Bali

20 Best Temples to visit in Bali

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The Island of Gods! This nickname itself tells a lot about this godly province, Bali. 

One of the leading tourist hubs in the world, Bali is the perfect package of all that is touristy. It has everything from divine temples to naughty nightlife areas. In the predominantly Muslim country of Indonesia, Bali is a tiny exception of a Hindu Island. They follow a slightly different form of Hinduism called Balinese Hinduism which is a concoction of local beliefs and Hinduism followed in the rest of the world. Balinese are very superstitious and strongly believe in the celestial presence. This has led them to build innumerable Puras (Hindu Temples) all over their province. There is even a rule that commands all the regions of Bali to maintain a minimum of 3 temples each. 

Like this, there are innumerable temples built in Bali and each of them is more beautiful than the other. The exceptional craftsmanship of the Balinese people can be seen in every temple, and each and every corner of its premises. Even the temple’s location, direction, sculpture, and architecture are based on pre-ordained rules. 

Below mentioned are a few of the hundreds of temples in Bali. Visiting Bali temples should definitely be on every tourist itinerary, whether it is a honeymoon trip, or a trip with their family or friends, or maybe even a solo trip, one should definitely visit these sanctums to experience its virtue and beauty firsthand. 

Below are some of the most iconic Bali temples which you should not miss on your trip to Bali. We have categorized them based on the popularity and the region they belong to.

1.  Besakih Temple – The Mother of all Balinese Temples!

The spiritual journey in Bali cannot start with any other temple than The Besakih Temple. This temple has been given the highest status among all the temples in Bali. Dating back 2000 years ago, this temple has about 23 independent complexes. 

Besakih Temple is situated at the height of 1000 meters above sea level, on the slopes of the main volcanic mountain The Agung. This spiritual place has three separate shrines for the Trinity of the Hindu Religion.

  • Pura Penataran Agung: Situated in the center of the Besakih Temple, having white banners is the shrine dedicated to the destroyer – Lord Shiva
  • Pura Kiduling Kreteg: Next to it, on the right side with red banners is the sanctum of Lord Brahma, the creator, and lastly
  • Pura Batu Madeg: The temple of the protector – Lord Vishnu having a black banner

As many as 70 festivals are celebrated in this temple. And every shrine has its own annual day celebration. The main shire of the temple is the Pura Penataran Agung. The epicenter of the main sanctuary is a Lotus Throne (The Padmasana) making it the religious focal point of this famous temple in Bali.

Location: Besakih, Rendang, Karangasem

Entry Fee: approx INR 320 for adults and INR 160 for children

Timings: 8 am to 5 pm 

2.  Pura Luhur Uluwatu:

Bali’s postcard temple! 

Perched 70 meters above the crashing waves, at the tip of the rock on the southernmost tip of Bali this panoramic temple is the abode of Lord Shiva. People visit this temple in thousands not only for its religious importance but also for the stunning scenic beauty. 

Though there is a slight difference in who built this temple, scriptures say that this temple was built in the 9th century. The name of the temple literally means its location – “on the edge of a rock or cliff”. This Bali Hindu temple is part of both the Sad Kahyangan and the Kahyangan Jagat. This temple is considered to be a direct gateway to heaven.

Another major attraction of this temple is the Traditional Dance Drama performance which happens during sunset time. The Kecak Performance is a beautiful depiction of Ramayan performed by a group of 50 male dancers chanting hymns. 

Last but not the least, beware of the monkeys. Some even believe that these monkeys are the incarnations of the guardians of the Uluwatu temple which in turn guards from the Southwest. 

Location: Pecatu, South Kuta, Badung Regency

Entry Fee: approx INR 150 for adults, INR INR 75 for kids, and INR 500 for Kecak

Timings: 7 am to 7 pm (Kecak Performance at 6 pm)

3.  Pura Luhur Andakasa:

Guarding against the south is Pura Andakasa which is said to be built in the 11th century. The origin of the name has a very interesting history and interpretation. The word is supposed to be derived from the term”andadhuwana” which translates to “Egg of the Universe”.  This has been the earliest documentation of the discovery of the shape of our planet being Round in shape. 

This is a temple where Lord Brahma is worshipped. However, it is a less trodden path for the temple visitors. But, this plays a very vital role in Balinese people’s lives. This is the holy place where the priests and the guardians of other Bali temples come to seek blessings from God.

