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 Goa Lawah Temple

A Unique and Mystique

Bat Cave Temple

in Bali

By I Nengah Subadra PhD

Bali Tourism Directory

Bali, 06 December 2015



BTD Goa Lawah


Temple Location

Goa Lawah Temple is located at Pesinggahan village, Dawan district, Klungkung Regency, approximately an hour’s drive from Denpasar, the capital city of Bali or only about 15 minutes from the central town of Klungkung.  



 A group of European tourists visiting Goa Lawah temple, 2018 




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Temple History

The term "Goa Lawah" is an amalgamation of two Balinese words: "goa," which translates to 'cave,' and "lawah," meaning 'bat.' This name aptly reflects the unique natural and spiritual characteristics of the site, where a cave inhabited by a multitude of bats is situated. It's crucial to clarify that the Hindu pilgrims who journey to Goa Lawah Temple are not there to revere the bats or the cave itself. Instead, their devotion is directed towards the supreme deity, Ida Sang Hyang Widhi Wasa. This divine entity is venerated in its manifestation as Dewa Maheswara, who is believed to dwell within the sacred confines of Goa Lawah Temple. The temple serves as a significant spiritual center where worshippers engage in rituals and offer prayers, seeking blessings and guidance from the deity that presides over this revered space.



 Dr Subadra and Dr Victoria (University of Lincoln, UK)


Goa Lawah Temple holds a distinguished place among Bali's Sad Kahyangan, the six foremost temples that are considered the spiritual pillars of the island. Nestled at the base of Bukit Sari, a serene hill, and in proximity to the tranquil Pantai Goa Lawah beach, the temple is a harmonious blend of terrestrial and marine influences, believed to be imbued with the natural spirits of both realms. The temple's esteemed status as one of the Sad Kahyangan signifies its universal importance in Balinese Hinduism. It is a sanctuary where Hindus from every corner of Indonesia, irrespective of their familial lineage, social caste, or regional origins, can come together in a collective expression of faith. This inclusivity underscores the temple's role as a communal place of worship, where the barriers of social stratification are transcended, allowing devotees to unite in their reverence and devotion.


The architectural design of the shrine within the inner sanctum, known as meru, provides historical clues that suggest Goa Lawah Temple was established by the revered Hindu sage, Mpu Kuturan. During his pious pilgrimage to Bali from East Java, Mpu Kuturan is credited with the temple's construction, a significant event that is estimated to have occurred around the 11th century. The presence of the meru, a multi-tiered tower-like structure that is emblematic of Balinese Hindu temples, is indicative of the ancient roots and spiritual significance of the site. Mpu Kuturan, renowned for his contributions to the religious and social fabric of Balinese society, is believed to have introduced this and other key elements of temple architecture, thereby shaping the island's religious landscape during that era.


Goal Lawah Web 




Temple’s Significance

Since its establishment, Goa Lawah Temple has been used by Hindus in Bali as a site of worship, especially for the nyegara-gunung and meajar-ajar rituals that are associated with the five major Hindu rituals in Bali called Panca Yadnya, as well as purification rituals. The principal uses of this temple have made Goa Lawah Temple very active, where hundreds of worshippers come and pray in this particular temple for different rituals. So, tourists will see such great authentic Balinese cultural attractions on the site that might not be seen elsewhere.


As purification rituals are an integral part of Balinese culture, the Goa Lawah Temple serves as a hub for worshippers seeking spiritual cleansing. The temple's principal uses include offerings to the gods and ancestor worship, which draw hundreds of devotees daily. Visitors to the temple can witness firsthand the authentic Balinese culture and traditions that have been passed down through generations.


The temple's unique location, nestled in a cave overlooking the Indian Ocean, adds to its mystique and allure. Beyond its religious significance, Goa Lawah Temple is also a popular tourist attraction, offering visitors a glimpse into the rich cultural heritage of Bali. With its intricate carvings and ornate architecture, the temple is a testament to the skill and creativity of Balinese artisans. For those seeking an immersive cultural experience in Bali, Goa Lawah Temple is not to be missed.



