Bat Cave or Goa Lawah is one of Bali’s most important temples. It features a complex built around a cave opening that is inhabited by hordes of bats. Its name simply translates to ‘Bat Cave’. The temple was established in the 11th century by Mpu Kuturan, one of the early priests who laid the foundations of Hinduism on the island
It’s a popular stopover for locals journeying to the eastern parts of Bali, who come in with offerings and short prayers before continuing on with their travels. For foreign visitors, it’s often included in many temple excursions and is one of the first stops on tours to Candidasa and regions within the Karangasem regency. You can easily see the outline of Nusa Penida Island on the horizon from Goa lawah
Large banyan trees stand tall at the main entrance of Goa Lawah. Upon entering the temple’s central courtyard, you’ll see 3 bale (pavilions) in the 3 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 chirping in a frenzied din around and behind the shrines at the cave opening. You’ll also find the Shivaite shrine, which has stood for thousands of years, together with a bale adorned with the motifs of Naga Basuki, the mythical dragon who believe that the constant natural high pitch aided in their focus of thought.
During the piodalan temple anniversaries, Goa Lawah’s scene becomes truly exotic with pilgrims in bright traditional attire carrying colourful parasols and banners