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Spiritual Journey: Explore Bali Temples and Sacred Sites

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The mystical land of Bali is known for its natural beauty and mythological stories, which creates a wonderful tapestry for awe-inspiring temples and sacred sites.

Temples, or “Pura” as they are called in the local tongue, hold a sacred place in Balinese culture. These architectural marvels are not just places of worship, but also repositories of history, art, and tradition.

From the iconic sea-facing Tanah Lot Temple located atop towering cliffs to the serene tranquillity of the Ulun Danu Beratan Temple amidst misty lakeshores, Bali offers travellers a perfect encounter with cultural heritage and divine devotion.

So, come and unveil the sacredness of these famous Bali temples with Thomas Cook Bali tour packages and immerse in the spiritual grandeur that this mesmerizing island has to offer.

Tanah Lot – Where the Earth Meets the Sea

Tanah Lot

One of the most iconic temples in Bali, Indonesia, Tanah Lot is built on an offshore rock, creating a heart-warming spectacle during the golden hour when the waves crash against the shore.

This 500-year-old Bali Hindu temple attracts thousands of visitors from around the globe. However, no one is allowed inside its premises but gazing at the sun while it sets for the day is a spiritual experience in itself.

It is believed to be built in the 16th century by a respected figure known as Dang Hyang Nirartha, who, after spending a night on a rock named Gili Beo, decided to build a shrine there, despite receiving resistance from the local chieftain.

He won over the leader by miraculously shifting the rock out of its original place into the sea with his own hands. The temple was built to honour the God of the Sea, Dewa Baruna.

Since then, the temple has stood on the rocky outcrop inviting visitors to immerse in its historical charm and timeless beauty.

  • Location: Jalan Raya Tanah Lot, Beraban Village, Kediri, Tabanan, Bali
  • Things to Experience: Panoramic views, sunsets, Heirloom pilgrimage parade, culture, etc. 
  • Timings: 7 AM to 7 PM
  • Entry fee: IDR 30,000 for adults and IDR 15,000 for children, IDR 60,0000 for foreign adults, and IDR 30,000 for children. 

Ulun Danu Beratan Temple – The Floating Temple

Ulun Danu Beratan Temple

Dedicated to Dewi Danu, the goddess of water, and Hindu Trinity Gods, Brahma, Vishnu, and Mahesh, the temple complex seems to float on the lake’s surface, creating a surreal ambience. With Lake Beratan and lush highlands, Ulun Danu Beratan Temple is not only a spiritual site but also a tranquil feast.

This 17th-century temple is one of the most famous temples in Bali. It has traditional architecture and is built out of four sacred buildings. The multi-tiered shrine stands on three levels, offering homage to not just Goddess Danu but also Lord Shiva, Lord Brahma, and Lord Vishnu, amongst others.

  • Location: Jl. Bedugul – Singaraja, Candikuning, Baturiti, Candikuning, Baturiti, Kabupaten Tabanan, Bali
  • Things to Experience: Panoramic views, sunsets, Piodalan or anniversary ceremony, etc. 
  • Timings: 8 AM to 6 PM
  • Entry fee: IDR 7,500 for domestic tourists, and IDR 10,000 for foreigners

Tirta Empul – Beautiful Sacred Springs

Tirta Empul

An oasis of spiritual rejuvenation, the Tirta Empul Temple is also known as the HolyWater Temple. It is another wonderful Balinese temple, believed to be created by Hindu God, Lord Indra.

Like most Bali Hindu temples, Tirta Empul is divided into three sections – outer, middle, and main. One of the highlights of this magical edifice is the main gate, locally known as Candi Bentar, graced by the statues of the Guardians of the Gate.

Once you reach the main attraction, which is The Jabah Tenga, you will get mesmerised by the beauty of three rectangular pools. These pools are filled with holy spring water that is believed to have sprung from 30 waterspouts.

You will see both the locals and tourists waiting in line to take a dip into the holy waters to complete a purification ritual known as melukat.

The main temple is dedicated to the Hindu Trinity, Lord Shiva, Lord Brahma, and Lord Vishnu, and is the most peaceful part of the edifice. The last stop of the temple is the Koi Pool in which thousands of Koi fish can be seen swimming.

