BALI:The Island of the Gods

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TAKEN IN ONE OF THE CEREMONY

Bali is a beautiful Island in Indonesia known as the “Island of the Thousand Temples” or the “Island of the Gods”, because of the great number of wonderful Hindu temples there are in the Island. It says that Bali has more temples than houses

Inseparable from the religious rituals of the Balinese are the temples. Just like cathedrals in Europe, temples are the most ubiquitous architecture in Bali. The word for temple in Balinese is Pura, which comes from a Sanskrit word that literally translates into a place surrounded by walls.Usually the temples of Bali are ornamented with an impressive and intricate set of carvings, mainly on the gateways.

If you plan to enter a temple, please show respect for the local customs and dress accordingly. In general that means legs should be covered and a top that isn’t too revealing should be worn- a t-shirt will do. At some temples a sash is also required. If that is the case you can usually rent one at the entrance, like you often can rent a sarong for covering up your legs.

IMG_3325THE OFFERINGS FOR THE GODS CAN  BE SEEN EVERYWHERE

In Bali each thing or activity has its own temple, there are village temples, family temples, rice fields temples, temples for animals, etc. Nevertheless the bigger Hindu temples on Bali are used only in special occasions. Temples are meant to be pleasant resting place for the gods on their stay on the island. As such, entertaining the gods or appeasing the goddesses or most of religious rituals through endless festivals will take place in the three village temples:

  • Pura Puseh: a temple dedicated to the ancestors of the village.
  • Pura Desa: a temple used for official celebrations of the village community.
  • Pura Dalem: or the temple of death, dedicated to the deities of death and of cremation

And since no visit to Bali would be complete without a trip to see at least one of Bali’s Temple but guess what I made it to not just one but 8 of the most visited temples in Bali.At last count, the island of Bali in Indonesia had some 20,000 temples within its borders. You’r crazy if you plan to see all of the 20,000 temples for just couple of days, so you have to choose which of the temples looks good and you feel like interesting appeal. You can based your decision on the Top Ten Must See Temples.

1)Pura Besakih

2)Tirta Temple

3)Gunung Kawi Temple

4)Pura Luhur Lempuyang

5) Goa Gajah

6) Pura Tanah Lot

7) Pura Taman Ayun

8) Pura Ulun Danu Temple

9) Pura Luhur Uluwatu

10) Pura Goa Lawah

There are various images and articles online you can take a look which I did when I was finalizing my list of temples. I alloted 2 days in exploring the must see temples which is not enough still. Out of the Top 10 Must See List I managed to witnessed 6 of em. Here are some of the them.

1) Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary

1461058_663408223710558_190986065_n

Set on the downhill end of Jalan Monkey Forest in Ubud, Bali, the Mandala Wisata Wanara Wana, known in English as the Sacred Ubud Monkey Forest, is a 27-acre forested plot in the village of Padangtegal. The forest’s residents are its main claim to fame: over 600 crab-eating macaques (Macaca fascicularis) who inhabit the trees and interact with visitors – sometimes to the visitor’s detriment!

The forest and its contents are held to be sacred by the residents of Padangtegal – the forest holds the village’s pura dalem, or temple of death, where the cemetery and cremation area are also located. The temple’s holiness is enhanced by presence of a holy relic in its inner sanctum.

I have no intention at all of getting here but the driver just stopped here and asked me if I wanna see the place since we are in Ubud already, well makes sense but I have seen enough monkeys in my life so I was really not that excited roaming around the area. The monkeys can be very aggressive specially if they see holding food or plastic, they will grab it from you and good luck id you can get it back. Took me an hour to go around the area making sure I’d make the  most of the 20,000 IDR admission fee. Just put all your belongings inside your bag or just leave it in the car just to be safe from the monkeys.

ADMISSION: 20,000 IDR per person

HOW TO GET THERE: Private Car, Motorbike or Bicycle if you are staying in Ubud.