Location: Antiga, Manggis, Pikat, Karangasem, Kabupaten Klungkung

Entry Fee: approx INR 100

Timings: approx 8 am to 6 pm

4.  Pura Ulun Danu Bratan:

One among the holy water temples(Pura Tirta) of Bali, this temple is located in Lake Bratan among the mountains of Bedugul. The Shivite shrine is dedicated to offering obeisances to goddess Dewi Batari Ulun Danu, the presiding deity of the lakes and rivers of Bali. 

The water temples of Bali have another important responsibility to fulfill. They are the ones who are in charge of the irrigation system for the whole of rice fields in the villages surrounding that particular temple. Hence, this Bali Hindu temple is one of the foremost worshiped shrines by the farmers. And because of this fact, the Bratan lake is known as the Lake of the Holy Mountain as well. 

The temple’s 11 storied Meru is a sight to behold amidst the foggy lake and green mountain. When the water level tends to rise this temple seems to be afloat on the surface of the lake which is a magical experience indeed.

 Location: Danau Beratan, Candikuning, Baturiti, Tabanan Regency

Entry Fee: approx INR 300 for adults and INR 150 for children

Timings: 7 am to 7 pm

5.  Pura Ulun Danu Batur:

Guarding against the North is this Bali temple which is dedicated to the goddess of rivers – Dewi Danu. Balinese have a really good system of naming their temples wherein the names itself give away the significance of the shrines. Likewise, the Pura Ulun Danu Batur literally translates to “The Temple of the Source of Lake”. 

This temple is considered to have miraculous powers. Initially, the temple was present at the foothills of the volcanic Batur Mountains. When the volcano erupted in 1917. It destroyed almost the entire Batur village. However, the molten lava stopped right before reaching the temple. And hence, taking this as a sign from God, the people settled around the temple itself. 

However, after a decade when the volcano erupted again in 1926, it led to a catastrophic effect as it killed thousands of people and almost destroyed the whole time as well, except the main shrine with the 11 story Meru. This led to the relocation of the temple and the surrounding village to its current location.

This famous temple of Bali consists of 9 main temples with hundreds of smaller shrines, each dedicated to a major aspect of the life source. 

Location: Jl. Raya Kintamani, Batur Sel, Kec. Kintamani, Kabupaten Bangli

Entry Fee: approx INR 280 per person

Timings: 7 am to 5 pm

6.  Pura Pasar Agung:

One of the most visited Hindu pilgrim temples is situated along the slopes of Mount Agung at the height of 1,500 meters above sea level. This is a temple where prayers are offered to Lord Shiva, who is known by the name Sambhu. One among the 9 auspicious directional temples this Bali Hindu temple guards the northeastern region.

Being one of the starting points of the trek along with Mount Agung, this temple is always swamped with hiking enthusiasts. But, during the time of festivals and auspicious days such as the temple’s anniversary, etc, this temple is totally reserved only for pilgrims. 

There are two temple complexes on its premises. Pura Pasar Agung and Pura Melanting. One should always visit Melanting first and then proceed to Pasar Agung.

Location: Selat, Sebudi, Selat, Kabupaten Karangasem

Entry Fee: approx INR 300

Timings: approx 7 am to 7 pm

7.  Pura Lempuyang Luhur:

A highly revered group of temples along the path of the hiking trail of Mount Lempuyang. Residing over the peak of the mountain overlooking Mount Agung is the pack’s highest and the main temple Pura Lempuyang Luhur. It is the protector of the East. This is also a part of the Sad Kahyangan group of significant temples. 

Some of the temples along the trail are;

  • Pura Pasar Agung 
  • Pura Puncak Bisbis 
  •  Pura Telaga Sawangan
  • Pura Telaga Mas
  • Pura Penataran Lempuyang
  • Pura Lempuyang Luhur 
  • Pura Lempuyang Madya etc.

Dedicated to Lord Shiva who is worshipped in the form of Ida Betara Hyang Iswara this is one among the most visited temples in Bali, only next to The Besakih temple. A climb of 2 hours is really a worthwhile effort that pays off when you are amidst the most mesmerizing sceneries you have ever been in. This is a heaven for the photographers and there is usually a long line to get a picture clicked in the middle of the Gates of Heaven atop the summit. 

Location: Desa Lempuyang, Seraya Bar., Kec. Karangasem, Kabupaten Karangasem

Entry Fee: Free (only donations accepted)

Timings: 7 am to 10 pm

8.  Goa Lawah:

Another significant Bali Hindu temple which is one of the Sad Kahyangan is this mysterious cave temple called the Goa Lawah. The very location of this temple is extremely unusual and has a nickname for it which is – The Bat Cave. And this is because the cave is inhabited by colonies of bats. 

