When you think of Bali, the first thing that comes to mind is probably the tropical beaches surrounded by glistening water. But the Island of Gods is more than that. Picture the traditional architectures standing tall with nature's lush foliage and the fresh cool breeze. We're talking about Bali's impressive Temples. Not only are they remarkable for sightseeing, but their landmark is full of history and culture -- a combination that spells out a one-of-a-kind traveling experience.
So, here are 6 blissful temples you should discover during your trip in Bali!
1 | Tanah Lot Temple
Imagine a temple perched high on the rock in Tabanan, Bali, facing the wide-open ocean with the crashing waves and dramatic colors of the dusk sky. Can you guess what temple it is? If you think of Tanah Lot Temple, you're entirely correct! This temple is the spot to discover bliss, while you sun gaze during golden hours.
The history of this site dates back to the 16th century, by the Dang Hyang Nirartha, a highly respected religious figure in Bali. It is said that he was the one who built a three-temple system in Balinese villages, namely Bale Agung Temple, Puseh Temple, and Dalem Temple. During his travels to the southern coast of Bali, he decided to spend the night on a little rock-island, Gili Beo -- a bird-shaped rock. Here, he felt a sense of enlightenment to build a shrine, just right where he was. The leader of the village was appalled at this and banished Nirartha from Gili Beo. The Balinese mythology continues with Nirartha moving the rock with his divine supernatural powers to the sea, constructing a temple, and naming it Tanah Lot.
The best time to visit this area is during Odalan; a ritual held every 210 days. You will see rows of Balinese women gracefully carrying their offerings on their head to pray at the temple of Tanah Lot. Once you've enjoyed absorbing the beauty and culture, you can also enjoy some mouthwatering menus around this site. It will surely be a memorable experience you will treasure.
2 | Uluwatu Temple
Similar to Tanah Lot Temple, Uluwatu Temple lies on a rock below the stunning pristine beach. It offers one of the best spots for sunset delights, with the backdrop view of the sun overlooking the beautiful ocean. In the evening, right at the front of the temple's entrance, you can observe a Balinese dance, Kecak Dance. It's a spellbinding performance where men in black and white sarongs sit in a lotus position and raise their hands, saying "ke-cak-ke-cak".
This temple is one of the six main temples in Bali known as Pura Sad Kahyangan. It was even said that this was the spot where Empu Kuturan did his worships. It was then followed by Dang Hyang Nirartha, who attained Moksha, or Nirvana.
Below this temple is the well-known paradise, Uluwatu Beach. It is famous for its surfing waves and relaxing vibes. So be sure to observe the cultural beauty when you're in Badung, Bali.
3 | Ulun Danu Beratan Temple
Situated in the highlands of the mountainous Bali, lies the majestic Ulun Danu Beratan Temple. Below the religious landmark lies glistening water, Lake Beratan, creating a crisp and calm atmosphere.
Pura Ulun Danu Beratan was built in adoration of the Goddess Danu, the goddess of water, lakes, and rivers. This traditional architecture consists of four sacred buildings. Linga Pura stands three levels high, becoming a place to worship Shiva. Pura Puncak Mangu stands 11 stories, built for Vishnu. Then, the Pura Teratai Bang is the main temple. Meanwhile, Pura Dalem Purwa is constructed to worship Sang Hyang Widhi Wasa.
Besides strolling around this site, learning new things about its history and heritage, you can also experience some water recreation. Since the temple is situated on Lake Beratan, Tabanan, you can enjoy the cool air on a boat. Marvel around the area and discover the bliss!
4 | Tirta Empul Temple
Tirta Empul Temple, also known as Pura Tirta Empul or the Holy Water temple, is another Balinese site with beautiful sacred springs. People worldwide visit Tirta Empul Temple to marvel at its beauty and bathe in its refreshing blessed water. It is said that this temple was created by the God Indra, possessing curative properties. Many people also believe that creating this traditional architecture involves the legend of an epic battle between a powerful and magical king named Mayadenawa and the God Indra.
As you step inside this complex, you will walk through the large Balinese gate, also known as Candi Bentar. Here, an outer courtyard can be explored. At the end of this is Candi Bentar, a gate guarded by intricately carved Dwarapala statues. Once you reach the main attraction, Jaba Tengah, you can view the crystal-clear pool. 30 waterspouts into the two sacred purification pools gush out its water. Local Balinese and Hindu worshippers stand in long lines in the pools waiting to dip their heads under the water fountain in a purification ritual known as 'melukat'. Because this is a sacred site, be sure to wear sarongs before entering the area.
5 | Goa Gajah
In Gianyar, Bali, stands a historical site, Goa Gajah. It is an ancient cave that serves as an archaeological place with a relic-filled courtyard. You can view the large wantilan or a traditional Balinese meeting hall inside the courtyard, complete with old stone carvings. There is also a pool, which was excavated in 1954. Inside it are statues said to depict the Hindu angels. There are different areas of Goa Gajah you explore, including its holy water, garden and river -- you can even sight its historical statues and stupas.
It is said that this traditional architecture was constructed during the 11th century, in the Warmadewa Era. Now, this temple is used for Buddhists and Hindus as a place of worship and acculturation of the two religions.
6 | Taman Ayun Temple
Northwest of Denpasar lies a stunning traditional architecture, Taman Ayun, a significant temple and landmark in the Mengwi Village. It is a well-known complex, showcasing its magnificent traditional architectural features. It also has an expansive garden with lotus-filled ponds -- a site with marvelous nature sightseeing. It's also a great place to imagine how the Balinese royals lived in the past, with their pools, courtyards and enclosures.
Pura Taman Ayun is a temple built in the Mengwi era. In 1556 Saka (1634 M), King Mengwi, I Gusti Agung Putu, constructed this site to worship the ancestors of King Mengwi. You can explore the area whenever you're in the village of Mengwi, Badung.
Bali is filled with exciting places to visit, especially their wonderful temples surrounded by the island's tropical beauty. No wonder it is dubbed as a Thousand Temple Island. Try and explore more of these sites, and you will be able to absorb Bali's heritage and history.
While you plan your next adventure to these 6 places, we suggest you also implement the CHSE (cleanliness, health, safety, and environmental sustainability) health protocols. This means to always wear a mask when you're out and about, keep your distance from others, and always wash your hands.
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