Tag Archives: Cultures

Exploring Bali’s Cultural Gems and Natural Wonders: A UNESCO Sites and Geopark in Bali

Bali, the captivating island of Indonesia, is renowned for its stunning beaches, vibrant culture, and mesmerizing natural beauty. Exploring these UNESCO Sites and Geopark in Bali offers an enriching experience, diving into the island’s cultural depth and natural splendor.

Beyond its idyllic landscapes, Bali holds a rich cultural heritage, recognized by UNESCO with the inscription of three remarkable sites as World Heritage Sites. Additionally, Bali boasts the Batur UNESCO Global Geopark, a natural wonderland that showcases the island’s geological heritage. Embark on an immersive journey through Bali, discovering its cultural treasures, natural wonders, and the unique geological features that make it a UNESCO-designated destination.

While transportation is primarily by road, guided tours or local guides can enhance the understanding and appreciation of these significant landmarks.

Bali’s rich cultural tapestry is further enriched by three distinct genres of traditional dance, each with its own unique style, purpose, and significance. These dance forms, collectively known as the “Three Genres of Traditional Dance in Bali,” have been inscribed on the UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2015.

Whether you’re seeking an adrenaline-pumping hike, a relaxing boat ride on Lake Batur, or a cultural immersion into Balinese traditions, the Batur UNESCO Global Geopark offers an unforgettable experience for everyone. Embark on a journey of discovery and unveil the wonders of this volcanic paradise.

UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Bali:
  • Subak System of Cultural Landscape
  • Pura Ulun Danu Bratan (temple)
  • Pura Besakih (temple), has been nominated for UNESCO recognition due to its profound cultural and religious significance within Balinese Hinduism
UNESCO Global Geopark in Bali:
  • Batur UNESCO Global Geopark: 1204

Unveiling Bali’s Cultural Treasures: UNESCO World Heritage Sites

Subak System of Cultural Landscape: A Symphony of Water and Rice

Venture into the heartland of Bali and discover the Subak System of Cultural Landscape, a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2012. This intricate irrigation system, dating back to the 9th century, showcases the harmonious relationship between Balinese farmers and their environment. The Subak system, comprising terraced rice paddies, temples, and water canals, reflects the profound understanding of Balinese people of water management and their deep connection to nature.

Trek through the terraces, interact with locals, and experience the Subak irrigation process. Relax at nearby cafes offering scenic views.

No matter what you do, we’re sure you’ll be impressed by the Subak System of Cultural Landscape. It’s a truly special place that showcases the beauty and ingenuity of Balinese culture.

How to Get There:

The Subak System of Cultural Landscape is spread across five villages in Bali: Catur Angga Batukaru, Pakerisan, Jatiluwih, Manikaya, and Subak Sempol. The easiest way to access these villages is by car or motorbike. From Denpasar, you can follow the Jalan Raya Puputan toward Ubud. From Ubud, you can take the Jalan Raya Tegalalang to reach the Jatiluwih Rice Terraces. Renting a car or scooter allows flexibility to explore at your own pace. Maps and GPS navigation aid in reaching these sites.

Jatiluwih rice terraces

What to Do:
Explore the Jatiluwih Rice Terraces

Witness the breathtaking expanse of the Jatiluwih Rice Terraces, a UNESCO World Heritage Site within the Subak System. Stroll along the pathways amidst the lush greenery and marvel at the intricate irrigation system that supports the rice cultivation.

Jatiluwih rice terraces
Jatiluwih, a UNESCO World Heritage site in Bali, showcases the captivating beauty of traditional Balinese rice terraces. Imacim, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Hike through the rice paddies

This is the best way to get a sense of the scale and beauty of the Subak System. There are several different hiking trails to choose from, so you can find one that’s the right length and difficulty for you.

Pakerisan Valley

Visit ancient temples, explore archaeological sites, and learn about Bali’s historical settlements. Some guided tours include stops at nearby historical landmarks.

Subak Landscape of Pekerisan Watershed

The Subak Landscape of Pekerisan Watershed is home to a variety of rice varieties, including local heirloom varieties that are no longer grown in other parts of Bali. The rice fields are also home to a diverse range of wildlife, including birds, butterflies, and reptiles.

Subak Landscape of Catur Angga Batukaru

The Subak Landscape of Catur Angga Batukaru is a UNESCO World Heritage Site located in the northeastern part of Bali, Indonesia. It is a complex system of rice terraces that has been managed by local communities for over 1,000 years.

