Goa Giri Putri Temple is a visit to another realm. We will tell you why.
Nusa Penida’s popularity has spiked rapidly over the last few years due to its dramatic picturesque cliff, Instagenic billabong and its status as Bali’s hottest ‘off the beaten track’ destination. However, there is so much more than that on this island that belonged to the Klungkung regency. If you have visited Nusa Penida and departing from Sanur Beach with a fast boat, it is very likely that you meet plenty of Balinese in white ceremonial attires. While your visit might be the leisurely kind, theirs are spiritually inclined.
The small island has a number of sacred temples that a Balinese has to visit at least once in their lifetime. Indeed, for a long time before becoming popular like it is now, most of the visitors went to Nusa Penida for a spiritual pilgrimage. There is one temple, in particular, that holds a certain mystery and appeals to one’s imagination. Goa Giri Putri is a Hindu temple and an underground cave.
To reach it, one must climb 131 narrow steps. On top, you will find a shrine for the god of Shiva. A priest in charge will asks the visitors to pray for permission and don the appropriate garbs before going down. Here’s the most interesting feature about this holy cave: the entrance is a small hole that can only accommodate one person. But once one crawled inside, the tight hole expands to a breath-taking vast space. The length of the cave is 262 meters and said to be able to accommodate 5,000 people. There are stalactites and stalagmites, as well as the echo of dripping water from the roof of the cave. Occasionally, whooshing bats are flying up above and one can’t help but thinking that we disturb their sleep.
Nobody really knows the exact age or who built Goa Giri Putri. It is believed that the cave is a heritage from the prehistoric era. There are a total of 13 shrines; each is an abode for different Gods as visible from the different designs and decors. There is a shrine for Hyang Naga Basuki, a God’s manifestation in the form of a dragon who is believed to be a helpful saviour and keeper of the balance in cosmos. There is also the main shrine for the Goddess of the temple, Hyang Giri Putri, where one can pray to ask for a cure from ailments. Near the exit, stands a Chinese looking shrine which is dedicated for the Goddess of Mercy, Kwan Im and other shrines to ask for fortune and prosperity.
“There are a total of 13 shrines; each is an abode for different Gods as visible from the different designs and decors.”
It is not strange to find figures of spiritual seekers meditating in the cave especially during the auspicious day. Full moon is a popular time to make a visit here. After the damp darkness, one exits the cave and immediately touched by the rays from the sun and the surrounding lush greeneries. Such is the genius of Mother Nature’s grand design, reminding us that there is always light for every bit of darkness.