ADDRESS: Jalan Monkey Forest, Padangtegal, Ubud
Bali, Indonesia (80571)

OPENING HOURS: everyday from 8.30 am – 6 pm

2)Gunung Kawi Sebatu Temple

529223_663408197043894_1488209839_nKULANG NALANG SPA PARA RELAX NA RELAX

Gunung Kawi Sebatu  temple located around 40 kilometers from the main city Denpasar. Here is one of Bali’s prettiest temples called Gunung Kawi temple (not confused with Gunung Kawi rocky temple in Tampaksiring).Gunung Kawi Sebatu  temple was built in homage to the God of preserver (Wisnu), who rules over water, and here one finds a number of natural spring and waterspouts. The Balinese believe that water is one of the forces of lifeA simple tranquil temple. Perfect for meditation and easing troubled mind.

Gunung Kawi Sebatu temple isn’t a large temple.A lot of fish are swimming in the fountain in the Gunung Kawi Sebatu Temple. I actually mistaken this with the other Gunung Kawi which is Gunung Kawi Tampaksiring as the images i saw online are really different from what it is in front me. It is not congested just like any other temples, few tourist just come by and visit this place so the surroundings can be very serene and tranquil. What I like most about this temple is the sound of free flowing water and the sound of humming birds on the trunk of the trees.This temple is 15 minutes by car from Pura Tirta Empul. It is recommended to stop by this temple by all means if going to Pura Tirta Empul.

ADMISSION: 15,000 IDR

HOW TO GET THERE: Private car or taxi

ADDRESS: Tampak Siring, Gianyar – Bali

OPENING HOURS:Daily 7am-5pm

3) Ulun Danu Batur Temple

1470388_663408177043896_1439633576_nHINDI KO SIYA MASYADO NA ENJOY

Ulun Danu Batur Temple or Dewi Ulun Danu is called a goddess that rules the water supply. Jaya Bangus to have reigned as king in the 11th century.Standing enchantingly backed by the magnificent Mount Batur overlooking its vast picturesque Lake, Pura Ulun Danu Batur is regarded as the second most important temple after Bali’s mother temple, Pura Besakih.

Before mount Batur’s devastating eruption occurred 1917, Batur Temple was located at the foot of mount Batur close to the Southwest edge of Lake Batur. The eruption destroyed 65.000 houses, 2,500 temples, and took thousands of lives. But miracle had stopped further disaster at the foot of the temple. People saw this as a good sign and decided to remain staying at their place. In 1926, a new eruption had covered the entire part of the temple except the highest shrine, the place to worship the God in manifestation as Dewi Danu, the Goddess of the waters of the lakes. Villagers then determined to bring the shrine into a higher ground and started to build again the temple.

I honestly didn’t enjoy much this temple, maybe it is almost the end of day or because it doesn’t appeal to me. I had a bad experience though here that after paying the entrance ticket this lady approached me and hand over to me the sarong, cause I cant get inside without wearing it and so I picked one then lady said pay her 150,000 IDR. From out of nowhere I felt irritated cause it is one of those tourist traps, she is insisting me to buy the sarong but I said NO! I just need to rent one and I dont want to buy it. The condition of the sarong looks worn out at all, still she ask me to pay 50,000 IDR for renting the sarong. Still the price is HIGH compared to the price I pay in Besakih Temple which is only 10,000 IDR. I just let it pass though as I dont want to be STRESS! The only thing I appreciate here is the backdrop of the Mount Batur and Lake Batur, it is the 1st time I saw an active Volcano not knowing it can erupt anytime.

ADMISSION: 35,000 IDR + 50,000 IDR for SARONG

HOW TO GET THERE: Private car, Taxi or Tour Services

ADDRESS: Jalan Raya Penelokan (Jalan Raya Kintamani)Located within the Kintamani area, Pura Ulun danu Batur is usually approached from the south with 2 routes in from Ubud (45 minutes), and one each from Besakih (1 hour) and Bangli (30 minutes).

