I fell in love with the exceptional Balinese Hindu temples. If you know me pretty well, you’d think that the statement might be a bluff for I easily get templed out on temple tours, but no, I really love the temples in Bali.
We’re in the middle of our Bali leg (Southeast Asian Summer Backpacking Trip) and we’ve already had the perfect staycation in our resort at Kuta, checked out some of the beaches in Bali, did some village and temple tours in Ubud and had fun doing my first ever yoga dive. With only few more days left, we intended to check out the Hindu temples around Bali only to realize that two days isn’t enough.
I don’t dig temples that much, one or two temples per city is enough for me. I was templed out in Siem Reap, Nepal and Ayutthaya, and I didn’t like the feeling afterwards. But it’s a different story for my buddies; they adore temples that they can spend half a day inside a temple complex, I would be bored, honestly.
The Balinese Hindu temples are called Pura. The temples or places of worship are built in accordance with Balinese architecture style and rules (which are in tune with Hinduism, the predominant religion in Bali). Bali Island also has the six sanctuaries of the world (Sad Kahyangan) or the six holiest places of worship which are situated in six key points on the island. The placement of the temples is believed to provide spiritual balance for the Balinese people. Fortunately, we got to visit two of these temples.
|Sarong is a must|
First stop on our temple run was the Pura Uluwatu in Badung which is a Balinese sea temple dedicated to Sang Hyang Widhi Waha and is considered as one of the Sad Kahyangan or six holiest places of worship in Bali. The temple is perched on top of a 70-meter high cliff overlooking the sea. In Balinese language; ulu means edge and watu means rock.
We went straight to the entrance counter upon arrival and paid 20,000 Rupiah (US$ 1.50) each for the entrance fee and were handed some sarongs to be used inside.
First thing I noticed was a voice prompt that cautions the visitors of some untoward incidents with some of the monkeys and then a sign that, again, warns people on the monkeys’ doings. Apparently, the temple is inhabited with monkeys; I was terrified.
|A local vendor outside the Pura Uluwatu|
|Pura Uluwatu temple complex|
The complex houses three main temples and eighteen separate sanctuaries. The Balinese people make it a point to visit Pura Besakih once or twice a year during the temple festival. The view from the top is so breathtaking that it also is a popular temple destination for tourists.
It was about a two-hour drive from our home in Ubud and the scenic countryside view was stunning; we had some episodes of catnap on the way. Finally arriving on our destination, I immediately noticed how everything turned out to be a tourist trap. Shops selling some touristy stuff surrounded the parking area. Sarong rental shops and small warungs (eateries) were everywhere.
We queued for the entrance fee where we paid 15,000 Rupiah each (US$ 1.13) and 5,000 Rupiah (US$ 0.38) for the parking fee. We were then brought to a table where a man (a big man) handed me a guide map to the temple complex.
I knew beforehand that the sanctuaries and temples are restricted to tourists, I respect that. The big man said that if we wanted to go around the temple complex we should hire a guide, and if not, we could only go up to the front yard and observe from there. At this point the negotiation for the guide started. He said that the volunteer guides were paid on a "donation basis" only. To cut it short, we bargained with our “donation” with the big man to enter the complex and paid 160,000 (US$ 12.06) Rupiah for one guide which I felt was too much considering that it is supposedly a “donation”, well, that's just me.
After the exhausting haggling battle, we went ahead with our guide and walked around one kilometer uphill to where the temple was. Motorcycle drivers were urging us for a ride up for a fee but I was too exhausted with negotiating that I didn’t even stop to bother.
While our guide was busy with his spiel (my buddies were in full attention), I went around the front yard and noticed that there was a celebration in the temple. Every six months, there’s a festival in all Balinese Hindu temples and we’re quite privileged to have witnessed this at Besakih Temple. During the festival, the Hindus in Bali would come and visit the temples with their offering and pray to the gods.
We spent almost three hours combing the alleys and paths leading to the sanctuaries where I met some kids who happily played with me. As we went back to the parking area, I thanked our guide and apologized for my very moody state early on saying that he resembled so much like my former boyfriend; laughter everywhere.
It was the last day of our Bali tours and we planned to check out two other important temples.
First stop was the Pura Ulun Danu Bratan or simply Pura Bratan, a major water temple in Bali. Located at Kalanganyar Village in Kintamani sub-district, it lies 1,200 meters above sea level and is dedicated to the Hindu goddess of lakes and rivers – Dewi Batari Ulun Danu.
|Ganesh - god of wisdom and learning|
My favorite Hindu god
|Julius - one of my favorite persons in the world|
|Balinese Hindu temple split gate|
What I love about these Balinese Hindu temples is that each has its own unique character that it would be impossible to compare them with one another. I would gladly go back to Bali and finish off all those we've missed; yes, you're hearing it right, I'm kinda loving temples now.
Bali Golden Tour
Jalan Cekomaria, Gang Taman IV No. 1,
Denpasar, Bali, Indonesia
Contact Numbers: (+62) 851.0096.6391 | (+62) 815.5844.9505
Email Address: email@example.com
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