This 11th-century temple is where people offer prayers to their ancestor’s wellbeing and perform rituals for the purification post them passing away. Situated on the shores of Goa Lawah beach this temple is divided into three sections as the outer, middle, and inner sanctum. The inner sanctum is the sanctum sanctorum where their prayers are offered to Lord Shiva. There are many smaller shrines on the premises that are adorned with the small sculptures of Naga Basuki, the mythical dragon believed to keep the balance of the cosmos.

This Bali temple is also associated with a belief which states that there is an underground tunnel that connects this temple straight to The Mother of Temples, temple Besaikah. Apart from this, there are other mythical stories associated with this cave temple relating to the Naga Basuki and other beliefs. And this temple guards the Southeastern side. 

Location: Jalan Raya Goa Lawah, Pesinggahan Village, Dawan Subistrict, Klungkung

Entry Fee: approx INR 200

Timings: approx 7 am to 6 pm

9.  Pura Pucak Mangu:

A temple situated on the mountain by the same name, Pura Pucak Mangu is an age-old temple which is said to be existing since the megalithic age. Mount Mangu can be called by different names – Beratan Peak or Pengalengan Peak or Tinggian Peak depending on which village you are addressing it. 

Though being one of the sacred 9 directional temples (Kahyangan Jagat), this temple is seldom visited by the people. Hence peace prevails and the atmosphere is best suited for meditation. Even kings have said to have meditated in this abode.

Dedicated to Lord Shankara which they worship in the form of a lingam, this temple is built in a remote location inside the thick forests of Mount Mangu. The temple complex has two shrines in it, one on each side of Mount Mangu. This Bali Hindu temple can be reached only by trekking for a distance of about 6 to 7km. But trust us, all the toil is worth your effort. Because, when you reach this temple you will see for yourself how mesmerizing the temple is. And not only that the spectacular surroundings with Mount Batur and Mount Abang to the east and mountains of West Bali make your time worthwhile. This temple protects the Northwestern direction. 

Location: Br. Tinggan Pelaga Petang, Pelaga, Petang, Kabupaten Badung

Entry Fee: approx INR 60

Timings: approx 7 am to 6 pm

10.  Pura Luhur Batukaru:

Another one of the divine Mahadev’s temples securing the Western direction is the temple of Luhur Batukaru. Situated on the slopes of the second highest volcano in Bali this Bali Hindu temple is one of the most prominent pilgrim places in the whole of Indonesia. This holy place is the first stop for all the adventure enthusiasts who go on to hike the volcano. 

Originally built in the 11th century this temple was dedicated to the philosophical nature of motion in oneself. But the temple got destroyed due to natural calamities and then was rebuilt in 1959. The main shrine of the temple has a Meru with 7 tiers and the Lord of Mount Batukaru is worshipped here.

This temple is the most crowded during its anniversary celebrations which are observed on every Thursday after the Galungan celebrations according to the Balinese Hindu calendar.

Location: Jl. Penatahan – Wongaya Gede, Penebel, Kabupaten Tabanan

Entry Fee: approx INR 60

Timings: 24 hours

11.  Goa Gajah:

The name of the temple clearly states what this temple is going to be like. A temple of Lord Ganesh, the elephant-headed one is one of the most famous temples in Bali. This temple is the best example where you can see how Balinese Hinduism has been influenced by more than just one religion. From the very entrance of this cave temple which in itself is a mammoth structure that shows the impressive craftsmanship of the people, we can see the signs of Buddhist and Hindu influence as well.

As the name might suggest elephants, you will not find any animals in the temple. As mentioned earlier and like the name implies you will find an idol of Lord Ganesh but the worship area is mainly for Lord Shiva. 

It is really magical once you enter this cave temple as you will\find fountains and a vast bathing pool area which was discovered only during the later part of the 20th century. You will also find about 7 lady sculptures holding pots near the bathing area. Studies suggest that this might symbolize the 7 holy rivers of India. And the southern part of this cave opens into lush green rice fields and small streams.

Location: Ubud, Bedulu, Kec. Blahbatuh, Kabupaten Gianyar

Entry Fee: approx INR 80

Timings: 8 am to 5 pm

12.  Pura Taman Saraswati:

A temple at the heart of the city of Ubud, right next to the Ubud royal palace is one of the most beautiful temples. Dedicated to goddess Saraswathi, this temple is the embodiment of grace with its foray that consists of a pond filled with pink lotuses and lined with trees. 

