Goa Lawah

Pura Gua Lawah, Head of the Dragon Basuki.

Balitraveldiary.com – Right facing the sea in Kusamba, the southern side of Klungkung, there is an ancient temple named Gua Lawah which has been aged for 10 centuries. As the name suggests, Pura Gua Lawah is a natural cave surrounded by several pelinggih buildings. Its status as one of the nine temples supporting the wind or Pura Kahyangan Padma Bhuwana makes this temple located in Pesinggahan Village, Dawan District, Klungkung, one of the most important temples for the Balinese people. Gua Lawah Temple in the Balinese Hindu belief is positioned as a buffer temple to the southeast (gneya) from the mainland of Bali.

Goa Lawah
Goa Lawah

According to some historical records, including Usana Bali Lontar and Babad Pasek Lontar, Goa Lawah Temple was founded around the 11th century AD. This temple was founded in 929 Saka or 1007 AD on the initiative of Mpu Kuturan, adviser of Raja Anak Wungsu. It was also mentioned that in the 14th century AD, this temple underwent a renovation and expansion of the complex. According to local belief, this cave passage is connected to the mouth of Raja Cave in the Besakih Temple Complex, which is about 30 kilometers away. However, in 1917, the tunnel collapsed due to a large earthquake.

One of the interesting things about Lawah Cave is the herd of bats that fill this cave passage. These bats are protected by local customary rules and forbidden to be hunted or captured. This makes the noise of the nocturnal animal colonies a separate phenomenon that can be witnessed by visitors. In addition, the existence of a bat relief in one of the gates / Candi Gelung that separates the middle courtyard (middle jaba) to the inner courtyard (innards) of the temple is a symbol that this animal gets a special position in this temple.

Lawah Cave has a very close correlation with Besakih Temple on the slopes of Mount Agung which is the main temple (mother temple) for all Balinese Hindus. According to Lontar Prekempa Gunung Agung, Pura Gua Lawah is the head representation of Naga Basuki, while Gua Raja Temple in the Besakih Temple Complex represents its tail. In Hindu mythology, Naga Basuki is one of the three dragon incarnate dragons sent down to save the earth. Naga Basuki is a symbol of the balance of cycles that occur in nature. Water evaporates from the sea and descends to earth into rain on mountains (land) which eventually returns to the sea.

The concept of natural balance which is closely related to the existence of Lawah Cave makes it the center of worship of Bhatara Tengahing Segara, God’s representation in the form of preserving the ocean. In addition, Lawah Cave is also a place of worship of Maheswara God who is the ruler of the southeastern direction in Balinese Hindu mythology.

Apart from this mythological background, the close correlation of Lawah Cave with Besakih Temple also occurred due to the Ngaben procession. According to the temple administrator, after the cremation, Hindus worship in Lawah Cave. After that, they pray at the Besakih Temple as a form of gratitude for the implementation of the ceremony.

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