Padangbay, Goa Lawah

Written by on June 10, 2012 in Bali Temple with 0 Comments

Padangbay, Goa Lawah



Goa Lawah Temple Highlights


The Goa Lawah Temple is a large complex on the north side of the Jalan Raya Goa Lawah main road, usually a stopover for holidaying locals who also visit the temple for prayers. For general visitors, it is also a stop on temple tours for a photo opportunity or refreshment breaks at the several food stalls across the road on the black-sand Goa Lawah Beach. The outline of Nusa Penida Island can be seen on the horizon from here.

Two large banyan trees stand tall at the main entrance of Goa Lawah. Upon entering the temple’s central courtyard, three bale pavilions can be seen in three corners of the complex. These bale are usually where fruit offerings are placed and where gamelan bands play during major ceremonies.

At the centrepiece are age-old shrines which have withstood the hordes of nectar bats (Eonycteris spelaea) chirping in a frenzied din around and behind the shrines at the cave entrance. Here is also a Shivaite shrine which has stood there for thousands of years. A bale adorned with the motifs of Naga Basuki, the mythical dragon who is believed to keep the cosmos at a balance, can also be seen here.

A place for deep meditation among priests long ago, it would seem impossible to even attempt to do so amid the bat’s din, with the hollow cave opening amplifying the sounds. Yet, people believe it was the constant natural high pitched sounds that supposedly aided meditation here.

Good to Know about Goa Lawah Temple


A prince from the Mengwi kingdom was said to have hidden from enemies in the cave and subsequently followed through, to eventually emerge at the Besakih Temple on the foot of Mount Agung, northeast from this location. No one has attempted to bring light to this interesting tale.

According to the locals and the temple community, the cave leads to three different locations, Mount Agung (Besakih), Talibeng and Tangkid Bangbang. There are various accounts that when Mount Agung erupted in 1963, smoke came out of Goa Lawah.

The best time to visit is in the mornings when most of the locals living in the nearby villages come for their daily prayers. However, afternoons are also good, as the large trees provide a balance of shade to cool the sultry southern beach breezes from across the road. Goa Lawah’s piodalan or grand temple anniversary takes place every 210 days on the Balinese Pawukon calendar cycle of an Anggara Kasih Medangsia Tuesday, the same temple anniversary day as Uluwatu Temple’s.

With its constant flow of pilgrims and visitors, the temple is well-managed and maintained. Goa Lawah has undergone a series of renovations around its fortifications and gates in the outer perimeters over the years. Expect a denser flock of pilgrims up to the Nyepi holiday, when rituals of Melasti take place on the Saka New Year Eve. Long pilgrimages from various temples including Goa Lawah towards the coastlines take place when sacred heirlooms and temple items are blessed near the sea.

Location: Jalan Raya Goa Lawah, Pesinggahan Village, Dawan District, Klungkung

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