The epitome of Balinese architecture, this famous Ubud Temple is a sure shot on any tourist’s itinerary, especially they love getting photographed. People who come to the temple often indulge in a photoshoot session. Make sure you visit this temple around 7 pm as this is when there will be a spectacular cultural show of Balinese Dance performed every day.

Due to the lotus filled pond, people have nicknamed it the Ubud water palace as well. The main sanctum of this temple consists of three empty thrones that symbolize the Holy Trinity of Hinduism – Lord Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. You will also find an idol of Saraswathi.

Location: Jl. Kajeng, Kecamatan Ubud, Kabupaten Gianyar

Entry Fee: Free

Timings: 7 am to 6 pm

13. Gunung Kawi Sebatu:

A serene and tranquil sanctum, just 20minutes away from Ubud amidst green hills is this Vishnu temple. This Bali temple is built on a natural spring that also happens to feed a few ponds and streams nearby.

The complex has many smaller temples, two bathing pools, and a fountain as well. People looking for peace come here as the very environment surrounded by mountains and water bodies imbibes a sense of harmony in us. 

Towards the Northern part of the complex, you will see the gateway to the main shrines. 

This Ubud Temple celebrates its temple anniversary during every first full moon of the Balinese calendar, which is also called the Purnama Sasih Kasa.

Location: Sebatu, Tegallalang, Gianyar

Entry Fee: approx INR 200 for adults and INR 100 for kids

Timings: 8 am to 4 pm

14.  Pura Gunung Lebah:

An 8th-century temple, the key to the origin of one of Bali’s most important cities – Ubud. 

Cozily perched on a hill in the Campuhan valley at the confluence of the tributaries of Sungai Cerik river, Gunung Lebah simply translates into – the valley temple. 

The gurgling water, lush greenery, and an age-old temple with beautiful carvings are a sight to behold. Scriptures say that this temple was commissioned by the historic Hindu priest Rsi Markandeya. 

This temple is at its festive best during its anniversary celebrations – The Piodalan.

The temple has 3 courtyards. You can freely visit the first one but the other two are opened only during festivals. From the first courtyard itself, you will be able to see the Padmasana, the main shrine. The complex also has a pavilion where the cultural shows are held. There is also a majestic bell tower which has the temple’s huge bell made of wood. The merus of the temples are of varying numbers. 

Location: Jl. Raya Ubud No.23, Sayan, Kecamatan Ubud, Kabupaten Gianyar

Entry Fee: approx INR 100

Timings: 24*7

15.  Jagatnatha Temple:

The biggest temple in the whole of Bali, this temple is dedicated to the Supreme –  Ida Sang Hyang Widhi Wasa – which is “The divine Oneness” in Balinese language. This temple is unique from the rest of the others. Starting from the name itself, It doesn’t follow the usual nomenclature of naming the temple after the place where it is situated. 

Another one of its uniqueness is that the temple is not managed by an appointed set of people but by regular volunteers.

The main shrine of this Bali temple is made of white coral stone. The temple is studded with mesmerizing sculptures and artifacts that it is hard not to stare at them. It also has the main padmasana and a fish pond. The festival season is when the atmosphere in here is fully charged and always has the record of the highest visitors. 

Location: Jl. Surapati, Dangin Puri, East Denpasar

Entry Fee: approx INR 250

Timings: 8 am to 5 pm

16.  Tirta Empul:

Considered to be the most sacred of the water temples of Bali. The name of the temple itself implies the meaning, ”The Holy Spring” and the water here is said to purify you. There is a reason behind all this as well. Legend has it that Lord Indra created this holy spring referred to as “The Amerta” to save his troops, as an antidote to a venomous spring which was created by the evil king Beelzebub Mayadenawa.

Though different sources give different periods of its construction, this temple was built approximately in the 930 ADs. Some people also call it the Tampaksiring temple due to its location. This temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu and is worshipped in the name of Lord Narayana. The temple is divided into three courtyards and the center yard (Jaba Tengah) is where the pools are situated. There are 2 pools and 30 showers in this yard.

One of the historical landmarks of Bali, this significant water temple also has the responsibility of overlooking the irrigation system(Subuk System) of the surrounding villages.

Location: Jl. Tampaksiring, Manukaya, Tampaksiring, Kabupaten Gianyar

Entry Fee: approx INR 300

Timings: 7 am to 5 pm

Must Read: 10 Best Waterfalls in Bali

17.  Petitenget Temple:

A landmark temple of the bustling resort city of Seminyak. This Bali Hindu temple is said to be built in the 14th century and according to the local myths has a mysterious history. 

If you break down the name of the temple, the meaning goes like this; Peti- coven, and Tenget – haunted. 