You need to wear a sarong to enter the temple – you can get one on rent near the premises after paying a small amount.

  • Location: Jalan Tirta, Manukaya, Tampaksiring, Kabupaten Gianyar, Bali
  • Things to Experience: Stunning architecture, bathing ritual at holy springs
  • Timings: 9 AM to 5 PM
  • Entry fee: IDR 15,000 per person

Lempuyang Temple – The Gateway to Heaven

One of the oldest and best temples in Bali, this temple is snuggled at an elevation of 1175 m. It requires you to climb at least 1700 steps to reach the main area, that is, the stunning gateway. It is often referred to as the ‘gateway to heaven.’ You must visit this stunning Bali Hindu temple to see this magical gateway!

This beautiful sacred site is also known as ‘sad kahyangan’ translated from a Sanskrit word meaning ‘six places or pillars of Gods.’ It states that this ‘pura’ is symbolically aligned with the Balinese God – Ishwara, and responsible for maintaining the cosmic balance of Bali.

You must enter the temple fully clothed or in a sarong to respect the deities. You can get the sarong at a nominal price.

  • Location: Jl. Pura Telaga Mas Lempuyang, Tri Buana, Kec. Abang, Kabupaten Karangasem, Bali
  • Things to Experience: Piodalan Ceremony (Temple’s Anniversary), Sunrise and sunsets, serene views. 
  • Timings: 6 AM to 7 PM (Monday closed)
  • Entry fee: IDR 15,000 per person

Uluwatu Temple – The Clifftop Guardian

Uluwatu Temple

Perched atop a cliff overlooking the Indian Ocean, Uluwatu Temple not only offers breathtaking views of the sea but also hosts the renowned Kecak dance performances during sunset.

Dedicated to Lord Rudra, the temple exudes a sense of spiritual serenity amidst its rugged surroundings. It is divided into six sections known as Pura Sad Kahyangan, which are visually pleasing and thus, a feast to the eyes.

Besides, it is settled dramatically at 250 feet above the stunning Uluwatu beach. The beach is famous for water sports, especially surfing, and also gives out pretty relaxing vibes. You’d love it there!

  • Location: Pecatu, South Kuta, Badung Regency, Bali
  • Things to Experience: Uluwatu Beach, serene views of the Indian Ocean, glorious sunrise and sunsets, etc. 
  • Timings: 9 AM to 6 PM 
  • Entry fee: IDR 30,000 for adults, and IDR 20,000 for children

Pura Taman Ayun – Balinese Architectural Marvel

Pura Taman Ayun

Taman Ayun is a captivating temple in Bali, Indonesia, known for its traditional Balinese -style architecture, expansive garden with lotus-filled ponds, and surrounding moats.

The temple has a huge courtyard where you can take a stroll before you enter the small temple complex. The temple comprises different structures, including the Bale Pengubengan which tells the story of 9 Hindu Gods.

You should not miss climbing the wooden tower known as Bale Kul Kul to witness the splendorous views of the entire complex. Uttama Mandal, the most sacred complex nestled in the innermost complex, is only open during special ceremonies or festivals.

You can also visit Denpasar which is located at a distance of about 18 km and the Manusa Yadnya Museum located across the road from the temple.

  • Location: Jalan Ayodya No.10, Mengwi, Kabupaten Badung, Bali
  • Things to Experience: Balinese architecture, lush gardens, Manusa Yadnya Museum, Denpasar, etc.
  • Timings: 8 AM to 6.15 PM 
  • Entry fee: IDR 20,000 per person and IDR 10,000 for children

Besakih Temple – The Mother Temple

Besakih Temple
Nestled on the slopes of Mount Agung (Bali’s highest volcano), Besakih Temple is considered the island’s Mother Temple and the holiest of all. Not many people know that this one is also the biggest Hindu Bali temple on the island – it is believed to be at least 2000 years old!

A complex of over 20 temples, Besakih offers a glimpse into the grandeur of Balinese temple architecture and its deep-rooted connection to the cosmos. The temple’s panoramic views of the surrounding landscape are nothing short of awe-inspiring.

