Main Temples and Religious Sites in Bali
Lebaoh Temple is placed on a cliff, surrounded by a tranquil atmosphere. Locals consider this temple as very sacred. It is related to Ratu Niang Lingsir or Ida Bethari Sentani. You recognize this from the statue of her that you can find inside the temple. This place is also great for yoga and meditation.
Pesamuan Lawang Sari Temple
Pesamuan Lawang Sari Temple is a beautiful small temple on the south side of Nusa Ceningan. It is close to a popular viewpoint on the island, which is called Blue Lagoon. From there it is only 7 minutes to the north to reach Pesamuan Lawang Sari Temple. The shrines at this temple are dedicated to Lord Shiva, Goddess Sarasvati, Betare Betari Jagad Nusa and Ratu Ayu Nas Rajeg Bumi.
Manik Gemulung Temple
This temple located on the southwest coast of Nusa Ceningan. It is known as a place to carry out a purification ritual to bring enlightenment to the worshipers. According to the ancient legends, Lord Shiva performed Yoga here. That’s why you will find many visitors meditating and doing yoga here.
Pura Wayah Dalem Majapahit
This temple is known as one of the most sacred ones in Nusa Ceningan. Many locals visit this temple to worship and ask for a blessing, healing. They hope God will give them ease for their business. Pura Wayah Dalem Majapahit contains a complex of 4 shrines. They are dedicated to Wayah Dalem Majapahit and Ratu Niang Sakti, Dewi Kwan Im, the Goddess of the sea.
On the north side of Nusa Ceningan you can find Bakung Temple. It faces towards the Bali Sea and the nearby yellow bridge. Locals believe that this temple has a strong connection with one of the Bali ancestry “I Renggan“. He is the one responsible for splitting the ancient Cenik island into two islands which called Nusa Lembongan and Ceningan today.
Pura Segara Desa Pekraman Lembongan
This is probably one of the most beautiful temples in Nusa Lembongan. You should make sure to visit this temple during your holiday on the island. Pura Segara Desa Pekraman Lembongan is located in the area of Mushroom bay beach. Especially during important days in Balinese calendar and during full moon this temple is packed with worshipers.
Puseh Pekraman Village Lembongan
Nearby Pura Puncak Sari you can find Puseh Pekraman Village Lembongan. This temple is located on the high land with a fantastic view of Lembongan island. If you are hiking in this area, you should stop by and ask local to explain the history of this village temple.
Puncak Sari Temple
This beautiful Hindu Bali temple one of the highest points of Nusa Lembongan. You can see the sister islands, Nusa Penida and Ceningan, and the blue Indian Ocean from the yard of the temple.
Pekraman Sakenan Pura Desa Lembongan
The village temple of Pekraman Sakenan Pura Desa Lembongan is located close to the yellow suspension bridge connecting of Lembongan and Ceningan. It is located in the centre of mangrove forest, which makes this temple very unique.
Pura Dalem Desa Pekraman Lembongan
This temple is dedicated to worship several deities like Shiva, Durga, Mother nature and Banaspatiraja (barong). Big ceremonies (odalan) are held every six months on Wednesday or Buda Wage Langkir. The dates are based on Balinese calendar calculation, where one month equals 35 days.
This Bali Hinduism temple is located nearby the white sandy Petitenget Beach. Behind the beauty of classical Bali architecture, is hiding a scary story. A long time ago, the area of Petitenget was known as a haunted place. A vast green astral creature with the name “Bhuta Ijo” was living here. This creature was guarding a magic box which was used as an offering box by a famous Bali ancestor. Bhuta Ijo was loyal and guard the box very well, whoever came close to the box got sick after a few days. The locals talked to the ancestor who had asked Bhuta Ijo to guard the box what tho do. So the Petitenget temple was built. Since then, no more similar incidents were reported.
Segara Sanur Kaja Temple
Located near Sanur beach, you can find Segara Sanur Kaja Temple. It is divided into three sections. The outer part, the middle section and the inner sanctum. A vast wall of stones surrounds the building. Four families from Puri Abiantumbul take care of this temple. They pass on their duty from generation to generation.
Dalem Kedewatan Sanur Temple
This temple is located in Sanur Village area. The existence of this temple is inseparably connected to the well known Balinese ancestor Dhang Hyang NIratha. The locals believe that one of his grandsons has built this temple. A special dancing performance will be shown at this temple during melasti. It is called “Tari Baris Tumbak“.
In Intaran Village Sanur, and close to the historical National Heritage site, you can find Blanjong Temple. The name of this Temple hast it’s origin in the words Belahan (Pieces of) & Ngejung (Fishboat). It goes back to the story of a big fish boat which stranded on the beach nearby the temple. Authentic Balinese food stalls are selling tasty Bali cuisine next to the temple.
