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List of Top 10 Most Visited temples in Bali

Way to Pura Basakih Temple

Bali is an island of a thousand Gods. The temples built here are of top notch artwork which has managed to attract tourists from all over the globe. There are around 10,000+ temples across Bali that will allow you temple hopping on this gorgeous island. You need not be a religious person at heart because these temples have a lot of knowledge to offer about Balinese culture, traditions that have been ongoing since centuries. Practically, it is impossible to see all the temples in your first visit, second visit or even the third visit. So we have jot down the ten most visited temples of Bali.

When going to the temple, do not forget to wear a “sarong” and “sacred belt”, then the locals will meet you with pleasure and share their traditions. Lets Check out Complete List of 10 Most Visited, Popular Temple of Bali.

1. Pura Basakih

Pura Basakih, Bali

The main Hindu complex of “temples of the island”. It consists of 22 separate temples that rise along the foot of the Gugung Agung volcano by the terraces. The mountain and the “Mother of All Temples” are considered the main shrines on the island. There is also a complex for monks – kuti, farm buildings, barns for storing grain, cockpit sites, signal towers, sculptures of Shiva, Bharma and Vishnu and stone thrones. Due to the high humidity and the clouds that regularly come here, the buildings are overgrown with moss and greenery so that they create a feeling of fabulousness. Entry into the complex is allowed only Hindu. Simple tourists and foreigners can climb the main stairs only to the first level of the chrome complex.

What is interesting:

Hindu Devotee - Pura Basakih
Hindu Devotee at Pura Basakih Temple, Bali

The most important temple complex on the island is also known as the “Mother of All Temples”, Besakikh is the sacred center and the basis of the Hindu religion. The temple of Besakikh consists of 23 separate temples on six levels on an area of ​​almost three kilometers. Some buildings date back to the 10th century AD.

In 1963, during the eruption of the great Agung, the lava stopped a few meters from Besakikh and the temple was not damaged. Locals took a miraculous salvation for the sign of the gods and since then he has been revered even more.
Besakikh is included in the list of six sacred temples (Sad Kahyangan) and in nine protective temples on the cardinal points (Kahyangan Padma Bhuwana), of which it is central.

Where is Located:

The Pura Besakih temple complex is located in Karangasem district, 63 kilometers northeast of Denpasar, on the southwestern slope of Agung volcano . You can get both independently and as part of a tourist group by bus. Temple trips are organized by all Balinese travel agencies.

Parking is located one kilometer from the central entrance to Pura Besakikh – this distance will have to be covered on foot. If you are traveling on your own, then pay attention: tickets are sold at the entrance to the territory, near the parking lot.

When to go:

A visit to Besakikh is best planned for early morning. By noon, tourist groups come to the temple complex and then it becomes just not to overflow. Especially if there is a big ceremony on this day. And after lunch, the probability of fog is great: the pagodas are located at an altitude of more than 1000 meters above sea level.

Pura Basakih, Bali Temple - Mother of All Temples View Gallery 5 images

Small ceremonies in the temples of the Besakikh complex take place several times a day. Foreigners can watch them and take pictures, but it is strictly not recommended to enter the territory of the altar during sacred rites.
To pass the fence necessarily need a sarong. In the souvenir shops at the temple, they can be rented or bought. The cost of renting about 25 thousand rupees, you can buy for 50 thousand rupees.

2. Pura Taman Ayun

What is interesting: Pura Taman Ayun – the second largest temple complex of Bali after Besakih, beautiful and atmospheric place. It was built as the royal temple of the Mengwi dynasty. Until 1891, Pura Taman Ayun was considered the most important in the whole kingdom. On the territory are built 11 pagodas as a symbol of the sacred mountain Muhamera. It is believed that this mountain is the axis of the whole of our world and is located in the center of the universe. At the top, however, resides the supreme deity, as well as the souls of deceased people.

pura tamanayun in Bali

The name translates as “The Temple on the Square in the Garden”, and there is still a beautiful garden: fancy towers, gazebos, a theater, fountains and a huge amount of flowers. The inner temple is surrounded on all sides by ponds with blooming lotuses and fish.

pura tamanayun, Bali Temple View Gallery 6 images

Where is located?:

Taman Ayun Temple is located in the south of the island, near the village of Mengwi.

3. Gungun Kawi

The name of the temple Gunung Kawi can be translated as the Mountain of the poet. For centuries, the river in the area of ​​the temple washed out a steep ravine, so Gunung Kawi can also be translated from Balinese as a “long blade” or “knife.” What options and the right, still not exactly known.

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Historians claim that this is the tomb of King Anak Vungsu and his family. However, there is evidence that even earlier this place had a temple, which to this day has not survived.

The whole complex consists of 5 small shrines located on both sides of the river. Two complexes on the eastern slope, and 3 complexes on the western slope of the ravine. On one side of the river are the tombs of the king, and on the opposite bank of the queen and his concubines.

What is interesting:

The ancient cave city Gunung Kawi is famous for the royal tombs carved right in the rocks. The complex has 10 giant statues depicting the royal family of the Udayan dynasty. If you cross the bridge at the bottom of the valley, you can get to another temple in the rock.