Batakaru10
The rice terraces of Gunung Batukaru form a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2012, showcasing the exceptional Subak landscape—a testament to Bali’s traditional farming practices and the harmony between culture and nature. Arabsalam, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Visit Pura Taman Ayun (Royal Water Taman Ayun Temple)

Taman Ayun Temple, also known as the Water Garden Temple, is a beautiful and serene temple located in Mengwi, Badung Regency, Bali, Indonesia.

Immerse yourself in the spiritual atmosphere of Pura Taman Ayun, a royal temple dating back to the 17th century. Admire the temple’s intricate architecture and learn about its significance in Balinese culture.

Taman Ayun Temple, also known as the Water Garden Temple, is a beautiful and serene temple located in Mengwi, Badung Regency, Bali, Indonesia. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is one of the most important temples in Bali. The temple was damaged in the 1917 earthquake, but it was restored in the 1930s. It was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2012.

Pura Taman Ayun 1998 03
Taman Ayun Temple. Mengwi, Badung Regency, Bali, Indonesia. LBM1948, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The main temple is dedicated to the Hindu gods Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva. The bathing pavilion is used for religious ceremonies and purification rituals. The garden is a beautiful and peaceful place to relax and enjoy the natural beauty of Bali. The temple is also a symbol of the Mengwi kingdom. It is a reminder of the power and influence of the Mengwi dynasty.

Engage with Local Farmers

Interact with local farmers and gain insights into the traditional rice cultivation practices in Bali. Learn about the Subak system’s sustainable approach to agriculture and its role in preserving Balinese culture.

Bali Heritage, Culture and Traditions

Pura Ulun Danu Bratan: A Sacred Temple on Serene Waters

Embark on a journey to the shores of Lake Bratan and discover Pura Ulun Danu Bratan, a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2012.

This magnificent temple complex, perched on the edge of the lake, exudes an aura of serenity and spiritual significance. The temple’s intricate architecture, with its meru towers and traditional Balinese carvings, reflects the island’s deep reverence for nature and spirituality. This stunning temple complex, dedicated to the goddess of the lake, Dewi Danu, showcases traditional Balinese architecture amidst a serene and picturesque setting.

Pura Ulun Danu Bratan, Bedugul, Bali (1)
Ulun Danu Bratan Temple’s tranquil ambiance, combined with its breathtaking natural surroundings, makes it a must-visit destination for those seeking both cultural enrichment and serene landscapes in Bali. Johannnindito Adisuryo (Yohanes Nindito Adisuryo), CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

How to Get There:

Pura Ulun Danu Bratan is located in the village of Bedugul, about 54 kilometers from Denpasar. To reach the temple by car or motorbike, take the Jalan Raya Puputan toward Ubud. From Ubud, follow the Jalan Raya Singapadu toward Bedugul.

What to Do:
Witness the Sunrise

Experience the magical spectacle of the sunrise over Lake Bratan, casting a golden glow upon Pura Ulun Danu Bratan. The temple’s reflection in the serene waters creates an unforgettable sight.

Morning Bliss At Bali (219953415)
Experience the serene morning bliss next to Bedugul at Ulun Danu Bratan Temple. Javier Prieto, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Explore the Temple Complex

Wander through the temple complex and admire the intricate architecture, including the three-tiered Meru towers, the intricately carved gates, and the serene courtyards.

The Ulun Danu Bratan Temple complex features several intricately designed shrines dedicated to various deities. These shrines, adorned with traditional Balinese architecture, stand gracefully within the serene surroundings of the temple. Each shrine holds its own significance in the religious and cultural practices, inviting visitors to admire their beauty and learn about the spiritual heritage of Bali.

Pura Ulun Danu Bratan, panorámicas (1998) 02
At Ulun Danu Bratan Temple, discover ornate shrines honoring different deities amidst breathtaking surroundings. LBM1948, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Embrace the Spiritual Atmosphere: Immerse yourself in the peaceful ambiance of the temple grounds and observe the Balinese people engaged in their spiritual rituals.

Pura Besakih: The “Mother Temple” of Bali

Ascend the slopes of Mount Agung and discover Pura Besakih, a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1996. Revered as the “Mother Temple” of Bali, Pura Besakih is a complex of 22 temples, each representing a different aspect of Balinese spirituality. The temple’s sacred location and its rich history make it a pilgrimage destination for Balinese people and a captivating cultural attraction for visitors.

