No trip to Bali would be complete without seeing one or more of its more prominent Hindu temples. There are over twenty thousand on the island but the vast majority of these are small village shrines. Nonetheless, there is a significant number of extremely impressive temples that are worth visiting. A Balinese temple is known locally as a Pura. They have a very definite style and layout that is common amongst them all. The following are some of the temples that are worth considering.
Pura Ulun Danu Beratan Temple
Pura Ulun Danu Beratan, or Pura Bratan, is a prominent Hindu water temple in north Bali. The temple complex is scenically located on the shores of Lake Bratan in the mountains near Bedoegoel.The unique setting on the lake gives the impression of the buildings floating on water.
Lempuyang Temple, Bali
The Lempuyang Temple or Pura Luhur Lempuyang Bali is a series of six complexes built on the slopes of the mountain with the same name. It is one of nine directional temples on the Island that were built to protect the island from evil spirits. Collectively, they are known as kahyangan jagaton. Be aware that the hike to the top temple is steep, takes up to two hours and is often clouded over. If you are lucky to have a clear day the views of Mount Agung and the valleys below are spectacular.
Tirta Empul Temple
The Tirta Empul or Holy Spring Water Temple is located near the town of Tampaksiring about a thirty minute drive North of Ubud. This most sacred of religious sites is dedicated to Vishnu, who is the Hindu God of water. The most recognised section of complex is the Jaba Tengah which has two purification pools. Worshippers come here to cleanse themselves by dipping their heads under the water spouts.
The Tirta Empul Holy Spring – Bali Temples
The Jaba Tengah purification pools have thirty water spouts that are fed with water from the holy spring.
Lake Batur Shrine
There are a number of temples and shrines around the volcanic lakes in the north of Bali. The more prominent of these can be very congested, especially at weekends. For those wanting to get away from the crowds, it is worth hiring a guide for the day to take you to lesser know sites.
Entrance Gate Pintu Bintar – Lempuyang Temple
On a clear day, the views from the Pintu Bintar entrance gate to Mount Agung are spectacular. On the day I visited, the clouds had rolled in and hidden the peak. Instead, I was graced with the beauty of an eagle riding the thermals.
Pura Ulun Danu Tamblingan Temple
The Pura Ulun Danu Tamblingan is not as famous as the prominent temples on lake Bratan and Batur but, for me, it is a far more enjoyable place to visit. The reasons for this are that it is less crowded, is superbly located and is frequented by the most interesting local people.
Goa Lawah Temple, Candidasa
The Goa Lawah Temple is an impressive Hindu religious site close to Candidasa in east Bali. Drawcards include architecture that is very traditional and buildings that are built around a cave inhabited by thousands of bats.