Bali Temples

As Bali fairly called "The Island of 1000 temples", here we will briefly cover only several Temples in Bali.

There are several types of temples (pura) in Bali, each serving certain functions of Balinese rituals throughout the Balinese calendar. The Balinese temples are arranged according to the physical and spiritual realm of Balinese people, which corresponds to kaja-kelod sacred axis, from mountain tops the realms of gods, hyang spirits, the middle fertile plain the realm of humans, all the way to the beach and ocean, the realm of sea deities and demons.

  • Pura kahyangan jagad: pura that are located in the mountainous region of the island, built upon mountain or volcano slopes. The mountains are considered as the sacred realm, the abode of gods or hyang. The most important pura kahyangan in Bali is Mother Temple of Besakih complex on the slopes of Mount Agung.
  • Pura tirta: "water temples", a type of pura that other than religious function, also have water management function as part of Subak irrigation system. The priests in these temples have authority to manage the water allocation among rice paddies in the villages surrounds the temple. Some tirta temples are noted for its sacred water and having petirtaan or sacred bathing pool for cleansing ritual. Other water temple are built within lakes, such as Pura Ulun Danu Bratan. The example of this type of temple are Pura Taman Ayun and Pura Tirta Empul.
  • Pura desa: a type of pura dedicated to the worship of Brahma, that are located within villages or cities, serving as the center of Balinese people's religious activities.
  • Pura puseh: a type of pura dedicated to the worship of Vishnu.
  • Pura dalem: a type of pura dedicated to the worship of Shiva. Usually Shiva's shakti, Durga, is venerated in this temple. In human life cycle, the temple is connected to rituals concerning death.
  • Pura mrajapati: a type of pura to worship prajapati (the lord of people) or the cosmic might. Most often, in this temple Shiva is worshipped in his form as prajapati. Often describes as the temple of the dead, this type of temple often functioned as the graveyard of the deceased prior to ngaben (cremation) ceremony.
  • Pura segara: pura that are located by the sea to appease the sea deities. It is usually important during the Melasti ritual. The example of this type of temple is Pura Tanah Lot and Pura Uluwatu.

Pura Besakih

Besakih is known as the Mother Temple of Bali. Besides being the most important temple for the whole of the island, another attraction of Besakih, actually a complex of temples, is its dramatic location on the southern slopes of Mount Agung.

Pura Tanah Lot

Tanah Lot is probably the most famous of Bali's temples and mean "Land in the Middle of the sea". The temple sits just off the coast on a rock, which is quite spectacular. The temple is visited quite often at sunset and provides great photos. The temple is believed to be the work of 15th century priest Nirartha.

Pura Luhur (Uluwatu) Temple

Pura Luhur is a Balinese Sea Temple at Uluwatu on Bali. It was built in the 11th century. Probably one of the most spectacular temples sitting atop the cliffs overlooking the surf at Uluwatu. Luhur means "something of divine origin" while "Uluwatu" can be broken into "ulu" which means "land's end" and "watu" means "rock" in the old language). Pura Luhur Uluwatu is one of Bali’s ‘directional temples’ guarding Bali from evil spirits from the SW.

Pura Tirta Empul

Considered one of the 6 most important temples in Bali, Pura Tirta Empul dates back to 926 AD. Ever since - for more than a thousand years - the Balinese have come to bathe in the sacred waters for healing and spiritual merit. The spring water is sacred and thought to have healing properties.
Legend says that the sacred spring was created by the god Indra. His forces had been poisoned by Mayadanawa, so he pierced the earth to create a fountain of immortality to revive them.

Pura Ulun Danu Beratan

Pura Ulun Danu Bratan, or Pura Bratan, is the second most important temple in Bali after the mother temple Besakih. The temple is found on the shores of Danau Bratan (Lake Bratan) in the mountains near Bedugul. The temple was built in 1926 and is dedicated to Dewi Batari Ulun Danu, goddess of lakes and rivers.

Pura Goa Lawah

Goa Lawah which means 'Bat Cave', is located along the coast of southeastern Bali just west of Candidasa. Founded in 1007 AD, the temple is built around a cave filled with thousands of bats. It is one of the directional temples protecting Bali from evils spirits from the south-east side.

Pura Ulun Danu Batur

Pura Ulun Danu Batur, built in 1926, dedicated to Dewi Batari Ulun Danu, goddess of lakes and rivers. “Ulun Danu” literally translates as “head of the lake”.
Until 1926 Pura Ulun Danu and the village of Batur were located down in the caldera, at the foot of the Batur volcano. After the volcano erupted violently in 1926, both the village and the temple were destroyed except for the most important shrine, an 11-tiered meru dedicated to Dewi Batari Ulun Danu. The villagers moved to the highest and oldest rim of the caldera where they rebuilt their village and the temple.
Actually the Pura Ulun Danu is a complex of nine different temples, containing in total 285 shrines and pavilions dedicated to the gods and goddesses of water, agriculture, holy springs, art, crafts, etc.

