Goa Lawah Bat Cave Temple Bali
Goa Lawah is one of the most sacred temples in Bali, built by the high priest ‘Empu Kuturan’ in 11th century. The center of the temple is built around a natural cave inhabited by thousands of bats hanging down and flying around, as well as holy python snakes. Legend has it that this cave is a dwelling place of Naga Basuki, the mythical and sacred dragon of the Mount Agung as well as the guardian of Besakih temple.
This temple is located in Wates village, on the southeast coast of Bali, west of Candidasa, approximately 50km east of Denpasar. It is considered as one of the important temples in the island. Balinese people come to this temple with offerings to complete a cremation ceremony, called Nyegara Gunung ceremony.
This temple was used as a place of worship by the King of Klungkung in the 17th century. Goa Lawah was also used to test the people who found guilty of breaking the law.
Around the 17th century, a dispute happened between the King of Mengwi’s sons, I Gusti Ngurah Made Agung and I Gusti Ketut Agung. I Gusti Ketut Agung was not accepted as the descendant of the King of Mengwi. He was sent to be tested by the King of Klungkung who was respected as the highest king. The King of Klungkung asked I Gusti Ketut Agung to enter Goa Lawah. If he came out alive he would be acknowledged as a descendant. I Gusti Ketut Agung accepted the sentence, entered the cave and finally came out in Besakih.
Based on the King of Klungkung’s decision, he then was acknowledged as a part of the King of Mengwi’s family. He was known as I Gusti Ketut Agung Besakih when he became a king. It is said that he became deaf because of entering the cave.