Temple’s Courtyards



The sacred site of Goa Lawah Temple is divided into three courtyards according to Tri Mandala: Nista Mandala (outer courtyard), Madya Mandala (middle courtyard), and Utama Mandala (inner courtyard), from the least to the most sacred areas, respectively, which represent the three levels of the universe.



The outer courtyard, Nista Mandala, is where visitors enter and can observe various shrines and pavilions. The middle courtyard, Madya Mandala, is where the temple's main attraction, a cave filled with thousands of bats, can be found. This area also houses several altars and statues dedicated to Hindu deities. The inner courtyard, Utama Mandala, is the most sacred area of the temple and is only accessible to priests and worshippers. It contains the main shrine, where offerings are made to the gods.



The altars and statues dedicated to Hindu deities are intricately carved and adorned with colourful offerings from devotees. Visitors can witness daily ceremonies performed by priests, which involve the ringing of bells and the burning of incense. The inner courtyard, Utama Mandala, is a serene oasis that exudes an aura of peace and tranquilly. Only priests and worshippers are allowed to enter this sacred space, where they offer prayers and make offerings to the gods. The main shrine is the focal point of this area, with its elaborate carvings and intricate decorations. It is a testament to the devotion of those who built it and continue to maintain it today. Overall, this temple is a must-visit for anyone interested in experiencing the rich cultural heritage of Bali.





Authentic attractions & experiences

There is no time left to wait for a visit to Goa Lawah Temple. Thousands of bats and a natural, dark cave are waiting for you. Grab yours now and get ready to experience the authentic attractions of bats living in their native habitat. If you're looking for adventure, then Goa Lawah Temple is the place to be. With thousands of bats and a natural dark cave, you'll be able to experience the authentic attractions of these creatures living in their native habitat combining with religious atmosphere.



Don't wait any longer; grab your gear and head over to this incredible destination. As you explore the cave, you'll be amazed by the sheer number of bats that call it home. You'll also have the opportunity to witness their unique behaviours and interactions with one another.


The temple itself is also a sight to behold, with intricate carvings and beautiful architecture that will leave you in awe. Whether you're a nature lover or simply looking for an exciting adventure, Goa Lawah Temple has something for everyone. So why wait? Book your trip today and get ready for an unforgettable experience!





Tourists practising Hinduism at Goa Lawah Temple



Goa Lawah temple allows you to see bats directly from a very close distance of two or three metres, where you can observe their behaviours hanging on the cave and live naturally with their bat family. These authentic natural attractions can be experienced within the most sacred courtyard of Goa Lawah temple, where the temple shrines were established.



Visiting the Goa Lawah temple is a unique opportunity to witness the natural beauty of the bat colonies that inhabit the area. From a distance of just two or three metres, visitors can observe these fascinating creatures as they hang on the cave walls and interact with their bat family. This experience is truly authentic and allows you to witness their natural behaviours in a way that is not possible in other settings. The temple itself is also worth exploring, with its intricate shrines and sacred courtyard. The combination of natural wonder and cultural significance makes this destination a must-see for any traveller to Bali.


As you take in the sights and sounds of the temple, you'll feel transported to another world where nature and spirituality are intertwined. So if you're looking for an unforgettable experience that will leave you with lasting memories, be sure to add Goa Lawah Temple to your itinerary.


Tourists symbolicly blessed by the temple priest


In addition (if you are lucky) you will witness the processions of Hindu rituals performed by the local Balinese people within the holiest site of the temple. This will surely enrich your travel experience on the island of Bali to a much better and deeper experience that will last a lifetime. You will really miss this event if you have not seen it in Bali. This rite is the real soul of the island that makes Bali has high divine spirit and vibration raises its mystical sense.


Tourists worshipping at Goa Lawah Temple 


Sacred Bat Watching at Goa Lawah Temple: It would be very fantastic watching authentic natural and cultural tourist attraction at Goa Lawah Temple, Klungkung Bali while you are on holiday on Bali Island.


It is a combination between natural phenomenon and cultural surroundings: temple shrines and rituals wherein thousands of sacred bats escaping the cave freely through the cave entrance in the dusk evening or just a while after the sun sets. Please click the picture below to see the bat amazing video.


