Home » ubud » Top 10 must-see Temple in Bali
Famous as the Island of Gods, it is not surprising that Bali has many temples that are worth a visit. There are over 20,000 temples (or pura in Balinese) on the island in various locations—on top of the hill, hugging the coast, or tucked away inside a forest. Several of them have become the island’s most iconic landmarks, featuring ancient architecture against the exotic backdrops. No matter what temples you are going to visit, don’t forget to conduct proper temple attire comprising a waist cloth (Sarong) and sash which are available for rental at all sites.
And here is our recommendation of top 10 must-see temples in Bali by Exotic Paradise Tours :

1. Pura Besakih

Besakih Temple, known as Bali’s ‘Mother Temple’ for over 1,000 years, sits 1,000 metres high on the southwestern slopes of Mount Agung. Besakih is an artistic and unique complex that comprises at least 86 temples which include the main Pura Penataran Agung (the Great Temple of State) and 18 others. Besakih is the biggest and holiest of the island’s temples and is surrounded by breathtaking and scenic rice paddies, hills, mountains, streams, and more. To the Balinese, visiting the temple sanctuaries is a special pilgrimage. Mount Agung’s high location gives it an almost mystical quality. Many stairs lead up to the sacred mountain, leading to the many temples that vary according to types, status, and functions. Pura Besakih features three temples dedicated to the Hindu trinity. Pura Penataran Agung in the centre has white banners for Shiva, the destroyer; Pura Kiduling Kreteg on the right side is with red banners for Brahma, the creator; and Pura Batu Madeg represents Vishnu, the preserver, with its black banners. You can visit other temples in Pura Besakih, but many of their inner courtyards are closed to the public as they’re reserved for pilgrims. Pura Besakih is the only temple open to every devotee from any caste groups. This is because of its nature as the primal centre of all ceremonial activities.

2. Tanah Lot Temple


Tanah Lot Temple is one of Bali’s most important landmarks, famed for its unique offshore setting and sunset backdrops. An ancient Hindu shrine perched on top of an outcrop amidst constantly crashing waves; Tanah Lot Temple is simply among Bali’s not-to-be-missed icons. The onshore site is dotted with smaller shrines alongside visitors’ leisure facilities that comprise restaurants, shops and a cultural park presenting regular dance performances. The temple is located in the Beraban village of the Tabanan regency, an approximate 20km northwest of Kuta, and is included on most tours to Bali’s western and central regions. See More….

3. Uluwatu Temple

Uluwatu Temple, or Pura Luhur Uluwatu, one of six key temples believed to be Bali’s spiritual pillars, is renowned for its magnificent location, perched on top of a steep cliff approximately 70 metres above sea level. This temple also shares the splendid sunset backdrops as that of Tanah Lot Temple, another important sea temple located in the island’s western shores. Pura Luhur Uluwatu is definitely one of the top places on the island to go to for sunset delights, with direct views overlooking the beautiful Indian Ocean and daily Kecak dance performances. Balinese architecture, traditionally-designed gateways, and ancient sculpture.

Without a doubt, what makes Uluwatu Temple spectacular is its cliff-top setting at the edge of a plateau 250 feet above the waves of the Indian Ocean. ‘Ulu’ means the ‘top’ or the ‘tip’ and ‘watu’ means a ‘stone’ or a ‘rock’ in Balinese. Several archaeological remains found here prove the temple to be of megalithic origin, dating back to around the 10th century. There are two entrances to Uluwatu Temple, from the south and the north. A small forest lies at the front and hundreds of monkeys dwell here. Read More….

4. Tirta Empul Holy Spring Water

Tirta Empul is an important temple complex and holy mountain spring, located in the village of Manukaya in central Bali. The site serves as a legendary setting of a traditional tale about good versus evil. It is also a national cultural heritage site. The complex, built circa 960 AD, is also a silent witness to the old Balinese kingdom years, particularly at the time of the Warmadewa Dynasty. Another nearby and prominent site on top of a hill is the presidential palace, Istana Tampaksiring, built during the years of the nation’s first president, Soekarno. Tirta Empul, meaning ‘holy water spring’ is actually the name of a water source located within the temple. The spring feeds various purification baths, pools and fish ponds surrounding the outer perimeter, which all flow to the Tukad Pakerisan River. Various sites throughout the region and many other archaeological relics relate to local myths and legends. Read More….

5. Gunung Kawi Temple

At the bottom of a lush green river valley lies one of Bali’s oldest and largest ancient monuments. Gunung Kawi consists of 10 candi (shrines) – memorials cut out of the rock face in imitation of actual statues. Part of a region nominated for Unesco Heritage status, they stand in awe-inspiring 8m-high sheltered niches cut into the sheer cliff face. The views as you walk through ancient terraced rice fields are as fine as any in Bali.

6. Ulun Danu Temple Beratan


The Ulun Danu Beratan Temple is both a famous picturesque landmark and a significant temple complex located on the western side of the Beratan Lake in Bedugul, central Bali. The whole Bedugul area is actually a favorite cool upland weekend and holiday retreat for locals and island visitors alike from the southern and urban areas, as it is strategically located, connecting the island’s north and south. Ulun Danu Beratan, literally ‘the source temple of Lake Beratan’, is easily the island’s most iconic sanctuary sharing the scenic qualities with the seaside temples of Uluwatu and Tanah Lot. The smooth reflective surface of the lake surrounding most of the temple’s base creates a unique floating impression, while the mountain range of the Bedugul region encircling the lake provides the temple with a scenic backdrop. Read More…

7. Elephant Cave

Located just 10 minutes outside of Ubud in Bali, Goa Gajah is a significant Hindu archaeological site.Goa Gajah is locally known as the Elephant Cave because of its close proximity to the Elephant River. A mysterious cave, relics, and ancient bathing pools set amid green rice paddies and a garden lure tourists from nearby Ubud. The menacing entrance to Goa Gajah looks like a demonic mouth, suggesting that people are entering an underworld as they venture inside through the darkness. Some claim that the entrance represents the Hindu earth god Bhoma while others say the mouth belongs to the child-eating witch Rangda from Balinese mythology. Goa Gajah was listed as a tentative UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1995.