The main deities of the temple are Lord Shiva, Lord Brahma, and Lord Vishnu but there are at least 86 shrines dedicated to other Gods and Goddesses.

One of the most stunning Bali temples to visit, this one definitely has the old-world charm that most spiritual seekers look for during their Bali trip.

  • Location:  Desa Besakih, Rendang, Besakih, Rendang, Kabupaten Karangasem, Bali
  • Things to Experience: Visit nearby places like Pura Batu Tirtha, the Great Temple of State also known as Pura Penataran Agung, the Four Main Temples, and Setra Agung Burial Grounds. 
  • Timings: 8 AM to 5 PM 
  • Entry fee: IDR 15,000 per person

Goa Gajah – The Elephant Cave

Goa Gajah - Elephant Cave

One of the most historic sites and famous temples in Bali is Goa Gajah. It has a lot of space to explore and practice devotion. It is basically an ancient cave site with a lot of stonework and relic-filled courtyards.

The iconic Hindu Bali temple is carved into a rock face that reminds us of an elephant’s mouth, giving the site its name. It is dedicated to Hindu God, Lord Ganesha, whose face resembles an elephant.

Inside, a meditative space features a depiction of Hindu angels and a combination of Hindu and Buddhist influences, offering a glimpse into Bali’s syncretic religious traditions. You will also come across a holy spring, garden, river, and sacred pool which was excavated in 1954, and a wide-eyed demon-like structure welcoming you at the entrance.

This beautiful temple in Bali Indonesia is said to have been built in the 11th century during the Warmadewa Era. It is at a close distance from Ubud in Bedulu village offering serene views of west Bali.

  • Location: Bedulu Village, Jalan Raya Goa Gajah, Blahbatuh, Gianyar, Bali
  • Things to Experience: Relic-filled courtyard, natural beauty, panoramic views, village to explore, Ubud at close distance, etc. 
  • Timings: 8 AM to 4.30 PM 
  • Entry fee: IDR 20,000 per person

Gunung Kawi – A Rare Gem to Visit

Gunung Kawi
Even though it is one of the least visited Bali temples, Gunung Kawi has a unique charm. This wonderful water temple brims with lotus pounds amid lush green carpet and has a water garden that houses Hindu Goddess Saraswati.

This stunning temple in Bali Indonesia is still untouched by commercialisation. Hence, you can spend some peaceful time exploring its 10 shrines known as ‘candi’ which are at least 23 feet tall.

The temple is so old that it has become a hidden gem and can be reached only by climbing down the valley and passing through breathtaking rice paddy fields.

The locals believe that the temple complex is a significant and revered source of holy water for Hindu-Balinese rites and it also holds the status of a UNESCO Heritage Site.

  • Location: Tampaksiring, 20 km from Ubud, Bali
  • Things to Experience: Sacred shrines, Gunung Kawi Complex, paddy fields, panoramic views, etc. 
  • Timings: 7 AM to 5 PM 
  • Entry fee: IDR 15,000 per person

The Underwater Temple – Merging Spirituality with Aquatic Beauty

You can only visit this water temple via snorkelling or diving in the Pemuteran bio rock area. Undoubtedly, this would be one of the most serene yet adventurous experiences of your Bali trip.

Dedicated to Lord Shiva, the temple has encrusted corals, innovation, and the creation of an enchanting underwater sanctuary.

Despite being underground, this unique and sacred site makes for one of the best temples in Bali. Its sculpture not only provides for habitat life but also invites modern conservation to meet ancient traditions.

  • Location: Pemutaran Beach, Bali 
  • Things to Experience: Snorkelling, Swimming, Diving, Relaxing, etc.
  • Timings: Vary 
  • Entry fee: Vary 

The Takeaway

The most famous temples in Bali are more than just architectural wonders. They are gateways to a spiritual realm that brings out the island’s vibrant culture and history. Without any further ado get your Bali tour packages booked from Thomas Cook. A once-in-a-lifetime experience is awaiting you, where you will witness the cultural richness and feel a connection with the ancient culture.

Discover and immerse in the cultural beauty of enchanting temples and sacred sites in Bali. Plan your Bali trip today!

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