Bali is a beautiful island that plays host to throngs of temples. The number of temples here is estimated to be more than 10,000. Temples in the Balinese culture were sacred shrines where worshippers would interact with divinity. These peaceful altars are desolate; providing the needed serenity for pilgrims and visitors. During temple anniversaries and festivals, these lonesome locations come alive with song and dance. Some shrines also host cockfights and even gambling sessions. When visiting Ubud, temple tours must be part of your checklist. With enchanting ancient architecture pointing to vast views of the sea, sun and mountains, these superb shrines are a must-see. This article looks at the top Ubud temple tours to check out.
Pura Lempuyang Temple
The Pura Lempuyang Temple is sewn neatly on the slopes of Mount Lempuyang. This ancient Hindu temple is located at the far east of the island and is around two hours from Ubud town. As one of the oldest temples in Bali, it is considered highly sacred. Sitting at 600 metres above sea level, this stunning shrine has become a popular tourist attraction. It is commonly referred to as Bali’s gateway to heaven owing the captivating views and mind blowing natural beauty. What takes you aback when you reach the temple is the realization that there are seven sanctuaries within the Pura Lempuyang vicinity. Touring all of them takes about four hours. A five minute walk will usher you to the first shrine. If you are visiting for the first time, you should know that bare shoulders are not allowed. All shoulders must be covered to pay respect to the holy temple.
For lovers, saving the PDA for later is advised; kissing or any sensual behaviour is considered disrespectful. Also, drones are not allowed. Although entering this temple is free, you can make a kind donation which the temple receives happily. If you do not have a sarong, you can rent one at the site because you must wear it. The temple is made up of two sections; which are a lower level and an upper level. For the upper level, you climb a perpetual staircase to access the topmost view. The splendid diorama at the top is worthwhile with stunning views of Mt Agung and a lush forest; locally referred to as the lungs of Bali. Over 1,500 steps have to be climbed to reach the main atop temple; this is a good workout. The cool air along the way is refreshing to say the least amid alluring surroundings.
From the threesome groves of bamboo that thrive in the temple, a priest will give holy water to the visitors. This pure water can be consumed as you join in a prayer. This holy temple is open 24 hours for worshippers. For tourists, the temple is open from 9am to 6pm. If you like to break a sweat, the 1,700 stairs will lead to the top; about 1,200m above sea level. This unique hike connects you with even greater panorama as you breathe in pure air. The best time to visit this attraction is during daytime and before sunset; this provides the best views. The sculptures of Hindu deities dot the landscape with meticulous illustrations of holy stone thrones. There is so much to explore and uncover at the Pura Lempuyang Temple. For the ultimate adventure, you will not be disappointed.
Penataran Sasih Temple
Just six kilometres away from Gianyar town and approximately 20 minutes drive from Villa Amrita is the wonderous Penataran Sasih Temple. This Hindu shrine is actually located in Pejeng village on the main road to the north. The temple name Sasih means ‘moon’ and in this shrine, an ancient relic locally known as the ‘moon of Pejeng’ is stored. It is a bronze kettledrum called nekara that survived from the bronze age. This interesting temple has many other attractions including ancient statues and a signature split gate. There is great folklore and history in this temple. The temple was founded in 1266 AD with intricate architecture. This was the state shrine for the Pejeng Kingdom that lasted until 1343 AD. Today, you will find a modern chronogram at the mouth of the temple.
At the shrine, you can expect an array of hindu sculptures. This is a collection spanning the 10th to 12th century. Many of the pieces were brought from different parts of the island. The main courtyard attraction is a signature central piece featuring a stone carving Seat of Ganesh. Many temples often have the seat for Ganesh or any other deity. This atop seat can be empty or with an image of the god. Then, the celebrated relic which is a bronze drum called the Moon of Pejeng as mentioned above is well displayed. Visiting this temple will give you unique insight on the rich Balinese culture and the pre hindu influences in the region.
Tirta Empul Temple
Located at the heart of Bali, Tirta Empul Temple is found in the village of Manukaya in Tampaksiring. This national cultural heritage site is rich in antiquity and is a primary temple complex where worshippers go to be purified. The shrine gives a peek into the old Balinese kingdom at the time of the Warmadewa Dynasty. This temple is said to have been built in 960 AD. Nearby, there is an eye-catching palace called Istana Tampaksiring. This royal residence was built during the reign of the country’s first president. The words Tirta Empul actually mean ‘holy water spring’. Within the temple, there is a holy water source that feeds a number of atonement pools, baths and fish ponds. This elaborate hallowed temple is divided into three main sections. These divisions include the front, secondary and inner courtyards.
The entrance is decorated with rustic statues, neat pathways and ornate gardens. Then, the ample courtyard hosts bathing pools where visitors can take a purifying bath. The temple and its holy waters hold mythical relevance that is celebrated by Balinese Hindus even today. When visiting this temple, it is important to be respectful and adorning a sarong or a kamen wrap is ideal. A waist sash is important to show respect as well. For women who are on their period, access to any temple or sacred site is restricted. However, a view from the outer walls is allowed. At the front of the temple, there is a large parking for visitors. Traders selling souvenirs, food and snacks also dot the area.
If you want to take part in the bathing rituals, you must be a devotee or a pilgrim. There are formalities involved when you want to participate and adhering to any set out regulations is key. The temple is open daily from 9am to 5pm and if you are looking to explore deep culture, this is the temple tour for you.
This is an 8th-century temple found at the westside of Jalan Raya, overlooking Campuhan valley in Ubud. It is a central landmark shrine whose name means ‘mountain valley temple’ in the old Balinese dialect. This is one of the many temples that were built by the dutiful Hindu priest Rsi Markandeya. Visiting the temple is free and the best time to visit is during its anniversary. It is a colorful event that brings together devotees and pilgrims together in festivity. The temple setting is picturesque with the calming Campuhan River flowing right below. The natural elements are luxuriant with circling bamboo forests. This tantalizing temple complex has three courtyards. The two inner courtyards are mainly open during ceremonies. The first courtyard reveals excellent Balinese architecture with wonderful towering shrines. On the eastern side of the temple, you will find Campuhan bridge which is a landmark. Just a walking distance, enjoy the captivating Campuhan Ridge Walk for scenic plush views.