Bali is so much more than just luxurious villas, beachfront resorts and breathtaking beaches. The island has stolen the hearts and minds of travellers for decades, thanks to the warmhearted and welcoming Balinese people and their fascinating cultures and traditions.
Despite its reputation as one of the world’s best holiday destinations, the Balinese people have never strayed too far from their religious beliefs. Visitors flock to visit their temples and to witness their magical and captivating ceremonies and rituals.
The Balinese people’s unending love, loyalty and dedication to their Gods are admirable and astounding. Every single day they honour the Gods with offerings and prayers. There are thousands of shrines and temples all across the island, in all shapes and sizes dedicated for this purpose, thereby earning the island the moniker “The Island of The Gods” and “Island of a Thousand Temples”.
The holiest and most important temples in Bali would be the 6 directional temples, also known as “Sad Kayangan”. These are found in the most auspicious locations such as the sides of tall mountains or overlooking the ocean.
Let’s take a look at 3 of Bali’s most important directional temples that you should visit!
1. Besakih Mother Temple
Besakih is often referred to as the "Mother Temple" and is Bali’s holiest and most sacred site. It is located 1000 metres above sea level on the southwestern slope of Mount Agung in Karangasem, East Bali, a grand complex comprising more than 80 shrines, private clan temples, endless pathways, sunny courtyards and unending steps - each higher than the next. At the very top is Pura Gelap Besakih. Here you’ll find an imposing, almost magical-looking stone gate leading up to the temple doors. It’s fast becoming one of Bali’s most Instagrammable spots, and with amazing views too!
2. Pura Luhur Lempuyang
Another impressive must-visit temple, Pura Luhur Lempuyang is located on the slopes of Mount Lempuyang in East Bali at 1,175m above sea level. Here is where you’ll find the famous “Gates of Heaven” - a popular spot with travellers and influencers that’s been taking over social media by storm and located right next to the Dragon Steps. Those who are feeling adventurous can try to climb the 1700 steps leading up to the shrines. Otherwise, you can stay by the Gates of Heaven and the Dragon Steps to enjoy the view. On a clear day, you can even spot Mount Agung in the distance!
3. Pura Luhur Uluwatu
Perched 70 metres above sea level in Uluwatu above the pounding waves, Pura Uluwatu is a stunning site overlooking the Indian Ocean. The temple itself is located within a large garden area, and you can enjoy a leisurely walk along the edge of the cliffs on pathways that lead towards the temple. The garden is large enough that it would take you about one hour to get from one end to the other if you’re in the mood for a walk. Otherwise, you can easily pick a spot and enjoy the breathtaking views! The best time to visit Pura Uluwatu would be at sunset when the temple’s atmosphere feels almost magical. You can also opt to watch the Kecak Dance performance that takes place at this time. It’s a one-of-a-kind experience that you won’t want to miss!
Other famous major temples that you could visit while you’re in Bali would be Pura Tanah Lot near Canggu, Pura Ulun Danu Batur in Kintamani and Pura Goa Lawah that you will pass by if you’re on the way to Candidasa.
We hope that this post has been helpful! We’ll be sharing more on Bali and the Balinese culture in our upcoming posts.