OPENING HOURS: Daily 7am-5pm

4) Taman Ayun Temple

1476632_663408130377234_111533490_nONE OF MY FAVORITE TEMPLE

“Taman Ayun” means “beautiful garden”; a moat surrounds the temple, which gives the complex the appearance of floating on water. A landscaped front courtyard entered through an ornamental candi bentar(split front gate) adds to the temple’s beauty. The inner courtyard features a number of multi-tiered meru (pagodas).This temple is usually visited by tourist once having a set tour to Tanah Lot Temple due to this temple is the same route of the Tanah Lot Tour. The function of Taman Ayun Temple is a place to pray the god in their manifestation.

It is the Royal Temple of Mengwi Empire and it is located in Mengwi Village, Mengwi sub district, Badung regency and about 18 Km north side of Denpasar town. It is strategically located beside of major roadway between Denpasar to Singaraja.I pretty much like those long brown temples that reach to the blue sky. I did not spend much time as here as cant get inside the temple

ADMISSION: 10,000 IDR

HOW TO GET THERE: Private car, Taxi or Tour Services

ADDRESS: Taman Ayun is located in Mengwi village, about 18 Km north side of Denpasar, in Mengwi sub district in the Badung regency.

OPENING HOURS: 8AM-6PM except on Nyepi day.

5) Besakih Temple

8252_663408153710565_1368566181_nTHE MOTHER TEMPLE OF BESAKIH

It is the biggest Hindu temple in Bali which the local people call Pura Besakih. It owns beautiful view from the top of temple area where we can see the wide nature panorama until to the ocean so that way this temple is many visited by tourists from all over the world.Pura Besakih is about 1,000m (3,280 ft.) above sea level. Steps ascend through split gates to the main courtyard where the Trinity shrines are wrapped in cloth and decorated with flower offerings.The Besakih’s name is come from the word of Basuki, the old language from Sanskrit Wasuki, and then it become the Ancient Java Language. In this Sanskrit, the Basuki means congratulation.

The almost sunset time when we reached The Besakih Temple and it took us an hour from Ulun Danu Batur Temple to Besakih, getting there is really tiring and good thing I have my Ipad so just listened to the songs until it is all over. Before you enter you are required to wear sarong to pay respect. The time we arrived I wasn’t charged anymore as the past closing time but still I was able to explore the place under the moonlight. Less than an hour and I am done, it would have been a great experience though if we came a bit earlier so I can see the place from daylight. This is the last temple we explored before we head back to Denpasar. We’re supposed to visit Tirta Temple but we run out of time due to the long hours of travel from point A-B which did not coincide in my mind.

ADMISSION: 10,000 IDR

HOW TO GET THERE:Private car, Taxi or Tour Services

ADDRESS: in Besakih Village, Rendang Sub-district, Karangasem District

OPENING HOURS: 8AM-5PM but it is actually open 24 hours as it is a place of worship

6) Ulun Danu Bedugul Temple

1466214_663408107043903_622686808_nAMAZED BY THE THOUGHT OF TEMPLE FLOATING IN THE LAKE

Pura Ulun Danu Bratan, Bedugul, is one of the very famous attractions in Bali – Lake Bratan (Lake Danau Beratan), with the beautiful temple Ulun Danu Bratan, on its shores – its breathtaking scenery.It is most likely one of the most picturesque and most photographed temple in Bali.The name Ulun Danu, literally means “the beginning of the lake” but this might not to claim that the site is the beginning of a lake. Bring an umbrella as rainfall can be sudden and frequent in this area, at times the weather can be cold so prepare to bring a jacket.

You can rent a boat or canoe to explore the area over water, or simply relax and enjoy the ride across the lake. Look at those misty clouds covering the mountain which provides a dramatic feel. The warm breeze of the air that dampens to my skin makes me stay for couple of minutes and just stare at the lake and mountain. It was low tide when we where at the area so the magical illusion of the temple floating on the lake surrounded by misty clouds is not present but still it is on my TOP 3 must see temples to visit.