Around the complex are many paths for walks through the jungle, rice terraces, not far from there are famous springs, there is a waterfall, a mountain river and an impressive trail along the edge of a steep cliff. Many say that this place is so peaceful atmosphere that you want to stay longer here.

Where is Located:

Located in the valley of the Parkrisan River (Pakrisan), near the village of Tampaksiring, about 25 km from Ubud to the north. The path leading to the temple passes through the picturesque rice terraces. Gunung Kawi is almost in a ravine, by the river. To go to him, you need to go down 371 steps down.
The best time to visit is early in the morning.

4. Pura Ulun Danu Bratan

The most unforgettable impression will remain if you meet the dawn here: the sun’s rays, passing through the morning mist, brightly illuminate the water and the temple itself. And best of all is to rent a boat and meet the sunrise on the lake water overlooking the temple and the mountains.

pura ulun danu bratan, Bali View Gallery 4 images

What is interesting:

This is perhaps the second most photographed temple in Bali. Pura Oolong Danu Bratan is one of the 9 spiritual centers of the island. The main temple was built in honor of the goddess of water Devi Danu. Here you can often see the ceremony. According to ancient legend, everyone who bathes in the lake, that is, undergo a cleansing procedure, will be granted youth and longevity. Therefore, the Balinese come to the lake for swimming in the consecrated water at least once a year.

Where is it located:

On the shore of Lake Bratan, Bedugul district.

5. Pura Tirtha Empul

It was founded in 962 AD during the reign of the Varmadeva dynasty. The temple is located near Ubud in the village of Tampaxiring. Every spring the lake next to the temple is filled with sacred boiling water. According to legend, Indra himself created this source in order to revive his warriors to fight against Mayadanava.

Sacred Tirth Empul View Gallery 5 images

For more than a thousand years people from all over the island have been drawn here to bathe in this sacred spring. There is a belief that a swim in the waters of this source gains health, strength and happiness. 12 jets carry different blessings to people – luck, health, happiness, love, a strong family, etc.

What is interesting:

Pura Tirta Empul – an ancient Hindu temple of holy water (926 AD) and holy sources. These are three long rectangular pools surrounded by elaborate stone bas-reliefs. They are filled with 12 fountains, the water in which is considered holy and has healing properties.

After the service and offerings in the temple, parishioners always go swimming and praying in the main pool. They start from the very first pool, pass through the fountains with the source, pray before each, expressing their request mentally and dipping their heads under the source three times. Then go to the next pool, where the same ritual is performed. At the end of the washing process, eleven sips of water are needed.

Tirth Empul Hindu Temple in Bali
Special baths have been built in the temple where all the island’s believers and tourists can swim and clean themselves. You can also take holy water in bottles and carry it home. Next to the temple, on a hill in 1989, they built a villa in which Indonesian President Sukarno rested. Now this house is used to receive especially important guests of the island. If you decide to swim, do it after visiting the temple itself. Wet visitors to the temple are not allowed. The cost of visiting the temple is 15 thousand rupees, 7,500 for children. When buying a ticket, visitors are given a sarong and belt for hire.

Where is Located ? : 

Tirta Empul is located near the town of Tampaksiring, about 39 km east of the city of Denpasar. From Ubud,drive north towards the Kintamani area and the large caldera for about 30 minutes.

6. Pura Luhur Lempuyang

Pura Luhur Lempuyang Temple in Bali
Pura Luhur Lempuyang Temple in Bali

Pura Luhur Lempuyang is one of the most sacred temples of the island. “Stairway to the sky”, “road to the clouds” – this is what they call this incredibly magical place.

The main temple will have to climb 1700 steps on the stairs, the journey takes about 3 hours and it is a short way. And you can go “long way”, make an additional detour through the jungle and go on the road to three more interesting temple. In this way you can go 5-6 hours, depending on the speed.

Pura Goa Lawah Bali - View Gallery 4 images

What is interesting:

From here there is a beautiful view of the volcano and the ocean. The temple is better to attend during ceremonies, when parishioners put on their best clothes and perform beautiful rituals. But at any other time, a visit to Luhur Lempuyang will not disappoint you. The priests are always on duty in the temples and you can receive a blessing from each of them, and if you wish, talk about religion and rituals. On the way to the uppermost temple, you will pass through thickets of mangroves and bamboo, and even rain and fog will not spoil this beauty.

Where is: 

This impressive temple is located 30 minutes from Amed in northeast Bali. You can get to the lower temple on the highway from Amlapura, following in the direction of Amed. After driving through the water palace of Tirth Gang, on one of the next right turns there will be a signpost Pura Luhur Lempuyang. Next, follow the signs and keep the main road. The road will turn into a steep mountain serpentine directed upwards, to you there!

7. Pura Goa Lawah

The Temple of Goa Lavah, which means “Bat Cave”, one of the nine main temples in Bali. The main attraction of the temple is a natural cave of a rather complex shape on the north side of the temple, which goes deep into the mountains and stretches for about 19 km and where ten thousand fruit bats live.