Locals well maintain the lovely small beach-side Pura Patal temple. It is always clean, and all the old sculptures are still in good condition. It protects from dangers of the sea.
The surrounding of the temple is filled with pavilions for praying, nicely decorated shrines and preserving relics. On the doorway and courtyard, you can see quite eye-catching carvings. Some monkeys are living in the temple area. But don’t worry about them they are friendly and well behaved.
Dalem Pengembak Temple
This temple is located at the southern end of Sanur. It is a beautiful small temple which is usually used by locals to conduct the purification bath ritual, which is called melukat. This ritual aims to clean our body from all negative energies.
Since 1920 this temple is open for public. It is surrounded by mangrove trees. During special Balinese holidays and full moon it is packed with worshipers.
Saraswati Temple Ubud
Saraswati Temple is located at the centre of Ubud, Bali art and culture capital. There is a small aisle leads to a lotus pond. The temple is dedicated to the Goddess Sarawati, the Goddess of knowledge, music, art, wisdom and learning.
Saraswati temple was built in 1951 and designed by one of Bali’s most popular Architects, Gusti Nyoman Lempad. The design is based on Tri Mandala philosophy. So the temple area is divided into three parts: Nista mandala, Madya mandala, and Utama mandala.
Segara Kidul Temple
Segara Kidul Temple is attached to one of Nusa Penida’s greatest waterfalls, Peguyangan Waterfall. After climbing down hundreds of stairs, you will reach this beautiful temple. It was built to honour the Goddess of South Ocean. In this temple, you can admire natural springs that are considered sacred. Many locals come here for a purification bath.
Puncak Mundi Temple
On the highest point in Nusa Penida island, Puncak Mundi Temple is a located. From there you can see the beautiful scenery of the island. In some areas, you can observe monkeys running around.
Tamba Waras Temple
This temple is located on Mount Batukaru’s southern slope, in the Village of Sangketan, Penebel, about 22 km away from Tabanan city centre. Pura Luhur Tamba Waras temple was built in line with Luhur Batukaru Temple, at about 725 meters above sea level. The temple has been a natural pharmacy warehouse for centuries. Various important medicinal ingredients that were growing around the temple area are a prove fort that. According to a legend the king of Bali was cured from a mysterious sickness after conducting some rituals in the temple area. At this time this was still a wild forest. Out of gratitude, the king asked to build a place to worship in that area. This place was called Tamba Waras – Tamba means medicine and waras means healed.
Shiva Temple is located in a highland area, at the end of Poedjongan road. You can’t reach the location by car. But don’t worry, many locals provide gojek (an app to rent a motorbike taxi) services for visitors to reach the temple for an extra charge.
In this temple, the concept of Shiva Puja is applied. Visitors who want to pray here are encouraged to bring milk as an offering. To take a purification bath at the pool is also allowed for visitors. But do not forget to bring spare clothes. You can find rentals for Balinese clothing around the temple. Thanks to fresh air and a calm atmosphere, this place is very suitable for meditation and religious activities.
Yeh Pulu Temple
At the Bedulu Village nearby Ubud-Gianyar lies Yeh Pulu Temple. In the temple area, you find a wall that stretched along 25 meters with magnificent reliefs. The tell about the lives of ancient Balinese people. There is a deep hole in one of the side of the temple. It is believed that this was the place King Bedahulu used for meditating around 1343.
The origin of the name of this temple are the two words Yeh which means water and Pulu, which is the term for a container that was used as a warehouse for rice. For that reason, you can find a real container in the shape of a barrel at the centre area. The container is filled with sacred water.
Ulun Danu Bratan
Pura Bratan or Pura Ulun Danu Bratan is an important water temple, a major Shivaite. It is one of the most important and well-known landmarks of Bali. It is even featured on an Indonesian banknote. The temple is located on the western shore of Lake Bratan in the village Candi Kuning, in the mountain highlands near Bedugul. It was built around 1663 in order to worship Dewi Danu, the lake and river goddess. The Bedugul area is a popular weekend and holiday retreat for many locals. Due to its location in the highlands the climate is fresh. For many, this is a much-appreciated change from hotter coastal areas. Bring a jacket with you, as temperatures can be much lower than in the coastal regions. Especially during the rainy season between November and March.
You can hire a small traditional boat (jukung) and explore the lake and its coastal area, and there is a Botanic Garden nearby.
Ulun Danu Bratan was built during the Mengwi kingdom. Within the complex, there is an old megalithic sarcophagus. Scientists reckon that this site was established even before the Hindu shrines were built.
