Dubbed as The Island of a Thousand Temples, Bali is surrounded by more than 1000 temples and shrines throughout the islands. Some of these temples were built before the megalithic eras, making them some of the oldest human-made infrastructures constructed on earth.
Do you wish to immerse yourself in a piece of history? Here are the five must-visit temples in Bali, according to our team at Bali Ideas.
Uluwatu Temple is renowned for its magnificent location, perched on top of a cliff approximately 70 meters above the Indian Ocean. Uluwatu Temples boast a splendid sunset backdrop as of that Tanah Lot Temples. Pura Luhur Uluwatu is one of the top places on the island to go for a walk down memory lane, with direct views overlooking the beautiful waves of Indian Ocean, serpentine walkways, Balinese architecture, traditionally-designed gateways, ancient sculptures, and daily Kecak dance performances held at an amphitheatre nearby.
Uluwatu Temple is surrounded by a small forest where hundreds of monkeys dwell. It is believed that the monkeys are the guardians against negative influences. The Balinese Hindu’s believe that the trinity of Hindu: Brahma, Visnu, and Shiva merge here. That belief results in making Uluwatu Temple a place for worship of Siva Rudra. The Balinese Hindu deity of all elements and aspects of life in the universe.
Moreover, Uluwatu Temple also deemed as Bali’s protector from evil sea spirits, making it one of the principal temples in Bali.
Tanah Lot Temple
Another awe-inspiring temple in Bali is located in the Western Shore, famed for its unique offshore setting and sunset backdrops with an ancient Hindu shrine perched on top of an outcrop that has been hit continuously by crashing waves.
At low-tide, You can cross to view the base where the legendary guardian sea snakes dwell in crevices around the Tirta Pabersihan fountain, which translates to cleansing water. This natural spout is the source of holy water for all temples and shrines in the area. Priests at Tirta Pabersihan bless visitors by sprinkling them with the water. You may cup your palms and take a sip to prove its amazingly freshwater in the middle of the ocean.
Onshore temples include the Penyawang, a spiritual bridge to Tanah Lot that hosts pilgrims when the main offshore temple is inaccessible during high tide. The inland areas often host prayer sessions for various aspects of villager’s agrarian life, from good harvests to rites of passage.
Tanah Lot Temple is simply among Bali’s not-to-be-missed icons. The coastal site of Tanah Lot temple has many with smaller shrines, along with visitors’ leisure area and cultural parks where dance performances are shown regularly. The temple is located in Beraban, Tabanan, approximately 20 kilometres northwest of Kuta; it is generally on all sightseeing and cultural tours to Bali Western Area.
Ulun Danu Beratan Temple
Pura Ulun Danu Beratan, which translates to ‘the source temple of Lake Beratan,’ was built in the 17th century to worship the Hindu trinity (Brahma-Vishnu-Shiva) and the lake goddess, Dewi Danu. This temple shares the scenic qualities with Bali’s sea temples of Uluwatu and Tanah Lot. The smooth reflective surface of the lake surrounding creates a striking floating impression, complemented by misty Bedugul mountain range surrounding the lake.
The ‘floating’ temple complex comprises four groups of shrines, including the prominent Lingga Petak shrine to its east. Four gates are facing each of the cardinal points. The second group is in the west and pays homage to another temple in the hill of Puncak Mangu, which symbolizes fertility. The ‘Puncak’ or hilltop of Mangu Hill lies northeast of Lake Beratan. Inside the temple complex, you will find typical Balinese architectural features such as tiered shrines (Meru). The primary three shrines are dedicated to worship Vishnu with its 11 tiers, Brahma, with seven levels. and Shiva with three tiers.
The temple complex is home to several megalithic artefacts: a sarcophagus and a stone tablet, which led to the assumption that it was a consecrated site even before the Hindu temple were built.
For those of you who wish to see more than just scenery, can hire a traditional jukung or speedboat to tour around the Beratan lake. The other side of Beratan Lake offers various watersports such as parasailing and jet ski rides.
Pura Luhur Lempuyang
Pura Lempuyang Luhur, one of Bali’s oldest and most revered temples, on par with Besakih. The temple is also believed to predate the majority of Hindu temples on the island. A highlight on any travel itinerary for the fit and adventurous, the main temple lies at 1,175m above sea level, on the peak of the namesake Mount Lempuyang in East Bali.
The heights are reachable via a steep staircase of over 1800 steps. With attractions along the way that includes several other shrines and grey long-tailed monkeys that inhabit the surrounding cool mountain forests. For those of you who are unwilling to take the hike, you can opt to spend time at Pura Penataran Agung, which offers dragon staircases, perfect for a photo. Pura Penataran Agung is located at the foot of the mountain.
After an approximate two-hour accent, the Lempuyang Temple welcomes weary visitors and pilgrims with a prize view, where you can see the impressive sight of Mount Agung, which also happens to be the home of Bali’s mother temple, Besakih. Prayers ensue with refreshing holy water sprinkled by the priest, which soothes body, mind, and soul.
Besakih Temple is often referred to as Bali’s mother temple – a grand complex of at least 86 clan temples and shrines on the southwestern slope of Mount Agung. Besakih is considered to be the biggest and the holiest of Bali’s temples. Its location offers breathtaking views with hills, rice paddies, mountains, and streams. Bear in mind that to explore the whole complex can take an entire day. So be there early in the morning!
Pura Besakih hosts three main temples dedicated to the Hindu Trinity. Pura Penataran Agung has white banners for Shiva, the destroyer, Pura Kiduling Kreteg to the right features red banners for Brahma, the creator, and Pura Batu Madeg represents Vishnu, the preserver, with its black banners. The largest temple in the complex, Pura Penataran Agung, has different areas representing the seven layers of the universe, each with their shrines.
At least 70 ceremonies take place at Pura Besakih each year, as each shrine has its anniversary based on the 210 day Balinese Hindu calendar. Mind you that you should wear proper top, a sarong, and a sash to enter Besakih Temple. The best visiting times of the day are in the early morning and the evening as the complex is much quieter during these hours. Taking along local companions outside the official hours is highly recommended.
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