Pura Goa Lawah: The Bat Cave Temple

Considered to be one of Bali’s most sacred temples, Pura Goa Lawah is one of the nine directional temples of Bali and the cave in which the temple stands is inhabited by thousands of bats, thus the origin of the name, which is roughly translated into ‘Bat Cave’. Goa Lawah was built in the 11th century by Mpu Kuturan, a priest who helped lay the foundations of Hinduism on Bali.

Legend says that there is a secret pathway all the way up to the temple of Besakih, with a mythical dragon living inside, there are stories of people who witnessed ash emerging from Goa Lawah when Mount Agung erupted in 1963. Unfortunately, no one has attempted to bring light to this fascinating story.

This landmark can be found in the village of Pesinggahan, Dawan district, between the border of Klungkung and Karangasem. When driving to beautiful Candidasa and other eastern regencies, this will be one of the first stops you shouldn’t miss out on.

The best time to visit this impressive temple is during the morning when Balinese locals who live close by perform their daily offering rituals. If you are visiting Bali during the days of Nyepi, make sure you visit the temple when the Melasti ceremonies are being held, during this ceremony thousands of Balinese Hindus carry their Hindu symbols to the sea to purify them. This ceremony is held several days prior to Nyepi day.