Ulun Danu Batur
Pura Ulun Danu Batur (“Pura Batur“, “Pura Ulun Danu“ or “Pura Bat”) was built in 1926. It is dedicated Dewi Danu, to the goddess of rivers and lakes. To the Balinese, Water is essential. For that reason, the goddess and the temples built to worship her are sacred to Balinese Hindus.
Ulun Danu means “head of the lake“. This reflects the location of the temple and its primary purpose. The temple consists of nine different smaller temples. You can find almost 300 shrines which are dedicated to the gods and goddesses of water, springs, crafts, art and agriculture – the foundation of Balis society and culture. Ulun Pura Batur and the Batur village are located at the foot of the very active volcano, Mount Batur. Villages and temples in that area were destroyed 1926 in an eruption of the volcano. Locals rebuilt the temple at the highest and oldest rim of the caldera.
Tirta Empul is one of the most famous temples and one of the most popular, because of its sacred water Locals use it for purification. Tirta Empul means “holy water spring“. The water of the spring is distributed to different purification pools. Balinese Hindus use them for their purification rituals.
On a hill next to the complex, there is a modern villa built for President Sukarno’s visit in the year 1954. The temple itself was built around 960 A.D. during the Warmadewa dynasty, founded by Sri Kesari Warmadewa. He is the first Balinese king who left an inscription on the Belanjong pillar.
Tirta Empul is located in the Tampak Siring region. It is just a 20km drive from Ubud. Gunung Kawi Temple is another nearby temple. Tirta Empul Temple consists of three main areas. The front, the outer and the inner courtyard. You will walk through lush gardens with statues and beautiful tropical plants, towards the entrance. Behind the temple gate, you will see the first pools. It’s a wonderful scenery.
Pura Tanah Lot
This temple is one of Bali’s directional temples. It is situated on a rock in the ocean, just offshore. Tanah Lot is very special. Pura Tanah Lot was built on the advice of an important Hindu priest in the 16th century. His name was Danghyang Nirartha, and he shaped Bali’s Hinduism and religious architecture. Tanah Lot is an essential site for pilgrimages. The temple also plays a vital role in Balinese spiritualism and mythology. Over the centuries the rock on which the temple is built on has been eroded by the ocean. It is now undergoing a process of restoration. The rock gets surrounded by the sea during high tide for that reason the best time to visit is during low tide in the afternoon or evening. By cab, it will take you about 30-40min to reach the temple from Seminyak.
Pura Luhur Uluwatu
This is an impressive cliff-top temple. Coming here feels like sitting on the throne of Bali. The atmosphere gets mystical during sunset. Uluwatu Temple (also known as Pura Luhur or as Pura Uluwatu) is one of Bali’s most famous temples. The temple was built in the 11th Century by the Javanese sage, Empu Kuturan. The name: Ulu translates to head, and Watu means rock.
The entrance of the temple is two split gates which are surrounded by a couple of Ganesha sculptures. Behind the main shrine, there is a Brahmin statue facing the Indian Ocean. The location, a cliff 70 metres above the ocean, of the temple, is truly remarkable. In the evening you can watch Balinese Dance Performances. The central courtyards are usually closed. They can only be entered during special rituals.
A large number of monkeys is living in the area of Pura Luhur Uluwatu. They are very experienced in snatching visitors’ belonging, including bags, cameras and eyeglasses – store these things in your bag if possible. Locals believe that the monkeys to guard the temple against bad influences.
Pura Luhur Lempuyang
This temple is very scenic. It is located in east Bali in the highlands of Mount Lempuyang. The temple is not very easy to reach, but one of the most sacred on the island. From the parking lot, you have to climb 1,700 steps to reach the shrines. It will take you about 1 1/2 to 2 hours to reach the top. Pura Luhur Lempuyang is never really crowded. If you are fit, you should make sure to visit this stunning temple.
In fact, this area is one of the best in Bali for hiking. An adventurous mountain trekking experience and incredible panoramic views are waiting for you. The walk up to the temple is considered as a spiritual journey by the locals, which has to be done with pride and devotion.
Pura Penataran Agung
On the foot of the mountain which you need to climb to reach Pura Luhur Lempuyang, there is another temple which is worth a visit, Pura Penataran Agung. Scenic views of Mount Agung are waiting to be captured. Don’t miss the dragon stairs, which lead to shrines.
This temple is known as the Mother Temple of Bali for more than a thousand years. It is the most important temple on the whole island. Pura Besakih is a complex of more than 80 individual temples in a large compound. It is known for is its stunning location on the southern slopes of Mount Agung.
The area around Pura Besakih was regarded a sacred since ancient times. During the 8th century, a Hindu monk had revelations and started building homes on this ground. It is said that many of followers died during the building process due to illnesses or accidents. Additional temple shrines were constructed. Besakih Temple was established as the main temple complex around 1340. Several earthquakes and volcanic eruptions hit the temple in the past. In 1963 a lava flow passed the temple sparing it out from complete destruction. Locals believe that this was a demonstration of the real power of the deities.