Pura Pura Goa Lawah Temple , Bali View Gallery 11 images

What is interesting:

At sunset, the ceremony begins when the whole crowd with a shriek and flapping of wings rushes from the cave into the sky. A peculiar sight, sometimes quite terrible, guides warn visitors about it.

Legend has it that the cave is also home to the dragon Basuki, the earthly incarnation of the god Vishnu. More precisely, here is his head, and the tail rests in Besakikh, that is, there is a thirty-kilometer network of branched tunnels between these temples, where Vishnu rests. Maybe because of this, the government of Indonesia regularly provides material support to this temple, so the place is richly decorated with stone carvings, and the sculptures are inlaid with gold.

Where is: In the eastern part of the island, a half hour drive from Denpasar. A more precise location of the cave is the district of Davan, the village of Pinggahan.

8. Pura Tanah Lot

Tanah Lot Temple, Bali
Tanah Lot Temple, Bali

Temple The Tanah Lot Temple is one of the nine main sacred temples of Bali. Is under the protection of UNESCO. Thousands of tourists come every day to see this amazing place. The temple is built on a small island that separates the sea from the land at high tide. Only when the water is low can get inside, but tourists can wander only at the foot of the temple. Only Hindu believers are allowed inside.

FACTs:

According to an ancient legend, the temple of Tanah Lot was built by the Hindu Brahmin “Nirartha” in the 15th century. The name can be translated as “land in water”. The path to the place was indicated to him by the divine light emanating from a spring at the foot of the cliff. Locals first drove Nirartha, but during one of the meditations, he pushed a piece of rock into the sea with his mind. This spring is still preserved and is considered sacred. Water from it is considered healing. Every Hindu considers it his duty to drink at least a couple of sips from it. The temple itself, according to legend, is guarded by poisonous sea snakes from evil spirits and uninvited guests. About snakes, by the way, it may well be true, because in coastal waters very often ringed tails, the venom of which kills a person in a matter of minutes.

What is interesting:

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Tanah Lot is the most famous temple in Bali, the hero of a million photo shoots and cultural symbol of Indonesia. Uniqueness is determined by the location: the temple is connected with the land by a narrow isthmus, which can only be reached at low tide. Only believers can climb the stairs carved into the rock and enter the temple. Tourists can visit only the bottom of the cliff. According to legend, poisonous sea snakes live in the rocky base of the temple, protecting the temple from evil spirits and uninvited guests.

Immediately near the temple there is an official and amusing, in its impudence, cheating of tourists. Local workers stand in front of the stairs leading to the temple and do not allow tourists upstairs, explaining that in order to get there, you need to perform a cleansing rite. After a simple rite, a happy tourist in anticipation rises by 5 steps and finds another worker and a sign with the inscription that the passage is denied further. So just remember: the entrance to the temple is only for Balinese.

When to go:

Road to Tanah Lot, Bali

The place is very picturesque and suitable for both a day visit and an evening one – here you can see a very beautiful sunset. Regardless of when you arrive, be prepared for a million other tourists. Also at sunset you can watch the traditional Balinese dance Kechak.

9. Goa Gajah Caves

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One of the oldest monuments on the island. In general, this is not just a cave, but a whole system of temples, pavilions, pools and statues. The “Elephant Cave” is located above the Petana River in the village of Bedulu. For the first time a European man came to this place only in 1923. Prior to this, the place was carefully guarded by local residents as especially sacred and revered.

What is interesting:

The Temple of Goa Hajah, otherwise the Elephant Cave, was built in the 11th century. At the expense of its origin, there are many intricate legends, for example, that the cave was picked out with a finger by a huge giant. Goa Gajah is an important Hindu archaeological site and in 1995 was added to the provisional UNESCO World Heritage List.

There are no elephants here and there has never been, and the name comes from the statue of the god with the elephant God “Ganesh” – who fulfills the desire and removes obstacles on the way to the goal. Above the cave entrance stands the head of a demon who devours the evil thoughts of people. So if something bothers you, you need it here.
In addition to the cave, temples and demon heads in the temple, there are many curious objects, so do not rush to leave and take a good look.

Where is Located:

Approximately 4 km east of the center of Ubud.
It is worth arriving long before sunset, so as not to wander through the jungle in the dark.

10. Pura Luhur Uluwatu

Tourist & devotee at pura luhur luwatu, Bali View Gallery 6 images

This is one of the most picturesque temples of Bali on the Bukit peninsula . The view of the Indian Ocean from a cliff with a height of 80 meters, on which the temple is located, leaves an indelible impression even among experienced travelers.

What is interesting:

In the forest around the temple inhabited by many monkeys, who are cared for by the servants of the temple. They can be fed and need to fear: they steal, everyone will reach out to something, and they can even pull out the bag.

In the evenings before sunset, here you can see the traditional Balinese performance – Kechak dance. However, you should take care of buying tickets 1-2 hours before the start of the performance, as very often tickets are booked by groups.

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