Goa Lawah Temple (bat cave)

The road continuing east from Kusamba runs parallel to lovely seascapes close to Goa Lawah, the Bat Cave, the walls of which vibrate with thousands of bats - their bodies packed so close together that the upper surface of the cave resembles undulating mud. Being an extraordinary phenomenon, Goa Lawah is considered holy. A temple with shrines protects the entrance. The cave is said to extend all the way back to Besakih, and may continue to an underground river that comes up, it is said, at Pura Goa (Cave temple) within the Besakih complex - a temple associated with the mythological naga or serpent Basuki  which is also honored at Pura Goa Lawah, where a snake is supposed to live, feeding on bats.

Further explanation, Pura Goa Lawah (the Bat Cave Temple) is one of the island's nine special Sad Kahyangan Temples, and as such it is the designated holy place to honour the God Maheswara who resides in this section of the island. Religious processions visit the temple every day, and it is a particular focus for religious rites associated with death. Goa Lawah Temple located along the coast of southeastern Bali just west of Candidasa. The center of the temple is built around a cave filled with thousands of bat that make the roof of the cave their homes. Its entrances are guarded by a temple believed to be found by a sage nine centuries ago.

The Goa Lawah temple is situated on a slight embankment and the name is derived from the thousands bats that are living at the ceiling and walls of the cave.The cave is also said to lead all the way to Pura Goa in Besakih, some 30 km away, but nobody in recent times has volunteered to confirm this since the fruit bats provide sustenance for the legendary giant snake, Naga Basuki, which is also believed to live in the cave. This ancient reptile is believed to be the caretaker of the earth's equilibrium, a belief which stems from pre-Hindu animism.

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/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.

According Bali Kingdom History, There were nine kingdoms in Bali in the 17th century each possessing autonomous power. But the King of Klungkung was respected and recognized as the highest king. When within the kingdom of Mengwi, a dispute ensued between the king's descendants, I Gusti Ngurah Made Agung and I Gusti Ketut Agung. The latter was not accepted as the descendant of the King of Mengwi. He was delivered to be tried by the King of Klungkung.

The King of Klungkung decided that I Gusti Ketut Agung be ordered to enter Goa Lawah, if he came out alive he would be recognized as a descendant. The cave at that time also housed, as well as bats, big snakes and other wild animals. According to history I Gusti Ketut Agung accepted the sentence, entered the cave and finally emerged at Besakih.

True to the judgment of the King of Klungkung, he was recognized as a member of the King of Mengwi's family. When he became a King he was known as I Gusti Ketut Agung Besakih. The records also said that as a result of entering the cave he became deaf. The snakes and other wild animals no longer inhabit the cave, but thousands of bats that remain create a unique and popular attraction.


Function of Goa Lawah Temple :
  • Based on Papyrus of Kusuma Dewa, it is Giha Lawah, a palace from Basuki god
  • Based on Papyrus of Padma Bhuwana is explaining that in accordance to holy letter title Pentameter Aksara
  • The structure of Goa Lawah Temple building is based on the temple building from Ista Dewata in particular of Padmasana which is located in front of Siwa Cave as power of entire universe potency
  • Based on Lontar Babad Dalem is implying that Goa Lawah Temple as a good place to execute the Tirtha Yatra or Nyegara Gunung (meditation), because in this place there are nature potency of solidarity that is mount, the sea, goad an watu or petrify

 

Temple festival at Goa Lawah is basically divided into 2 types that is Piodalan ceremony, and Ngusaba ceremony. On this event, many Hindu people from entire of the island come and pray. Goa Lawah is a place of interest in Bali and opened for visitors who wish to see the temple closely.

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