Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Gunung Kawi: Bali’s Rock Cut Temple

Bali is a land of wonders. It’s pristine beaches, its world famous surf, its rich underwater marine life and its amazing Hindu temples are what makes Bali so special. It’s Hindu temples, especially cast such a rich cultural look to this famous tropical beach getaway.

Rock cut temples in Gunung Kawi, Ubud, Indonesia
And these Balinese Hindu temples are so different from the Hindu temples of India, even though they originated from Indian Hinduism. One such interesting temple is Gunung Kawi, which has been cut on cliff rocks next to a river and a paddy field. This is a 11th century temple that is located about 40 minutes north east of Ubud in Central Bali.

Balinese kids praying at Gunung Kawi Temple
If I remember right, it costs about 15,000 rupiah for a foreign tourist to enter the temple. If you are not dressed appropriately, the temple association lends you a sarong to tie around your waist. The rest of the down hill passes through beautiful paddy fields and a small mountain river. The temple complex is built on each side of this river.

Paddy fields next to Gunung Kawi, Ubud, Bali, Indonesia
Unlike the rest of the temples in Bali, this temple does not feature a tiered umbrella design, but a single umbrella design and has intricate carvings of gods on the cliff that overlooks this temple. It has barongs similar to the rest of Balinese temples at the entrance of the main sanctum.

Rice Harvesting near Gunung Kawi, Bali, Indonesia
The best way to visit this temple would be by hiring a motorbike or a car and visit this temple along with others such as the Pura Tirtha Empul, Kintamani crater, Pura Ulan Batur at Kintamani and Goa Gajah near Ubud to name a few. The scenic drive to reach this temple also allows you to experience Bali’s green countryside.

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