Goa Lawah Temple

Goa Lawah "The Bat Cave Temple Bali"

Goa Lawah Temple or Bat Cave Temple is one of Bali’s most important temples. It features a complex built around a cave opening that is inhabited by hordes of bats, and its name translates to 'Bat Cave’. This temple was established in the 11th century by Mpu Kuturan, one of early priests who laid the foundations of Hinduism on the island. Goa Lawah is located in the village of Pesinggahan, Dawan district, bordering the Klungkung and Karangasem regencies. This landmark is one of the first stops on tours to Candidasa and further eastern regions within the Karangasem regency. The Goa Lawah Temple or Bat Cave Temple is a large complex on the north side of the Jalan Raya Goa Lawah main road. It is a stopover for holidaying locals who come in with offerings and do short prayers before continuing with their journey. For general visitors, it is an included itinerary on temple tours for photo opportunities together with refreshment breaks at the kiosks across the road on Goa Lawah Beach. You can see the outline of Nusa Penida Island on the horizon from here.

Two large banyan trees stand tall at the main entrance of Goa Lawah Temple. Upon entering the temple’s central courtyard, you will see three bale pavilions in three corners of the complex. These bale are usually where fruit offerings are placed and where gamelan bands play during major ceremonies.

At the centrepiece are age-old shrines which have withstood the hordes of nectar bats (Eonycteris spelaea) chirping in a frenzied din around and behind the shrines at the cave opening. Here is also a Shivaite shrine which has stood for thousands of years, together with a bale adorned with the motifs of Naga Basuki, the mythical dragon who is believed to keep the cosmos at a balance.

Once a place for deep meditation for priests, despite seeming impossible to do so amid the chirping, with the hollow cave opening amplifying the noise. Yet, people believe the constant natural high pitches aided in their focus of thoughts.

Goa Lawah Temple, a shrine for Balinese Hindu

Pursuant to the papyrus of Dwi Jendra Tattwa, the Goa Lawah's name is Goa Lelawah, the name which is given by Danghyang Nirartha (a priest overspread the Hindu teaching in Bali) when he stop in this place on his Tirtha Yatra trips. He arrive at a cave which is a lot of bats hang on and its unbroken voice clamor as hymn to add the beauty of the cave. Therefore this cave is named by Goa Lawah or Bat Cave. On the above cave is growth by the flower trees with it's smelt fragrance and stimulus the peace mind of Danghyang Nirartha, so that he overnight stay for some nights in this place. From the cave we see also the beautiful coast with the blue ocean with Nusa Penida Island as a backdrop.

Goa Lawah Temple History

  • According to the chronicle of Bendesa Mas, it mentions that the elaborations of Mpu Kuturan (a Hindu priest who come from Java) then he live in Bali which has been hosted in Silayukti, Padang Bai. He also builds some temple like Goa Lawah Temple.
  • According to the Papyrus of Dwijendra Tattwa, it narrates that after Danghyang Nirartha stay some nights at Goa Lawah, then he build a Kahyangan Temple on the ground. It means that Danghyang Nirartha extends the Palinggih or temple building existing at Goa Lawah Temple.
  • Bali tourist attraction is a cave located on the beach called Beach Kusamba, at the mouth of the cave there is a temple named Pura Goa Lawah (Goa Lawah Temple).
  • Goa Lawah Temple very interesting to visit because of strategic location off the coast with views of sea and island of Nusa Penida in the distance and the arrangement of beautiful beaches. On the beach sometimes tourists can witness traditional ceremonies and activities can also see bats hanging from the edge of the cave. Bali tourist attraction makes this one worth your visit with your family during the holidays to Bali.
  • Location : Goa Lawah Temple located in approximately 1 hour drive from Denpasar City or 4 miles from the center of Semarapura which is the district capital Klungkung.
  • History : In Goa Lawah Temple consists of two syllables of the cave, which means cave and Lawah which means bat cave where Lawah tail inhabited by thousands of bats in the mouth of this Bali attractions there is a temple Khayangan Jagat status. Goa Lawah Temple is a sacred and beautiful area. There was a blend of sea and mountains (linga-yoni). As the name suggests, this temple there is a cave inhabited by thousands of bats. While at the mouth of the cave there are several palinggih Stana of the Gods. In the yard, also stood firm several Meru and other sthana. Narrated MPU Kuturan come to Bali during the tenth century the government-led Children's Youngest brother of King Airlangga. Airlangga own rule in East Java (1019-1042). When he arrived, mpu Kuturan find many sects in Bali. Seeing the fact that, mpu Kuturan then develop the concept of Tri Murti with the aim of uniting all these sects Kuturan MPU also teaches making heaven Pakraman Three in every village in Bali as well as confirmed the presence of Jagat heaven that one of them is Goa Lawah Temple.

Good to Know about Goa Lawah Temple

The tale goes that a prince from the Mengwi kingdom hid away from enemies inside the cave and subsequently followed through, eventually emerging at Besakih Temple on the foot of Mount Agung, which is northeast from this location. No one has attempted to prove or bring light to this interesting tale.

According to the locals and the temple community, the cave leads to three different locations, Mount Agung (Besakih), Talibeng and Tangkid Bangbang. There are various accounts that when Mount Agung erupted in 1963, ash emerged from Goa Lawah.

The best time to visit is in the mornings when most of the locals living in the nearby villages come for their daily prayers. However, afternoons are also pleasant, as the large trees provide a balance of shade to cool the sultry southern beach breezes from across the road. Goa Lawah’s piodalan or grand temple anniversary takes place every 210 days on the Balinese Pawukon calendar cycle of an Anggara Kasih Medangsia Tuesday, the same anniversary day as Uluwatu Temple’s.

With its constant flow of pilgrims and visitors, the temple is well-managed and maintained. Goa Lawah has undergone a series of renovations around its walls and gates in the outer perimeters over the years. Expect a denser flock of pilgrims up to the Nyepi holiday, when rituals of Melasti take place on the Saka New Year Eve. Long pilgrimages from various temples including Goa Lawah towards the coastlines take place when sacred heirlooms and temple items are blessed near the sea.

Public Facilities

  • Parking Area
  • Public Toilet
  • Souvenir Shop
  • Food Stall
  • Drink Stall