There are many stories corroborating this name. The most famous one being that of a creature named “Bhuta Ijo” who was being assigned to guard a magic box made people who came near the box falling ill. This temple was thus built in order to contain him. And to date, they say that there is a coffin buried deep in the temple with his spirits.

Compared to the other temples this Bali temple of Seminyak is smaller. People come here to offer prayers and conduct family rituals. The best time to visit this temple is during its anniversary celebration as that is when everything at this place gets very festive and colorful. The architecture of the temple is simple yet extremely beautiful. Its presence on the shore of the Petitenget beach makes this temple one of the best sunset spots of the region.

Location: Jl. Petitenget, Kerobokan Kelod, Kec. Kabupaten Badung

Entry Fee: approx INR 300

Timings: 24*7

18.  Kehen Temple:

An age-old temple of architectural marvel was established approximately in the 13th century. The word Kehen is derived from the Balinese script meaning “the flame”. In the olden days during the coronation ceremony the kings were made to take the oath in front of the God of fire – Hyang Kahen or Hyang Api. And if he was proved unfaithful he would be cursed. 

Even the trees in the premises are considered to be sacred and if even a small branch broke, legend has it that havoc will prevail. As usual, this temple is also divided into three sanctums and the inner sanctum is where the 11 tiered Meru is built along with the sacred padmasana dedicated to the Trinity of the Hindu religion. 

Many festivals are celebrated in this temple in honor of the gods and goddesses of Balinese Hinduism. And this is the time when the temple is decked up and has a harmonious environment.

Location: Jalan Sriwijaya, Cempaga village, Bangli residency,

Entry Fee: approx INR 350 for kids and INR 170 for kids

19.  Yeh Pulu:

Amidst the serene rice fields is this mesmerizing archaeological wonder which stretches for about 25 meters. Said to be carved in the 14th century, this place was only discovered during the late 20th century by the Dutch. 

The name of this place is derived from two words, Yeh – meaning water or spring and Pulu meaning container. The reason for naming this rock-cut carving Yeh Pulu is because of its surroundings, The plush rice fields, and the freshwater spring. There is even a rice barrel (Pulu) in the center of this courtyard. 

This rugged place depicts many Hindu deities including the lord with the elephant head  Lord Ganesha. Present between the rivers Petanu and Pakerisan this ancient abode is just a short travel from the infamous Goa Gajah. 

Location: Jalan Yeh Pulu Blahbatuh, Bedulu, Kec. Gianyar, Kabupaten Gianyar

Entry Fee: approx INR 300 for adults and INR 150 for kids

Timings: 7 am to 6 pm

20.  Tanah Lot:

The Iconic island temple, off Bali shores, literally means “Land in Sea” was built in the 16th century in dedication to the Sea God – Dewa Baruna. A mythological temple, Tanah Lot is one among the 7 sea temples and is a part of an important ritual called the Melasti Ritual which aims at cleansing the world from sins by symbolically obtaining eternal water(Tirta Amirta). 

Must Read: 15 Best Islands to visit in Indonesia.

One can reach the temple only during low tides. The temple requires regular tinkering as the ever crashing waves tend to erode the surface and cause structural damages. 

This temple which sits majestically atop a huge coral rock is said to be guarded by venomous snakes, present below its surface which is rooted in the ocean.

The most stunning aspect of this famous temple of Bali is that the sunset here is unmatched! 

Location: Jalan Raya Tanah Lot, Beraban, Kediri, Tabanan

Entry Fee: approx INR 300 for adults and INR 150 for children

Timings: 7 am to 7 pm

Things To Remember:

  • Attire is considered an important gesture of respect. Knees and shoulders have to be covered at all times with a sarong and sash. If you don’t have one, you will always be able to rent it, outside the temple.
  • Be careful while walking on the temple premises. There might be offerings kept on the ground and it is considered bad luck if you step on it.
  • There are strict rules prohibiting women on their periods and pregnant women from entering the temple.
  • No pointing feet towards the temple nor stand higher than the priest

Final Thoughts:

Religion and culture is an integral part of Balinese Life. And to see what Bali is really about, one should definitely try and understand at least a little bit about what they hold precious the most. Bali is this beautiful scenic place only because of the beliefs it has been nurturing and because of this, they have taken good care of all that surrounds them, from small plants to humongous volcanic mountains.

To conclude, short and sweet, you will be missing out on the essence of Bali if you skip visiting these beautiful Bali Temples. This being said, to experience the magical  Balinese Nature don’t miss out on these best waterfalls of Bali!

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