Goa Lawah Temple, Kusamba Beach, Tenganan Village (Bali, Indonesia)

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Goa Lawah Temple, Kusamba Beach, Tenganan Village (Bali, Indonesia)
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A step from Bangli to discover the sacred temple of Goa Lawah or temple of the bat cave, the exploitation of sea salt in Kusumba, a small fishing village, and to finish the village of Tenganan which ranks among the Bali-Aga or Balinese villages of origin. Aga means mountain and obviously means the places that could easily escape foreign influences by defending their less accessible lands.
Goa Lawah Temple in Bali
Goa Lawah is one of Bali’s most important temples. It features a complex built around a cave opening that is inhabited by hordes of bats, and its name translates to 'Bat Cave’. This temple was established in the 11th century by Mpu Kuturan, one of early priests who laid the foundations of Hinduism on the island. Goa Lawah is located in the village of Pesinggahan, Dawan district, bordering the Klungkung and Karangasem regencies. This landmark is one of the first stops on tours to Candidasa and further eastern regions within the Karangasem regency. The Goa Lawah Temple is a large complex on the north side of the Jalan Raya Goa Lawah main road. It is a stopover for holidaying locals who come in with offerings and do short prayers before continuing with their journey. For general visitors, it is an included itinerary on temple tours for photo opportunities together with refreshment breaks at the kiosks across the road on Goa Lawah Beach. You can see the outline of Nusa Penida Island 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, you will see three bale pavilions 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 opening. Here is also a Shivaite shrine which has stood for thousands of years, together with a bale adorned with the motifs of Naga Basuki, the mythical dragon who is believed to keep the cosmos at a balance. Once a place for deep meditation for priests, despite seeming impossible to do so amid the chirping, with the hollow cave opening amplifying the noise. Yet, people believe the constant natural high pitches aided in their focus of thoughts.
Tenganan Village in East Bali
Tenganan Village in East Bali is one of the Bali Aga (original Balinese) communities in Bali and it is famous for its well-preserved village layout and the ongoing survival of its traditional crafts. The village is only an 8-minute drive from the main resort hub of Candidasa, East Bali. It comprises two sub-villages: Dauh Tukad (loosely, “west of the river”) and Pegringsingan. Pegringsingan is best known for its traditional gringsing tie-dyed ‘double ikat’ cloth. The annual Perang Pandan war dance, featuring friendly duels among village males, is definitely worth seeing if your visit coincides with this event.
Visiting Tenganan Village
A visit to Tenganan Village can be a highlight of your trip to the East Bali region any time of year. The village retains much of its ages-old layout and architecture. Even though television antennae and electrical wiring are now visible here and there, most of the stone and earth brick walls, bamboo and thatch roofing are reminiscent of earlier times. Almost all the house compounds welcome visitors, each offering something different for the curious visitor to see. Inside, you will see craftsmen at work weaving a gringsing, carving wooden masks, or making various baskets.
Throughout the village streets home stalls sell arts and handicrafts. Here, you can directly bargain with the stall owners. Some generic Balinese items, such as sashes, batiks, and wayang puppets, you can find almost anywhere in Bali. However, there are some handicrafts that are original to the village and are worth looking at. These items include hanging wall decorations in the style of lontar palm leaf manuscripts. These come displaying images of everything from a map of Bali, an annual calendar, to Barong and Legong dancers. Most don’t bear price tags – start negotiations at half of the initially offered price.

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