PURA ULUWATU (ULUWATU TEMPLE)
This cliff-top temple is indeed impressive. The temple is built on the steep cliff and coming here can feel like sitting one the throne of Bali. During sunset hours the atmosphere gets really mystical.
Uluwatu Temple (Pura Uluwatu or also known as Pura Luhur) is one of Bali’s nine key directional temples (Pura Kayangan Jagat). Though a small temple was claimed to have existed beforehand, based on inscriptions the structure was either instigated or significantly expanded by a Javanese sage, Empu Kuturan in the 11th Century. He was a Majapahit monk, who took also part in establishing several other temples on Bali.
Another sage from East Java, Danghyang Nirartha (Dwijendra) is credited for constructing the padmasana shrines and is claimed to have attained Moksha at Uluwatu. Legends suggest that he reached the highest spiritual point of oneness with the gods by a strike of lightning and completely disappeared.
You can enter the temple area through two entrances that are split gates. They are surrounded by a couple of Ganesha sculptures (shaped like a human body with an elephant head). Behind the main shrine lies a Brahmin statue facing the Indian Ocean. Until the early 80ies it was rather difficult to get here.
Location and Setting
Even more remarkable than the temple itself, which might not be as impressive as some other major temple sites on Bali, is its location: Perched on a steep cliff 70 metres above the roaring Indian ocean waves. There are more steep headlands on either side and sunsets over Uluwatu are a sight to behold. There is also a very scenic cave underneath with rock formations leading onto a beach close to the temple. This is a popular spot for surfers.
You can watch a Balinese Dance Performance in the evenings and although it can be a bit crowded at times or feel a bit touristy, it’s still a nice and special experience to come here.
It takes about an hour to get from one end to other, which not many of the visitors do actually. But it’s nice and you will be rewarded along the way with remarkable views.
Good to Know
Like in any other temple, you need to be properly dressed to enter. Sarongs and sashes are available for free at the entrance. Guides, once famously mercenary, hassle visitors less than they used to, although they will offer to “protect” you from the monkeys, for a tip of course. Note that while you are free to walk around the temple grounds, the central courtyards are usually closed and can only be entered during special rituals.
Take your time, roam around, sit down at times and enjoy the spectacular views. The name: Ulu means head and Watu means rock. Some temples like Uluwatu are also called additionally “Luhur” which means something like heavenly, original, transcendent, ancestrial.
The temple is inhabited by large number of monkeys, who are extremely adept at snatching visitors’ belonging, including bags, cameras and eyeglasses. Keep a very close grip on all your belongings and stow away your eyeglasses if at all possible. If you do have something taken, the monkeys can usually be induced to exchange it for some fruit. Needless to say, rewarding the monkeys like this only encourages them to steal more. Locals and even the temple priests will be happy to do the job for you, naturally in exchange for a tip (Rp 10,000-50,000). The monkey are believed to guard the temple from bad influences.
Sign Board at Entrance
At every major temple entrance in Bali you will find one or more signboards (also in English) that inform you about rules, entrance fees and the most important things you need to know when entering the compound. It’s always advisable to take these five minutes and read those signs, even if a helpful guide might tell you: “No Need, I can tell you everything.”
Here in Uluwatu for example (like at the Monkey Forest in Ubud) they strongly advise you to take off glasses, earrings, hats etc, because of the monkeys.
Pura Luhur Lempuyang
It’s a very scenic and very holy place to visit. Located in east Bali within the highlands of Mount Lempuyang this temple is not only one of the most difficult to get to, but also one of the most sacred on Bali. 1,700 steps cut into the mountain are between your parking lot and the shrines. This means a 1 1/2 to 2 hours of physical challenge leading you uphill through the jungle.
Location & Setting
Pura Luhur Lempuyang is like several other temples in this list one of Bali’s most important religious places. Like Besakih, Tanah Lot etc it’s also one of the island’s nine directional temples with the function to protect Bali and the Balinese from evil spirits. It is also one of the six temples that are dedicated to the supreme God, Sang Hyang Widi Wasa. The six are the temples of the world, also called sad kahyangan.
The temple is never really crowded. So if you are fit and ready for a challenge that gives you a very special reward in return, this temple should be high up on your list of things to do on Bali.
Good to know
Pura Penataran Agung
If you are not willing to take the hike up to Lempuyang temple there is another temple just at the foot of the mountain, the Pura Penataran Agung that is worth a visit.
There are very scenic views of Mount Agung waiting to be captured by photographers, and don’t miss the impressive dragon stairs that lead to shrines.
It’s a hike
The temple’s unique location and spectacular views are definitely a highlight for the fit and willing. The steep and challenging climb with more than 1700 stairs will lead you to the temple almost 1.200m above sea level. The entire area around mount Lempuyang is actually one of the best to hike and enjoy a Bali, that has nothing to do with the south.
To many, who are into hiking and trekking this visit is a fantastic blend of an adventurous mountain trekking experience, incredible panoramic views, and the visit of an ancient religious site. You will walk through lush mountain forests, pass by several other smaller temples, and will surely meet a few of the grey long-tailed macaques.
Once you are there you might notice, that Pura Lempuyang is actually smaller than the Penataran Agung. But it feels different, more serene, more calm. It’s unique and one can slightly feel why Balinese were ready to put such unbelievable amount of effort into constructing this site with their bare hands.
You can shorten the time it will take you to get up there after you got off by your car and hire one of the many many motorcycle taxis that are operated by local villagers. The price is reasonable, simmply ask your driver to help you to negotiate a fair price. They will take you up the the point where the paved road ends directly at the temple Penataran Agung, for a negotiable fee.
And it can be a fun ride too. Most people stop at the first temple and tke a few pictures before they gather their strength and courage to face the 1.700 steps.
Do not complain
The locals take this walk up to the temple very seriously. With pride and dedication they take step by step. For them it’s a spiritual journey that one should not complain about. And they certainly do not appreciate hearing others to complain. After all, nobody is forced to come up here.
Soo…Dont you wanna feel those Holly Temples?? Share if You never visit these place…
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