Aside from being popularly known for its luxury Bali villas, the island paradise of Bali is also known as the “Island of a Thousand Temples”.
In fact, its countless Hindu Bali temples are Bali’s best-known attractions.
Found in each village as required by adat ? the Balinese customary law ? Bali’s thousand temples boast of Balinese temple design that showcases an involved subject, which has baffled many visitors.
Fundamentally effecting on design is Bali’s local geography where there are rarely no two temples that are the same.
Everything one see in the temple, be it decorative or structural, showcases a specific, well-considered function, boasting of may be of an earthly or spiritual nature.
The vast majority of temples showcase a general common element which is always split into 3 courtyards: jaba (outer courtyard), jaba tengah (middle courtyard) and jeroan (inner courtyard) ? where each of which contains various structures and/or shrines of differing levels of importance.
Here are some of the most beautiful temples on Bali:
For the Balinese, Pura Besakih, known as the Mother Temple of Bali, is the most important temple for the whole of the island and sits above the nine directional temples (kayangan jagat).
Located on the southern slopes of Mount Agung, the highest active volcano on the island, Pura Besakih is actually a complex of temples, consisting of at least 22 separate temples and numerous other shrines that ascend along a single axis connected with stepped terraces and stairs.
Each temple has a specific purpose which could be for worship of a particular god, for the use of the people of a particular region of Bali, or for the use of a particular caste.
The largest Hindu Dharma temple on the island, Pura Besakih is considered by the Balinese as the most important and the holiest ? the mother of all the other temples scattered on various part of the island.
Considered as the most important and most impressive temple in the complex is Pura Penetaran Agung that is built on six different stepped levels, sitting at the highest end of the axis.
Pura Tanah Lot
One of the important nine directional temples, Pura Tanah Lot stands magnificently on top of a rock formation just offshore.
Providing the most beautiful view during sunset and sunrise, Pura Tanah Lot is believed to be the work of revered 15th century Hindu priest Nirartha during his cross island journey.
Forming an important element of Balinese spiritualism and mythology, Pura Tanah Lot was said to be built to worship the god of sea.
Pura Luhur Uluwatu
Another one of the nine key directional temples, Pura Luhur Uluwatu or Uluwatu Temple is breathtakingly perched on a steep cliff 70 meters above the roaring Indian Ocean waves at the southern tip of Bali, which is easily accessed and hence very popular.
Uluwatu Temple boasts of a large number of monkey inhabitants as well as sunset views which are a sight to behold.
Pura Taman Ayun
Founded in the 17th century by royal member of Mengwi Kingdom, one of Bali ancient kingdoms, Pura Taman Ayun was built to worship God of Wisnu.
The Temple is set amidst a beautiful landscape garden in the middle of big fish pond, making the temple to look like it is floating on the water.
Pura Taman Ayun boasts of 99 pagoda-like shrines which function as the dwelling place for gods and goddesses.
Pura Lempuyang Luhur
Pura Lempuyang is located about 10 km east of Tirtagangga on the slopes of Mount Lempuyang Bisbis, Karangasem.
One of the key nine directional temples on the island, Pura Lempuyang is considered as one of the 3 major temples which are often called Besakih, along with Ulun Danu Batur, according to the various sources of ancient papyrus or inscription.
Situated high up a mountain with a magnificent sunset views at dusk; Pura Lempuyang is believed to include the oldest temple in Bali.
In fact, a pre-Hindu-Buddhist shrine originally made of stone is believed to be built in the temple.
Pura Lempuyang is the palace or Dewa Hyang Iswara Gni Jaya.