Goa Lawah agustus 2016Temple Shrines at Goa Lawah Temple


This great moment will enrich your cultural holiday experience as this authentic attraction may only gazed at within the inner courtyard of Goa Lawah temple for less than an hour or until all bats left the cave for foods or enjoy their night lives flying on the paradise island “Bali”. Please watch the Live Video. Remember! This gaze is absolutely amazing; so, don’t miss it!




Japanese tourists worshipping at Goa Lawah Temple



Temple Management and Anniversary

The authorized care takers of the temple are local people of Traditional Village of  Pesinggahan that responsible to perform regular temple anniversary known as Pujawali that is primarily aimed at preserving the taksu (divine spirit) of Goa Lawah Temple since it may have been impaired  accidentally or purposely by previous worshippers and tourists entering the temple. The anniversary of Goa Lawah Temple falls every 210 days on the day known as Anggara Kliwon Medangsia.




Local Tour Guides at Goa Lawah Temple

There are six local tour guides who are ready to escort you around the temple. They are very friendly and have good knowledge on the temple's significances and rituals taking place in the temple and also speak good English.


All local guides are coming from local traditional village of Pesinggahan-as the care takers of the temple and registered at the temple management and well trained by the temple manager Mr Putu. It is highly recommended to hire one if you need to understand the mystery hidden behind this bat cave temple.


Tourist only needs to give some tippings to the hired local guide as there have not been specific fee applied in this temple. This is the best way as a tourist to contribute economically to local people directly as they receive the money immediately by thier hands. 


 Goa Lawah Web2


Temple Regulations at Goa Lawah Temple

There are some regulations applied by the tourism management of Goa Lawah temple to preserve the sanctity of the temple sites. Therefore, all tourists visiting this temple are obliged to obey the following temple regulations:



Tourists must wear sarong and sash. This aimed to respect Hindu worshippers and also traditions of Balinese that have been practised for hundred years. More importantly to respect the temple that served as a public worshipping site. You do not need to worry about that as the temple management has prepared them at very reasonable price, about 0.5 American Dollar.  



Women on menstruation period is strictly forbidden to enter the temple. Hindus in Bali believe that during this period, women are being in impure condition and liable to taint the sanctity of the temple.



No tourists allowed to climb any of the temple shrines located within the temple sites including outer, middle and inner courtyards. Please note that shrine is the symbol of the god’s house where Hindus serve their offering that dedicated to the god. It would be very sinful and surely disrespect local culture if you do so.



Tourists entering the most sacred courtyard of the temple shall stand behind the worshippers conducting rites. Please never walk in front of the worshippers praying within the inner courtyard.



It is important to behave accordingly and be as quiet as possible to assure that you are not bothering worshippers applying their beliefs in the temple.



If you need to take pictures or record the procession of the rituals, please make sure you are not taking them from very close distance as this may disturb them. Please estimate the appropriate distance that suitable for you. Preferably not using “flash camera” while taking pictures.



Please note that smoking and littering are not allowed in the temple.


These regulations are primarily aimed at preserving the holiness of the temple. Let's help the local people to preserve this temple!   




Tourists views and experiences visiting Goa Lawah temple


Most of tourists visiting Goa Lawah Temple argued that the had such a great experience as they could gazed at temple architecture, authentic cultural attractions and of course the bats hanging arround the cave. Here are some quotes from Trip Advisor. 


Tauser, a Philiphines tourists visiting Goa Lawah temple in 2018:

"Very interesting temple between the ocean and the mountain. A lot of devotees were at the area when we visited. We experienced and witnessed the offering and prayers during our visit"


Mike, a British tourists visiting Goa Lawah in 2018 argued:

"This temple is worth a stop. The buildings are typical Balinese temple structures. What makes this site unique is the entrance to the Bat Cave. Although you cannot enter, even during daylight you see and hear the hundreds of bats hanging from the roof, some occasionally dropping to fly around the cave. Very interesting"







Destination Management Organization of Goa Lawah

Mr Putu

Temple Manager

Mobile: +6281338426781

Email: Alamat email ini dilindungi dari robot spam. Anda memerlukan Javascript yang aktif untuk melihatnya.



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