The most popular and beautiful Bali temples to visit on your trip
When we take a trip to Bali, it’s usually for the beach, surf, shopping, bars, tropical lifestyle or Bintangs. But that’s not all this tourist hot spot has to offer.
It’s a country with a culture firmly rooted in spirituality, where daily worship is a big part of local life, so there’s no shortage of stunning temples to choose from- each with its own unique history and features that make it special.
If you truly want to immerse yourself in all that is Bali, tick some of these popular temples off the list next time you go.
Also known as the ‘mother temple’, Besakih Temple is the most important and largest temple in Bali about an hour out of Ubud.
It’s a complex of temples located on the slopes of Mount Agung dedicated to the Hindu trinity of Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva and is home to over 20,000 shrines, although not every temple is open to the public. The most popular area for visitors is the Penataran Agung temple, which is also the most significant.
Tanah Lot Temple
One of several ocean temples on the coast of Bali, Tanah Lot Temple is another popular spot in Bali and is probably one of the most famous Hindu temples among tourists.
It is located on a small island off the coast of the main island and is known for its beautiful setting, unique coastal rock formations, and sunset views. You’ll also find restaurants at the top of the mainland cliffs to stop off at after your visit.
Uluwatu Temple, known as Pura Luhur Uluwatu by the Balinese, is a Hindu temple perched on the edge of a cliff in the Bukit Peninsula.
It is one of the most popular temples in Bali and is well-known for its dramatic setting and panoramic views at about 70 metres above sea level. The temple is home to several important shrines, and a small forest surrounding where hundreds of monkeys dwell that are believed to be the temple’s loyal guardians.
Taman Ayun Temple
Pura Taman Ayun is a Royal Water Temple located in the village of Mengwi.
It is one of the most impressive temples in Bali and is undoubtedly beautiful with a moat surrounding, Chinese architectural influences and an expansive garden. The temple has long served as a main site of worship for the Mengwi people, to save them having to travel long distances to the larger temples.
At 1175 meters above sea level, Lempuyang Temple is the highest temple in Bali.
The photo opportunities here are spectacular. You’ll be greeted by the magical sight of Mount Agung on arrival and the famous Gates Of Heaven. The best way to soak it all in is a climb of over 1700 steps to the peak with playful monkeys and breathtaking scenery dotting the day.
Ulun Danu Beratan Temple
Ulun Danu Temple is a beautiful temple located on the shores of Lake Beratan.
The temple is dedicated to the goddess Dewi Danu and is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Bali. Known for its stunning architecture and peaceful setting, the main drawcard is the temple located in the middle of Lake Beratan where tourists can also partake in lake activities.
Melanting Temple is another beautiful Bali temple nestled in a jungle setting that is worth a visit.
It is located on a foothill in Pemuteran, North Bali, and is a sight to behold as you ascend the stairs to the main gate. The temple is surrounded by beautiful gardens and offers stunning views of the surrounding countryside.
Tirta Empul Temple
Tirta Empul Temple is a Balinese water temple located near the town of Tampaksiring.
The temple is known for its beautiful architecture and sacred springs that are said to have been created by The God Indra with healing properties. It is dedicated to Vishnu, the Hindu god of water, and is considered one of the holiest water sources in Bali, making it highly popular among tourists and locals alike.
The Taman Saraswati Temple is a beautiful temple located in the town of Ubud.
Commonly referred to as the Ubud Water Palace, it is dedicated to the goddess Saraswati and is known for its beautiful gardens, a blooming pink lotus pond, and tranquil setting.
Goa Gajah, commonly known as Elephant Cave, can be found just near Ubud in the village of Bedulu.
It’s one of the oldest and most historical sights in Bali, built in the 9th century and serving since as a place for meditation and prayer. You’ll find many old structures revealing Hindu influences, rock-wall carvings, a meditation cave and a relic-filled courtyard. It’s truly an experience to be had and one of the more popular temple spots for the history.
The do’s and dont’s: Bali temple etiquette
As always, it’s important to respect the locals and customs of the place you are visiting.
When visiting a temple in Bali, it is important to observe proper etiquette and respect the area of worship. Some of the most important things to remember are:
- Always dress modestly when visiting a temple and wear a sarong- so no shorts, tank tops or revealing clothing. Any time you are entering temples on your visit be sure to cover your knees and shoulders.
- Shoes should be removed before entering the temple grounds.
- Do not touch or climb the spiritual monuments or walls
- Don’t point your feet at the altar. Feet are considered unclean, so you should not point them towards the shrine or any holy objects- instead, sit cross-legged or on your heels.
- Be courteous when taking photos. Remember that this is a place of religious worship.
- If there is no entry fee for the temple, you may be expected to make a donation
- Keed the PDA to a minimum- public displays of affection are frowned upon by more conservative locals
- Don’t enter the temple if you are menstruating. This may seem bizarre and slightly confronting, but women are not permitted to enter if they are menstruating at the time of visit. It’s a custom rooted in ancient beliefs and religion.
- Women more than seven months pregnant or who have given birth within six weeks of visiting are also advised not to enter a temple
- Religious processions occur fairly regularly, so make sure you are respectful and do not interrupt.
Feature Image: @anna_skif
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