Gala Gala Underground House : Nusa Lembongan
One of the most unique attractions on Nusa Lembongan Island is the underground house. Owned by Made Byasa, the house was built underground using only a hammer, chisel and intuition as guidance. It took 15 years to complete this incredible labyrinth, which includes a bedroom, dining room, kitchen, bathroom and sacred meditation room.
Gala Gala underground house is located down a small lane off the main road and it wide enough for motorbike access. Leading up to the entrance of this unique compound there is a collection of art stalls selling an array of local souvenirs such as shorts, sarongs and handicrafts.
Upon entering the compound you will see a notice board explaining the concept of Gala Gala along with a photo of the creator, Made Byasa. Today the site is managed by the direct descendants of this visionary man and features a rest room and stall for refreshments and souvenirs.
Within the compound there is a small shrine, a sacred Banyan tree and a well. There are also two ventilation outlets that replenish the circulation of air in the underground caverns.
A token donation is required for the mandatory use of a sarong and sash to be worn inside the compound.
Gala – Gala
The underground house is a cave that was built by Made Byasa. The area of the cave is about 5 hundred square meters under the ground.
Made Byasa in his daily life was a farmer; he was a dancer, Mangku Dalang (Puppet Shadow Performer) priest as well. From his profession as a dalang he often read Hindu Epics. One of the Hindu Epics that gave him great inspiration was Mahabarata, especially the episode “Wana Parwa”.
It tells the Pandawas life of being banished to the forest for 12 years, because of gambling loses with Korawas. For 12 years the Pandawas were challenged by living their life in the forest. The Pandawas felt unsafe and thought that the Korawas were out to kill their family. But they found a way to protect the family by building a cave. This cave was called “Gala-Gala”. From this episode Made Byasa became interested in the Pandawas life during isolation. From reading this episode Made Byasa was inspired to build his cave.
Made Byasa built his cave in 1961 and finished in 1976. The name “Gala-Gala” became well known to the local people. At the age of 75 years Made Byasa struggled to create his desire without tiredness during the day on at night.
“Gala-Gala” cave consists of seven entrances. There is ventilation and the cave is complete with a well, two kitchens, a sitting room, two bedroom and bathroom. There is also a relief that indicates the completion of the cave. There are manmade symbols of an elephant, gate and turtle which in the Hindu calendar (Tahun Caka) has the following meaning – human: 1, elephant: 8, gate: 9, turtle: 8. Combined this is 1898, which is the Hindu calendar year of 1976.
See map of Nusa Lembongan.