Bali – The Island of Thousand Temples

Uluwatu Temple, Bali

Bali, Because of its very religious society and its numerous Hindu temples, is called the “Island of a Thousand Puras (Temples)”, or the “Island of the Gods”.

We would like to tell you something about a few of them that we found the most remarkable.
Entering any Hindu temple in Bali requires both men and women to cover their legs below the knee by using a sarong together with the sash that should be worn around the waist. As a sign of respect you should also have your shoulders covered while visiting the temple. Menstruating women and women who have given birth in the last 6 weeks may not enter temples. Likewise, if you have an open wound or injury you should not enter a temple.

Temples on Bali that you should visit!

There are public temples which can be accessed by everybody and family temples that are used only by members of the family. During our stay in Ubud we focused on discovering complex Balinese culture, religion and art. In that time we visited some outstanding temples and here they are:
  • Pura Tanah Lot 

    This temple is located on a lonely rock outpost a couple dozen meters away from mainland. It is the most famous one out of “Seven Sea Temples”, which were builded to honour sea gods. At low tide you can simply walk to the rock platform of Tanah Lot, but when we were there the water level was high and ferocious weaves were crushing at the temple’s fundaments.

    It is amazing how this construcion withheld centuries of ocean’s wrath. The site is very important in local religion and numbers of pilgrims are almost as high as numbers of tourists.  We had a lovely walk along the coast and there were few smaller temples situated on the shore and the views were simply stunning. Locals try to make their living offering variety of services such as taking pictures with huge python or temple officials demanding outrageous 200$ for permit to fly a drone. We rushed to land and 2 minutes of footage would have to be enough.

  • Pura Dalem Agung Padangtegal 

     It is one of 3 teples situated in the Sacred Monkey Forest in Ubud. They were build in XIV century and are located within sanctuary. The Forest Management referes to Hindu teachings of living in harmony with nature. The main attraction were obviously the monkeys. There were plenty of trees and a river within the park and it is populated by as many as 600 monkeys. They are everywhere. You can buy monkey snacks from the staff and handfeed them. It is hard to describe them as 100% wild animals, but those cheeky  mammals go as they please. We really liked the opportunity to watch them especially as the monkeys take care of their infants and play with juveniles. Fascinating show.  

  • Tirta Empul 

    This temple is located roughly in the middle of the island, north of Ubud. It was constructed in the year 962 to protect natural spring. The water is comming from beneath the ground, it is considered holy and used in various hindu rituals. There are two pools in the middle part of the temple and 30 shower-like springwater outlets. According to the local beliefs washing yourself in the springwater will purify your soul and chase evil spirits away. You need to follow some rules during the ritual which are clearly described at the entrance.

  • Pura Goa Lawah

    When we were moving from Ubud to oceanfront chilling paradise in Candidasa our trusted driver recommended visiting a temple. It is located by the sea, close to a busy road to Lombok ferry. It is trully exceptional and better known as Bat Cave Temple. That is right, there is a cave full of bats literally in the middle of temple. There were hundreds of them swarming at the top of the cave entrance. Even though it was a middle of the day they were not sleeping at all. Quite noisy and bustling creatures. Incredible site.

  • Pura Uluwatu

    Yet another astonishing place. The temple is located on the top of 70 meters high sea cliff and it almost hangs above endless Indian Ocean. There is a small wall securing the edge and the views are marvelous. It is an excellent backdrop for sunsets, but we had to leave earlier as we were staying in Ubud 2-hour drive away.  Anyways, we had an amazing time sightseeing. There are a lot of people and we – a blonde couple – are almost as big attraction as the temple itself. We are patienly posing to numerous pictures as asked by excited pilgrims.  The scenery is so neat that it is hard to stop staring.

These temples are also worth seeing!

During our stay in Bali we visited dozens of temples. Especially in Ubud. The town is a well known cultur and art center. While you are there, it is worth stepping in Pura Saraswati, where you can find ponds of water lilies. Another great place is Puri Seren located within Royal Palace. As moving around the island is a bit problematic we did not have time or will to visit another 2 famous temples. Maybe next time, who knows.

Next time…

If we come to Bali again we would love to visit Pura Ulun Danu Bratani – Temple by the Lake picturesquely located in the mountains and Pura Besakih at foothills of Mt Agung. Who knows, maybe some day we will write an update to this note!

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