Pura Lempuyang Luhur

The Pura Lempuyang Luhur is a beautiful temple on the hill Seraya between Amlapura and Amed. It is one of Bali's nine main temples and is of great significance for the Balinese culture and religion. It's not so easy to reach the place of the temple, because it is known that you have to climb 1700 steps to reach the temple. Some call this temple "The Temple of 1000 steps". To visit the temple you have to pull out for about 2 hours. Once you manage to come up, you will not regret all the efforts, because the temple is really nice and it has a great variety of interesting values of the Hindu religion.
The entire temple complex consists of seven temples of which the highest is at 1,058 meters high. For the visitors of the temple complex it is compulsory to wear a sarong. Down the hill you will find: the Pura Agung Lempuyang Tara Pena. This is the most beautiful temple to see. Only the left and right stairs may be used by visitors to the temple. The middle stage is for the gods and priests in special ceremonies. A narrow, paved road steeply brings you to the second temple Telaga Mas Temple. A narrow path brings you to the Mas Temple Lempuyang Madya Temple Puncak Bisbis Temple, Agung Lempuyang Market and only then you will reach the highest and most prominent temple Lempuyang Luhur temple.
Not only will you enjoy the impressive architecture and unusual traditions related to the Hindu religion, which you see. However, because the temple is so high above sea level, you can enjoy a beautiful sunrise coming up over the mountains and the sea. Therefore, the best time to visit the temple early in the morning. Due to the higher location is during the day and mostly cloudy in the afternoon.

Pura Pusering Jagat

Pura Pusering Jagat is said to be the centre of the old Pejeng kingdom, dating from 1329. Name translated as the "Temple of the Navel of the World". The point of interest here is the meter-high elaborately carved holy water vessel whose exterior is sculpted with a detailed but worn carvings of gods and demons searching for the elixir of life in a depiction of the Mahabharata tale "Churning the Sea of Milk". There are several versions of this legend, but they all relate the story of the gods and the demons desperately trying to get their hands on the elixir of immortal life. As the story goes, under Vishnu's guidance they set about churning this cosmic sea of milk with the aid of a holy mountain as their pestle and the serpentine naga as the pulleys. Carved from a single block of sandstone you can still just make out some of the figures including the undulating naga ropes and a number of dancing deities supporting them. In a nearby pavilion is another significant icon, the meter-high phallic lingam and its female receptacle, the yoni - an important shrine for the Balinese for infertile couples and newlyweds. 

Pura Yeh Gangga

Approximately 600 years old temple, though some other sources thread its origin till XI-th century. Surrounding by bamboo forest, a bit abandoned and known only to locals living nearby this temple and surrounding area (there are several caves around) looks enigmatic and mysterious…

Pura Taman Ayun in Mengwi

Taman Ayun Temple is a Royal Temple of Mengwi Empire built in 1634 and it is located in Mengwi Village, about 18 Km north side of Denpasar town. It is strategically located beside of major roadway between Denpasar to Singaraja. It is set on the land which is surrounded by the big fish pond and look like a drift on the water. It owns the beautiful temple building with multistoried roof and Balinese Architecture. The wide beautiful landscape garden in front courtyard to welcome all visitors who come and visit this temple. 

Pura Sebatu

Gunung Kawi Sebatu Temple, locally referred to as Pura Tirta Dawa Gunung Kawi Sebatu, is a special find for visitors to Central Bali. It is one of the least visited temple complexes on the island Bali, yet is one of the most beautiful and tranquil. It features verdant gardens around ponds filled with carp and blooming lotuses, and ancient shrines surrounded by crystal clear pools fed by natural springs.
The history of the temple is often linked to the presence of the King Mayadenawa but somehow there is no research that can be used as valuable knowledge about it. 
Not far from the main temple there is sacred waterfall used by locals for purification of body and mind.

Gunung Kawi

Pura Gunung Kawi is one of Bali's oldest and largest ancient monuments. It  consists of 10 rock-cut candi (shrines) – memorials cut out of the rock face in imitation of actual statues. They stand in awe-inspiring 8m-high sheltered niches cut into the sheer cliff face. Each candi is believed to be a memorial to a member of the 11th-century Balinese royalty, but little is known for certain.
The five monuments on the eastern bank are probably dedicated to King Udayana, Queen Mahendradatta and their sons Airlangga, Anak Wungsu and Marakata. While Airlangga ruled eastern Java, Anak Wungsu ruled Bali. The four monuments on the western side are, by this theory, to Anak Wungsu's chief concubines. Another theory is that the whole complex is dedicated to Anak Wungsu, his wives, concubines and, in the case of the remote 10th candi, to a royal minister.
As you wander between monuments, temples, offerings, streams and fountains, you can't help but feel a certain ancient majesty here.

Pura Ponjok Batu

Temple which has been existing since 16 century was founded by Danghyang Nirartha – one who spread out the Hinduism in Bali.
According to the archaeology omission at Ponjok Batu Temple, there is an Arca (statue) with four hands as a fundamental of Ponjok Batu Temple building. The attribute of this Arca have timeworn, so that the God Arca it self can not be identified. Besides of the God a cow statue was found (meaning from Siwa God). If the both Arcas are interacting hence the God Arca with 4 hands in this temple is Arca of Siwa God.