Day Nine, Tuesday, March 24
This morning after teachings and a quick breakfast, the group boards a shuttle to the ferry landing to catch the boat to Nusa Penida. Directly to the east of south Bali, across the Badung Strait, between Bali and Lombok, are the three sister islands of Nusa Lembongan, Nusa Ceningan and Nusa Penida. Nusa Penida is the largest of the three and for the Balinese Hindus it is an important spiritual destination.
Nusa Penida is known as the black magic island. According to Balinese tradition, in the distant past it was inhabited by demons and ghouls and in particular by the powerful evil spirit I Macaling, the source of disease and misfortune. Priests were sent from a neighboring kingdom and a metaphysical battle of light against darkness was fought.
I Macaling was defeated but not entirely banished. To this day the Balinese blame floods, outbreaks of disease and other misfortunes on I Macaling’s power. Every Balinese Hindu is expected to visit Nusa Penida at least once in his life to honor the balance of light and dark.
Arriving on Nusa Penida, you take the short ride to the temple of Goa Giri Putri – goa means cave. From the parking area you climb 110 steps to the entrance which is a small opening in the rocks. The entrance is so small, in fact. that only one person can pass at a time. After passing 10 feet down and in, this symbolic birth canal opens into a huge, magnificent cave.
Capable of holding up to 5000 people, the cave is nearly the length of 3 football fields with a ceiling almost 500 feet high and contains 6 important shrines. Next to one of the shrines is a lingga and yoni formed naturally from stalactites and stalagmites. Toward the end of the cave system there is a shrine devoted to Dewi Kwan Im (Kwan Yin) Goddess of mercy and compassion.
After saying prayers, making offerings and exploring this sacred site, you return by shuttle to the sleepy port village for lunch and the the ferry ride home.