Goa Gajah is thought to date back to the 11th century, although relics predating this time were found within proximity of the site. The first mention of Goa Gajah and the Elephant Cave was in the Javanese poem Desawarnana written in 1365.

Despite the ancient significance of the Elephant Cave, the last excavation took place during the 1950s; many sites still remain unexplored. Literal piles of relics with unknown origins have been laid out in a surrounding garden.

The leading theory suggests that Goa Gajah was used as a hermitage or sanctuary by Hindu priests who dug the cave entirely by hand. Although accredited as a sacred Hindu site (one of many Hindu temples around Bali), a number of relics and the close proximity of a Buddhist temple suggest that the site held special significance to early Buddhists in Bali.

Inside the Elephant Cave

For such a busy tourist attraction, the Elephant Cave itself is actually quite small. As you enter through the dark, narrow passage, the cave abruptly ends in an intersection.The left passage contains a small niche with a statue of Ganesh, the Hindu deity reminiscent of an elephant. The right passage holds a small worship area with several stone lingam and yoni in honor of Shiva.

Goa Gajah is nearly surrounded by ancient Hindu temples easily accessible from the main roads. Read about Pura Besakih, Bali’s most sacred Hindu temple.

Visiting the Elephant Cave

  • Goa Gajah is open seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
  • The entrance fee to the Elephant Cave is around 15,000 rupiah, or about $1.15 (read about money in Indonesia).
  • Proper dress is required; knees must be covered by both men and women. Sarongs are available on loan at the entrance of the site.
  • Goa Gajah is still an active worship site – try not to get in the way of worshippers inside the narrow cave. Do not photograph people during their prostrations.
  • Be prepared to be plunged into near darkness as you enter the cave; there is no artificial lighting.
  • Goa Gajah suffers from a dreadful lack of signs and any explanations in English. Visitors who are serious about exploring Bali’s Hindu past should consider venturing to Pura Besakih.

 

8. Pura Taman Saraswati Temple

Pura Taman Saraswati was designed by I Gusti Nyoman Lempad following a commission by the Prince of Ubud Cokorda Gede Agung Sukawati. I Gusti Nyoman Lempad was a well known Balinese sculptor and undagi (Balinese architect for ritual paraphernalia e.g. cremation towers and wooden sarcophagi). I Gusti Nyoman Lempad arrived in Ubud after moving away from the royal court of Blahbatuh, following a serious disagreement which provokes the wrath of the King of Blahbatuh. In Ubud, he was employed by the Sukawati royal family and built several palaces and temples in Ubud and the neighboring villages.

Construction of Pura Taman Saraswati started in 1951 and was completed in 1952. The pura is dedicated to Sarasvati, the Hindu deity of learning, literature and art.

9. Goa Lawah Temple

One of nine sacred temples on the island of Bali, the cave temple known as Pura Goa Lawah is home to thousands of bats, but if local legend is to be believed, it also hides a river of healing waters and a titanic snake wearing a crown.

Believed to have been created sometime around 1007 by an Indonesian saint, the ancient temple structures built around the cave entrance are still ministered to and provided with prayer on a daily basis. While the site had no name when the temple was built, it gets its current title due to the thousands of bats that cling to the ceiling and walls of the natural chasm, “Goa” meaning “cave” and “Lawah” meaning “bat.” It is thought that the cave may extend all the way through the mountain right to a nearby town. Legend goes that the dark recesses of the tunnel are home to a mythical snake king known as Vasuki, a massive naga that wears a crown on his head. He is said to live on the copious amounts of bats in the cavern. Yet another legend claims that a river of miraculous healing waters rushes through the depths of the cave.

While the extent of the sacred cave has never been explored, stunningly intricate temple structures have been placed at the cave mouth, which are paid pilgrimage to on a daily basis in full view of the countless slumbering bats hanging around the rim. The Pura Goa Lawah is also host to a yearly festival where devout worshippers from all around come to pray at the mouth of this impressive bat cave.

10. Batuan Temple

Bali Batuan Temple is a local Balinese Hindu temple looked after by the local resident of Batuan countryside. The temple is designed very beautiful with full of Balinese ornaments and the roof temple building is made from the fiber of chromatic black palm tree.
It is strategically located beside of the main road from Denpasar to Ubud. For over a thousand years, Batuan has been a village of artists and craftsmen, old legends and mysterious tales.

Batuan Temple were founded in the year 944 isaka (1020 AD). Nearly 1000 years old.The Batuan Temple is a Puseh Temple category based on the concept of “Tri Kahyangan or Tri Murti” taught by Mpu Kuturan around the 10th century to the Balinese Hindu community at the time.
Tri Kahyangan or Tri Murti including 3 temples :

  • Desa or Village Temple as a place to worship of God Brahma (the Creator)
  • Puseh Temple  to worship of God Vishnu (the Preserver)
  • Dalem Temple  to worship of Lord Shiva (the Destroyer)

Read more….

 

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