Many prestigious festivals take place here. The temple is open for every devotee no matter their caste groups. It is the prime spiritual centre for Balinese people. Besakih is an integral part of Balinese Hindu culture and religion. There are rituals and ceremonies almost every day. Locals come here to worship and pray to their gods. You can not only see an impressive religious site but witness authentic Balinese Hindu practices.
The Temple is located in the North West of Bali, close to Bali’s spectacular Volcano, Mount Agung. The temple is on an altitude of about 1,000 metres. Picturesque rice paddies and lush forests surround the temple. You will have to walk a bit and climb stairs to reach Pura Besakih. To hire an official guide who knows Besakih is advisable if you want to get all the knowledge of this enormous temple complex. You can find guides in front of the entrance.
The fee depends on your negotiation skills. Early mornings are the best time to visit.
Gunung Kawi Temple
This impressive temple complex from the 11th century consists of 10 rock-cut Candi (shrines). The carved shrines are 7 meters high. The monuments are dedicated to King Anak Wungsu of the Udayana dynasty and his favourite queens. The temple is located in Tampaksiring region, about 20km northeast of Ubud and only 2 km from Tirta Empul. To reach Gunung Kawi Temple, you have to climb 371 stone steps. It’s a walk of about 1 km.
It is said that this is the burial complex of King Anak Wungsu and his wives and concubines. The area is large, and you can walk around freely. Take your time and feel into this ancient place. If you are lucky, you can see a ceremony or women preparing offerings. Gunung Kawi is still used for ritual ceremonies. Gunung Kawi Temple is considered as one of Balis oldest temples. Its origins dates back to the time before the kingdom of Majapahit.
Goa Lawah / Bat Cave Temple
Goa Lawah, which is also known as bat cave, is important to the Balinese Hindu community. It is one of Bali’s most important temples. It is a guardian from dark ocean spirits. The temple was built in the 11th century.
The Bat cave is located on Bali’s south-east coast in the village Pasinggahan, next to a beautiful black sandy beach. You can see the coast of Nusa Penida at the horizon.
Nowadays, Goa Lawah is a popular stop for people heading east. Tourists and worshipping locals who are on their way to the east of the island, stop to give offerings and pray.
The temple complex was built around the entrance to a cave which is home to many bats. At the entrance, there are two large, majestic banyan trees. Some shrines in the centre are very ancient. Some of them have been established in the time the temple was built.
In the morning, you can witness many locals who come for their prayers. Goa Lawah is easily accessible that keeps the temple area quite busy. Afternoons are also a good time to visit it is not as hot anymore; visitors enjoy the shady spots underneath the trees.
Bali’s Hindus celebrate the anniversary of their temples, based on the Balinese 210 days cycle calendar (Pawukon). When you visit Bali, always check with the locals if some piodalan is happening during your visit.
Luhur Batukaru Temple
This is one of the most stunning garden temples in Bali. It is a sacred site. When you first arrive, you will be struck by the serene atmosphere. Silence, beautiful grassed courtyards and flowering shrubs are awaiting you. On the slopes of Gunung Batukaru, the mountain forests seem to wrap around the temple complex from all sides.
Locals believe that Pura Luhur Batukaru became a sacred site in the 11th century. The Rajas of Tabanan made it to their state temple. The shrines here are dedicated to their ancestral gods. In the centre, there is a tiny island shrine. Only the priests of Pura Luhur Batukaru are allowed access this area. Many moss-covered pathways are fanning out into a web deep into the forest. There you can find plenty of solitary shrines.
In the lives of the Balinese Hindus, Pura Luhur Batukaru plays an important role. Local Subak groups come here to take holy water which is used in agricultural ceremonies. Devotees flock to Pura Luhur Batukaru bring their offerings and to show their respects during the Galungan festivities.
Vihara Dharma Giri
This Buddhist temple is known for its divine huge sleeping Budha statue, located in Pupuan-Tabanan. On three different floors, the visitors can explore the vihara. On the first floor, you will find a vast courtyard. Refreshing greenery will automatically smooth the tense on your mood. On the second floor, you adore the white sleeping Buddha statue and the beautifully arranged garden in the back. In the third floor, another Buddha statue in a sitting position in a room made especially for worshippers awaits you.
This temple is also known as Pura Paluang. It is one of the most unique temples in Bali. The reason for this is a car statue perched on the pelinggih, the place to put offerings to Bali Gods and Goddesses. Some people believe that the reason why locals put several car statues inside the temple is that their ancestors asked them to build these cars. Simply unique.
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