Bali’s landscape is a beautiful one, sunny beaches, lush greenery and thousands of graceful temple spires. The Pura’s or the temples in Bali are so many that the island is often called the Land of a Thousand Puras. These landmarks of the island are a magnificent example of architecture and beauty.
Take a virtual tour of Bali’s most famous temples with us. And for the real one, do chat with us or try out our very own travel planner for a quick 5-minute vacation plan!
1.Pura Tanah Lot
This is the most popular of all of Bali temples among locals and most visited among visitors. Pura Tanah Lot means ‘Land in the Sea’ and is probably the most photographed in the whole of the island. This Bali temple sits atop the rock and is poised artistically with the ocean for a magnificent backdrop. Interestingly, much of this rock has been eaten up by the ocean and a big part of it is artificial! Tanah Lot is an essential part of Balinese culture and heritage, it is one of the seven sea temples around the coast of Bali. It is said that these temples are built to form of a chain of protection around the island.
Good to know: As is with the other temples in Bali, non-Balinese are not allowed to enter them. But don’t be disappointed, you can walk over to the temple during low tide. Do have a look at the Balinese cultural shows that are put up every evening.
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2. Goa Lawah
The Bat Cave temple or Goa Lawah, located in South-east Bali, is much respected among the temples in Bali . The large temple is set next to a beautiful black sand beach and is one of the nine sacred temples of Bali. The name Goa Lawah translates to ‘Bat Cave’ and is said to have been built in the year 1007. The cave temple is home to thousands of bats, but legend also goes that the cave hides a river of healing waters. Yet another local belief goes that the cave is home to a legendary snake king who feeds on the bats.
Good to know: The cave temple is located close to Candidasa, so make your plans accordingly. Look out for the dragon motifs around the temple, they are the keepers of the universe according to Balinese mythology.
3. Pura Luhur Uluwatu
Want to establish oneness with the Gods and wondering which of the Bali temples to head to? Located atop a steep cliff, Pura Luhur Uluwatu is a sight to behold. The 70m high cliff and the temple spires are a picturesque image visible from afar. Sunsets from atop this cliff are heavenly indeed. The temple is reached from two entrances that are guarded by Ganesha sculptures protecting Luhur Uluwatu from the waves of the Indian Ocean.
Good to know: This temple too is out of bounds for non-Balinese, but just getting atop the cliff is enough to make up.
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4. Pura Ulun Danu Batur
Ulun Danu is a very important temple indeed, the second most important in Bali. There are nine smaller temples within the main temple compound, with 300 shrines dedicated to various Gods. Ulun Danu translated to ‘Head of the Lake’, and is located at the highest caldera of Mount Batur. The temple is dedicated to Dewi Batari Ulun Danu, the Goddess of lakes and rivers. Bali being an agricultural society, irrigation and water bodies play a major role. Ulun Danu located atop the volcano controls the flow of the water from springs and water bodies, making it an important temple.
Good to know: Ulun Danu is situated in the Kintamani region and is on the way from the famed Balinese Coffee estates. Savour your cup of world famous Luwak coffee before you head to Mount Batur and Ulun Danu.
5. Pura Luhur Lempuyang
One of the most scenic but also most difficult to get to temple in Bali is Luhur Lempuyang. The temple is dedicated to the Balinese supreme God, Sang Hyang Widi Wasa, and is believed to protect Bali from evil spirits. On the climb up, notice the ornate dragon steps that lead to the temple. Before you climb up to the temple, try to visit the smaller one at the base called Pura Penataran Agung. From this temple, you can catch the best views of Mount Agung.
Good to know: The visit to Luhur Lempuyang may not be everyone’s cup of tea. The 1700 steps up the mountain are a steep climb and not an easy one. You may sweat a bit, but think before you complain, locals regard this temple in Bali as a sacred walk. The peace at the top is something else.
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6. Pura Gunung Kawi
One of the most ancient and sacred among the temples in Bali is Gunung Kawi. The Balinese believe that a 11th century royal family, King Anak Wungsu and his wives and concubines are buried in Gunung Kawi. There are 10 shrines that have been cut of the rock face, almost like statues, each belonging to one member of the family. The walk to this monument will take you through Bali’s terraced rice fields and you will also see the Pakerisan river.
Good to know: Gunung Kawi is located around 20km from Ubud. Enjoy the lush landscapes, but also be prepared for the long climb of 270 steps to the shrine.
7. Tirta Empul
Tirta Empul is located in central Bali and is a national cultural heritage site. The name Tirta Empul translates to ‘Holy water spring’, as the temple is celebrated for the source of holy water inside. The spring is the feeder for the pools and water bodies outside the temple, all of which eventually flows down to the Pakerisan river. Visitors first enter the gardens of the temple, after which they go to the purificatory spring. Pilgrims bathe under each of the 13 sprouts with the belief that this would wash away sins. This is one of the most important among temples in Bali.
Good to know: While you may enter the temple, only Balinese Hindus are allowed to bathe in the holy spring. If you are entering the temple, ensure you are dressed appropriately.