Sabtu, 07 Maret 2009

Bali Temples

Bali is also known as "the island of the thousand temples". This is an understatement. There are probably over a million temples on the island. In fact, Bali has more temples than houses. Bali also has a large number of palaces of stunning beauty, a legacy of the eight ancient kingdoms that once ruled the island.

Temples - the meeting point of humans and gods.

Temples are the meeting points of humans and gods and are resting-place for the gods during their stay on the island. Temples come to life only on certain festival days or at temple anniversaries (odalan), when they are elaborately decorated to greet the gods with offerings. There are temples for almost all aspects of Balinese life. There are house temples, village temples, family temples, banjar temples, subak temples, cave temples, temples for ancestors, rice fields, and even for monkeys. For the entire island, Pura Besakih, also known as "the mother temple", is the most important of all temples.

Besakih : Location: Besakih

Pura Besakih, "the mother temple", is the greatest of all Balinese sanctuaries. The temple complex consists of 22 separate structures and is perched high on the slopes of Mount Agung. The temples were built between the 14th and 17th centuries, although in recent years new structures have been added. Prominently featured are the three seats in the lotus throne, in which shrines are dedicated to Brahma, Siwa and Wisnu.

Pura Luhur Batu Karu : Location: 10 km west of Bedugul

This is one of the six axial temples sacred to all Hindu Balinese and one of the most ancient sacred sites on the island. The inner courtyard is small and neat, with three merus (shrines) in honor of the deified kings of Tabanan. The lake below, to the east of the main temple, has a shrine in the center in honor of the goddess of Lake Tamblingan and the god of Mount Batu Karu.

Pura Kehen :

Pura Kehen is Bali's second largest temple. The temple has three courtyards, connected by steps, and decorated with carvings and statues. A large banyan tree shades the lowest and second courtyard.
Location: Bangli

Pura Taman Ayun :

Located in Mengwi, the temple consists of a forecourt, a central court and a spacious inner court. After a tall stone gateway, the inner court has rows of shines and carved stone pedestals. Along the basement of the pavilions are relief series an Arjuna.
Location: Mengwi

Gunungkawi :

In the center of this little town, a clearly signposted side street leads to the brink of the Pakerisan gorge at Gunung Kawi, where a daunting flight of steps leads down to the river itself. This is Bali's 'valley of the kings', fow hewn in the cliffs on both sides of the river appear massive commerorative monuments to 11th-century kings and queens. Although, strictly speaking, Gunungkawi is not a temple, it is considered a holy place. A visit to the valley is an unforgettable experience that you should not miss!
Location: Tampaksiring

Pura Ulun Danu Batur :

This is an imposing complex of nine temples, still undergoing renovation. It is dedicated to the goddess of the lake. The temple is worth visiting, if only for its beautiful surroundings.
Location: 5 km south of Kintamani

Pura Luhur Uluwatu :

The Pura Luru Uluwatu is located on the tip of the Badung peninsula, with a breathtaking view of the sea. The carvings which decorated the temple are very well preserved. It was built in the 11th century.
Location: Uluwatu

Pura Pakendungan

Sunset is the best time to visit this isolated temple on the west coast. Its distinctive silhouette is a photographer's dream and nightly they crowd the coastline awaiting the spectacle. Perhaps the answer is to arrive in the daytime to see the temple avoiding the crowds and to leave long after sunset. As in Besakih, and in Goa Lawah, commerce has spoilt much of this otherwise beautiful spot.
Location: Tanah Lot

Pura Tirta Empul :

This temple is a major pilgrimage point. The most striking feature of Tirta Empul is the bathing pools, which are considered sacred. According to legend, the army of the god Indra was revived here before defeating the evil king Maya Danawa.
Location: Tampaksiring

Pura Ulun Danu Bratan :

This highland destination is located just outside the small town of Bedugul. A beautiful temple is sited on the shores of Lake Bedugul and casts a neat reflection is its still waters. The temple takes on an ephemeral quality at dawn.
Location: Bedugul

Sangeh Monkey Sanctuary :

Said to have been built in the 17th century, there is a statue here of Garuda. The temple is surrounded by tall nutmeg trees. Many monkeys roam the surrounding forest (watch you purse and eyeglasses !).
Location: Sangeh

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