The Sacred Giri Putri Cave
The island of Nusa Penida which is recently dubbed as renewable energy park offers not just sites of eco-friendly electric plantation for the visitors. For hundreds of years Nusa Penida has become a favorite spiritual tourism destination for thousands of Balinese each month. One of many obligatory spiritual sanctuaries that are visited by the pilgrims is the sacred Giri Putri cave in Suana village. The mouth of the cave is strategically perched on the slope of a hill on the elevation 150 meter above the sea level, overlooking a vast blue ocean and seaweed plantations.
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To reach the mouth of this sacred 262-meter-long cave, the pilgrims have to conquer a stairway with dozens of stairs. The mouth of the cave is situated within a temple guarded by a shrine of three personification of Shiva (Shiva, Sada Shiva, and Parama Shiva) and an arca (holy relic) of Ganesha (the remover of all disturbances). The mouth of the cave is only 70 cm in diameter and pilgrims have to get inside one by one; it is bumpy and filled up with tapering stone structure. The first three or four meters inside the cave the pilgrims have to walk in squatting position Farther into the cave, then the walls get farther apart creating a massive room that can accommodate 1,000 people, the diameter of the room inside the cave approximately 60 meter. The ceiling of the cave is filled with sharp-edged stalactites and inhabited by thousands of fruit bats. Though there are many stalactites in this cave one can hardly found any stalagmite instead the floor of the cave is filled by big rocks. The atmosphere within the cave is tranquil and not too dark since some lamp posts have been installed within the cave.
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Inside the cave, pilgrims pay homage to three clusters of shrines, with total 10 shrines. The first cluster of the shrines can be found right after the pilgrims enter the room of the cave. This cluster consists of two shrines; the first shrine is dedicated to the great dragon Basuki which deified as the source of prosperity, the second shrine is dedicated to Ratu Gede Nusa, the semi historical ruler of Nusa Penida, which is believed to be the King of demons and evil spirits.
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The second cluster of shrines consists of six shrines and an arca of goddess Gangga, the purifier. Three shrines and the arca of the goddess Gangga are situated on the floor in the middle of the cave; two shrines on the north side of the room is dedicated to Hyang Giri Pati (the king of the hill), on the south side of the room, pilgrims can purified themselves with the holy water of the Goddess Gangga, the purifier, and pay homage to the shrine of Hyang Tangkeb Langit. The other three shrines which is dedicated to Hyang Giri Putri (the princess of the hill) is situated inside an adjacent cave, perched on the wall of the cave high above the cave floor. To reach this adjoining cave pilgrims have to climb an iron ladder. This small cave houses three shrines and a holy spring with a constant flow of water regardless the dry season or rainy season.
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The third cluster of shrines is situated at the end of the cave. This cluster consists of two shrines and an arca of Goddes Kwan Im. This is the place where the pilgrims usually ask for prosperity and wealth. The three shrines are dedicated to the the personifications of God as the giver of fortune; the first shrine dedicated to Shiva Amertha, the lord of all blessing, the second shrine is dedicated to Bhatara Rambut Sedana, the god of fortune and the arca of the Goddess Kwan Im is well known as the goddess of mercy, there is also an altar for the god of the sky in this cluster of shrine.
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The Giri Putri cave end up on ravine’s wall within a dry river. The river occasionally flood with water, especially when the rain pours down heavily. The exit mouth of the cave overlooks a green lush hill and the beauty of Semuhu Temple on the top of Kila Hill far away on the distance.