Mpu Kuturan, the younger brother of King Airlangga, saw the need to unite these sects and developed the concept of Tri Murti. Additionally, Kuturan taught the creation of heaven Pakraman, three in every village in Bali, providing a sense of cohesion and identity. Baharna is the Jagat heaven, and Goa Lawah Temple stands as one of its sacred abodes.
To enter this realm of wonder, an entrance ticket must be purchased, with IDR 25,000 for adults and IDR 15,000 for children. Sarongs and sashes may also be rented for IDR 5,000 to ensure that visitors honor the sacredness of the temple. The temple welcomes guests from 8 AM to 6 PM, allowing ample time to immerse themselves in the mystical ambiance and experience the awe-inspiring presence of the bats.
Embark on a journey to the mesmerizing Goa Lawah Temple, where nature’s beauty merges with spirituality, leaving a lasting impression on every soul that graces its hallowed grounds.