Pura Goa Lawah, Bat Cave Temple
Pura Goa Lawah, Bat Cave Temple, lies just three km northeast of Kusamba Harbor and nine km east of Klungkung on the left side of dramatic road paralleling the sea with uninterrupted views of sea and Nusa Penida. As its name suggests Pura Gua Lawah houses a holy cave begins at the foot of rocky cliff and is said to extend all the way to the base of Mount Agung.
Oral tradition says the cave leads to Pura Goa (cave temple) within the Besakih temple complex some 30 km away. A tale is told how a prince of Mengwi actually entered the sacred cave to prove that he was the rightful descendent of Mengwi king, and emerged at Besakih, but his feat was never duplicated – entering the cave is now forbidden.
The ceiling is alive with thousands of fluttering, squawking, vibrating, long nose fruit bats. The wheeling, squealing bats are drawn again and again into the deep and dusky cavern; the noise is deafening but the sight is awesome. A thick layer of slippery, sickly sweet bat droppings carpets the cave floor, through which bat-gorged pythons ooze in a state of surfeit. Lizards are crawling free in this cave and temple completely ignored by the passing pilgrims and visitors.
Bat excrements also cover the majestically black shrines of Pura Goa Lawah guarding the cave entrance. This sacred temple was founded in 1007 by the holy Sage from Java, Mpu Kuturan. The temple is one of Sad Kahyangan (six great temples of Bali). the temple and the cave is an obligatory site of Nyekah (deification of the deceased family member soul) pilgrimage. Balinese believe the cave harbors an enormous dragon, Naga Basuki, the mythical serpent of universe and the caretaker of the earth’s equilibrium.