Seven Bali Holidays
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Gunung Kawi

Wall temple’s Masterpiece gift

One of Bali's most remarkable archaeological sites is the Gunung Kawi Temple complex. A cluster of old shrine reliefs carved onto the face of a rock cliff make up the temple. The main location looks out over the Pakerisan River, which is considered sacred. The river that flows beside the Tirta Empul Temple, a kilometer north, is the same one.

Across the river from the ancient reliefs is a temple courtyard with old Hindu shrines. You may stroll to the temple along a paved walkway that passes art galleries and small local warung food stalls. You'll be greeted with lush paddy terraces and a beautiful green valley as you down the 300 steps to the river. The entire scene sweeps you away from modernity and back in time.

The Gunung Kawi Temple complex in central Bali is made up of a cluster of ancient temples carved into the face of a rock cliff. The main location looks out over the sacred Pakerisan River, which runs through the Tirta Empul Temple a kilometer to the north. A temple courtyard across the river from the antique reliefs features historic Hindu temples in a more contemporary architectural style.

The Pejeng region of Bali is known for its archaeological sites, and Gunung Kawi Temple is a popular stopover on itineraries through the Gianyar regency's central uplands. The 300 steps down to the river, which run beside verdant paddy terraces and a lushly green valley, transport you back in time and away from modernity.

How to Get Gunung Kawi Temple
Only a few hundred meters east of the Jalan Raya Tampaksiring main route is the Gunung Kawi Temple (Pura Gunung Kawi in the local dialect). Continue walking down the paved promenade, which is lined with art shops and small local warungs. You can continue via a stone archway with little pillars each carrying an earthen vase filled with holy water at the bottom of the stairs. As a sign of purity, you sprinkle this water on oneself before proceeding. The main site, with ten 7-meter-high shrines cut onto the rocky slope, is visible from inside. There are four on the west bank and five on the east bank of the river, with another across the valley to the south. According to mythology, these are the memorials of the deified Balinese King Udayana, his concubines, and family, resulting in Gunung Kawi temple being popularly regarded as the Warmadewa Dynasty's tomb site.
Highlights and features of Gunung Kawi Temple
Buddhist monks used to sit and meditate in small stone caves that now serve as meditation places. Indeed, Balinese history shows that the two religions coexisted peacefully in the past. A functional temple courtyard, known as Pura Gunung Kawi by the locals, is located across the river from the first rock shrine complex. It's laid out inside like any other Balinese temple courtyard, with shrines encircling the temple's main great pavilion or 'bale.' It is usual to wear a sarong with a sash around the waist, and ladies should avoid visiting or entering the Gunung Kawi Temple complex during their periods. Sashes and sarongs are available for rent with the purchase of a ticket at a booth near the valley's stairwell. Every year on the Purnama Katiga, or 'third full moon' in the Balinese calendar, the temple is decked for its piodalan temple anniversary. Photographs can be taken in a more festive and exotic setting on such occasions. A temple with the same name, Gunung Kawi Sebatu, is located around 4.5 km north-west.

Open : Daily, 08.00 am to 05.00 pm

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