Temples on Bali are really quite dramatic, extraordinary and are examples of some of the most esteemed architecture in the world.
They are placed on excellent vantage points: cliffs, mountain caves, in the middle of lakes.
When you enter a temple through its beautifully designed and decorated gates or doors, you walk into an open place of worship between several shrines, towers and pavilions dedicated to various gods and deities. At the shrines, you will notice colourful offerings, such as rice, incense sticks, food, flowers, and so on.
The Department of Religion has catalogued at least eleven thousand temples – small and large, local and regional. This figure doesn’t include the thousands of shrines that the farmers erect on their fields, nor the many domestic temples that are kept in the house of every Balinese family.
This is the reason Bali is sometimes called ‘The Island of The Thousand Temples’.
Most Balinese families belong to a half dozen or more temples and devote several weeks of labour each year to maintaining the temples and preparing them for numerous festivals.
Each temple occupies its own place in the intricate hierarchy of Balinese temples, with the Mother Temple in Besakih at the pinnacle.
Pura means a Balinese Hindu temple and the place of worship for the adherents. Balinese language, the term pura came to refer to a religious temple complex, while the term puri came to refer to a palace, that is the residence of kings and nobles.
You are welcome to visit them on any time of the day. We recommend to visit the spectacular Ulun Danu Temple, the Temple of The Goddess of The Lake, on the shores of Lake Bratan and Tamba Waras temple – a hidden mystic temple in a jungle.
- Pura Ulun Danu Bratan– This temple sits on the edge of Lake Bratan and is worth a visit if only for its beautiful surroundings. The part of the temple that gets all the attention is are the 11 roofs, situated on a point of land, jutting out into the lake.
- Tamba Waras temple – hidden mystic temple in the jungle, far from civilization; known of it pure divine energy. We recommend visiting this temple’s spiritual healers and teachers. We will experience night meditation conducted by a high priest.
- Pura Besakih – This makes the ‘Best of’ list solely because of its importance and spectacular ceremonies. It is the largest and the holiest temple, known as the ‘Mother Temple’ and its name translates literally as the ‘Temple of Spiritual Happiness’.
- Pura Tanah Lot – known as Pura Pakendungan, it is reachable only during low tide. This temple sits dramatically on a rock, surrounded by the pounding surf and black sand. It is a holy place to worship the Balinese sea gods. At the base of the rocky island, poisonous sea snakes are believed to guard the temple against evil spirits and intruders. We will especially enjoy the highly picturesque view of the temple at sunset.
- Tirta Empul– This temple is built around a sacred spring, Tampak Siring, and its two bathing spots have been used by the Balinese for a millennium. It is believed that the springs have magical powers and bring good health and prosperity. We will visit it in the morning, and experience the springs as the Balinese do.
- Pura Lempuyang – Only for the fit and willing, it takes some 1,700 winding steps up through the forested slopes of Mount Lempuyang to reach Pura Lempuyang: the views of Mount Agung are divine.