ADMISSION: 30,000 IDR

HOW TO GET THERE: Private car, Taxi or Tour Services

ADDRESS: Ulun Danu Beratan is located on the western lakeside of the Beratan Lake in the village of Candi Kuning highland region of Bedugul, Tabanan Regency.

OPENING HOURS: 8AM-6PM

7) Purah Tanah Lot

1476557_663408050377242_1641065391_nTEMPLE ON THE ROCK

The word of Tanah Lot is consisted of two words that are Tanah word interpreted as a reef looking like gili or isle. Lot or Lod word has meaning the sea. So Tanah Lot is meaning the small island floating on the sea.The temple Pura Tanah Lot, simple in its construction, is dramatic in its ocean-front location and is one of the main temples in the worship of Balinese gods.The temple itself is built on a small promontory which is only accessible at low tide.During high water the rock takes on the appearance of a large boat at sea, such is its shape.Sunset is the best time to visit Tanah lot, when the golden red skies frame the temple and waves crash into the rocks.

After the main entrance, there were many souvenirs stalls along the way. Most traveler if not would tend to stop and buy some stuff, but shopping doesn’t define me so I just passed by every stalls and directly head to the temple. It was past 1PM when we arrived the place and the temperature is unbearable and sweat becomes sticky. Before coming to Tanah Lot I did not have any expectation at all as the temple looks ordinary from the images available online but “What in The World” , I was awed and just amazed to see it in person for I never thought it is such an amazing holy place. We cant get close enough cause the water level is HIGH and the WAVES almost hit me, good thing I was able to run quickly when I saw a HUGE WAVE approaching.  It took me almost 2 hours here taking pictures in almost every part of temple. I also went to the other side of it where you can see amazing view of Tanah Lot from afar and there are other temples on that side.

ADMISSION: 15,000 IDR

HOW TO GET THERE: Private car, Taxi or Tour Services

ADDRESS: Jalan Raya Tanah Lot, Beraban Village, Kediri, Tabanan

OPENING HOURS: 7AM-7PM

8) Uluwatu Temple

1501844_664069993644381_1679009069_nLOOK AT THE BREATHTAKING COASTLINE AND CLIFF

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.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.

Once you pay the entrance fee, you will be given the ‘Sarong’ or a‘Waist String’. To respect to the Holy Temple.Pura Luhur Uluwatu Temple is inhabited by large number of monkeys (precautionary signs have been put at a few places), who are extremely adept at snatching your belonging, including bags, cameras and eyeglasses. Keep a very close grip on all your belongings including eyeglasses if possible.Apart from the magnificent view of cliff you can also watch the Kecak Dance (monkey dance) performances are held at the temple daily between 6 PM and 7 PM. Tickets for the visually spectacular if her unoriginal show (it was invented in the 1930s) performed for tourists cost Rp. 75,000.  It is HIGHLY recommended to go on a sunset trip to Uluwatu as the sight of the sun setting over the dramatic temple by the cliff is a sight to behold.

ADMISSION: 20,000 IDR

HOW TO GET THERE:Private car, Taxi or Tour Services

ADDRESS: Pura Uluwatu is located in Pecatu Village, Kuta sub-district, Badung regency, about 25km south of Kuta and it usually takes around one hour to get to and from there.

OPENING HOURS: 9AM-6PM As a place of worship however, it is open 24 hours daily.

Overall it was a nice experience to go on a temple tour for a day or two. Temples may be boring or may look identical to another but each temple has different stories to tell. You can do a little bit of research about each temples so you will understand more about why the temple is built. My TOP 3 MUST SEE TEMPLES are as follows.

1) Purah Tanah Lot

2)Uluwatu Temple

3)Ulun Danu Temple

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