Similar to Bharat, an infinite range of temples are spread around Bali island. The variety of influences and architectural expressions of these temples are mesmerising.
One such temple is Pura Goa Lawah temple. This temple is located on the southeast coast of Bali, and is built around a cave, which is home to a lot of bats. The name of the temple means Bat Cave. These bats are protected by local customary rules and are forbidden to be hunted or caught, because they are believed to be sacred creatures that guard the Pura Goa Lawah temple. Besides bats in the cave, there are snakes which are also sacred. These snakes also control the population of bats in this Goa Lawah temple; they function in regulating and controlling the ecosystem.
Pura Goa Lawah is located in the village of Pesinggahan, Klungkung, Regency, Bali. It was established in the 11th century by Mpu Kuturan who was one of the early priests who introduced Hinduism on Bali Island. The entrance to the temple complex is marked with a candi bentar gate. Large banyan trees stand tall at the main entrance of Pura Goa Lawah. Deep beliefs of Hindus to strive for maintaining equilibrium of nature is demonstrated here. Balinese Hindus also have strong belief in the existence of Betari Ibu Pertiwi (Mother of Nature) as one of the worshiped Goddesses and believe in the existence of ancestors.
The temple design in the later years was changed due to various other influences.
Contribution of Nirartha is tremendous in developing the design of temples of Bali as they are today. Nirartha appeared at a time which was an important milestone in Balinese history. Waturenggong appointed Nirartha to be the royal advisor. Nirartha and all his men developed a lot of pura in Bali, creating a new temple pattern for the Balinese, because of the political situation and the rise of Islam in Indonesia. The word pura is derived from the Sanskrit word pur, a fortress. Tracing this evolution might unfold the history of Indonesia in a new perspective.