Goa Lawah / Bat Cave Temple
Goa Lawah also known as bat cave is very important to the Balinese Hindu community and one of Bali’s most important temples. It’s like Tanah Lot or Pura Besakih one of Bali’s key nine directional temples and serves particularly as a guardian against dark spirits from the ocean.
Mpu Kuturan who was one of tha priests who laid the foundation for Hinduism on Bali founded the temple in the 11th century. Some shrines in the compound are still dating back to that early period.
Location and Setting
The Bat Cave temple is located at the south east coast of Bali, roughly 10km away from Klungkung, 10km south of Candidasa in the village of Pasinggahan. It’s just beside the main road tot he eastern part of Bali such as Candidasa, Padangbai, Karangasem, Amlapura and next to a beautiful black sandy beach. From here you can see at the horizon the coast of Nusa Penida.
It’s now a common stop for heading towards the east. For tourists and worshipping locals who are on their way and stop to give offerings and pray.
The rather large temple complex is built around the entrance to a cave that is home to many, many, many! bats. Goa Lawah translates into Bat Cave for a good reason. You will see two large, majestic banyan trees at the main entrance.
Some shrines in the centre are ancient from the time the temple has been established. Take notice of the motifs of the dragon who is in charge of keeping the universe at balance.
Good to Know
According to some tales, the cave has a pathway up to Besakih temple in the north at the foot of Mount Agung. It is believed that a Mengwi prince discovered the connection when he took refuge in the cave hiding from enemies. Some locals also believe that there are two more pathways, one to Tangkid Bangbang and one to Talibeng. Although those claims have never been proven.
Mornings is a good time to witness many locals who come for their prayers. It’s generally a busy place because of its popularity and its easy access but one can still experience the magnificence of this place. Afternoons are also nice as it is not so hot anymore and visitors enjoy the shady places underneath the trees.
Hindus on Bali celebrate the anniversary of their temples (piodalan), which is based on the Balinese 210 days cycle calendar (Pawukon). To visit main temples such as Goa Lawah or Uluwatu is a great experience. When on Bali always check with the locals if some piodalan is scheduled during your visit. The busy temples on Bali are well kept and maintained, also Goa Lawah is in great shape and some costly renovations can be financed due to the entrance fee and the high numbers of visitors.
Like at all main temples on Bali you will find countless souvenir shops and little restaurants (warung) where you can buy the usual souvenirs, some drinks and food.