Bali, Pura Besakih 12
Besakih Temple, often referred to as the Mother Temple, holds unparalleled significance in Balinese Hinduism. Located in the village of Besakih on Mount Agung’s slopes, it stands as the largest and most sacred Hindu temple in Bali. Its cultural and religious importance draws pilgrims and visitors alike to experience the profound spirituality and architectural magnificence of this revered site. Schnobby, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

How to Get There:

Pura Besakih is located in the village of Besakih, about 70 kilometers from Denpasar. To reach the temple by car or motorbike, take the Jalan Raya Kintamani.

What to Do:
Witness the Sunrise

Arrive early to witness the breathtaking spectacle of the sunrise over Mount Agung, casting a golden glow upon Pura Besakih. The temple’s silhouette against the radiant sky creates an unforgettable sight.

Explore the Temple Complex

Wander through the vast temple complex and admire the intricate architecture, characterized by towering Meru shrines, intricately carved gates, and serene courtyards. Each temple within the complex holds its own unique significance and represents a different aspect of Balinese spirituality.

Observe Traditional Ceremonies

If you’re fortunate enough to visit during a religious ceremony, immerse yourself in the spiritual atmosphere and observe the Balinese people engaged in their rituals. Witness the offerings, dances, and chanting that embody the deep-rooted beliefs and traditions of Balinese culture.

Salah Satu Upacara Besar Di Pura Agung Besakih
The Ida Batara Turun Kabeh ceremony at Besakih Temple, held yearly in Sasih Kedasa, symbolizes a gathering of all Gods at Pura Besakih to grant blessings based on people’s devotion and karma. Paco Pater, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Seek Blessings at the Holy Springs

Visit the sacred springs within the temple complex and partake in the ritual of cleansing. Balinese Hindus believe that the waters possess healing properties and offer spiritual purification.

Engage with Local Guides:

Seek the guidance of local temple guides who can provide insights into the temple’s history, symbolism, and significance in Balinese culture. Their knowledge will enhance your understanding and appreciation of this sacred site.

The reasons for Pura Besakih’s non-inscription are multifaceted and include:

Pura Besakih, the “Mother Temple” of Bali, was nominated for UNESCO World Heritage Site inscription in 2012 but was not ultimately inscribed. While it remains a revered cultural and spiritual site for Balinese Hindus, it has not yet met the strict criteria for UNESCO World Heritage Site designation.

  • Conservation Concerns: The temple complex faces challenges related to preservation and maintenance, with some structures showing signs of deterioration.
  • Community Engagement: The nomination process requires active participation and support from the local community, which has been a complex aspect for Pura Besakih.
  • Management Plan: A comprehensive management plan that outlines clear preservation, development, and tourism strategies is crucial for UNESCO consideration.
  • Documentation and Research: Thorough documentation of the temple’s history, significance, and cultural impact is essential for the evaluation process.
  • Authenticity and Integrity: The temple complex must demonstrate authenticity and integrity in terms of its original form, materials, and spiritual essence.

Several factors, including ongoing conservation efforts, conflicts regarding its management, or the need for more comprehensive preservation plans, could impact its consideration for UNESCO recognition. Additionally, UNESCO designations often involve complex evaluations that may take time, and sites might undergo multiple considerations before potential recognition.

Despite these challenges, Pura Besakih remains a highly significant cultural and spiritual site for Balinese Hindus. Efforts are ongoing to address the concerns raised during the UNESCO nomination process, and there is hope that the temple may be reconsidered for inscription in the future.

Best Temples in Bali | You need to visit one of them at least once during your stay in Bali

Batur UNESCO Global Geopark

Nestled amidst the lush landscapes of Bali, the Batur UNESCO Global Geopark is a haven for nature enthusiasts and adventure seekers alike. Home to the majestic Mount Batur, a still-active volcano, and a captivating array of volcanic wonders, the geopark offers visitors an unforgettable journey into the heart of Bali’s geological heritage.

Hike Mount Batur for a breathtaking sunrise trek. Visit the volcanic craters, hot springs, and take in the mesmerizing views of Lake Batur.

Menikmati Keindahan Alam Di Pagi Hari
Batur Geopark in the morning. Paco Paulus Pater, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

How to Get There:

The journey from Denpasar to Batur Geopark by motorbike offers a more scenic and adventurous experience. Follow the same route as mentioned above, but take the time to stop along the way and enjoy the breathtaking views of the surrounding landscapes.

What to Do:

Withness the sunrise

The sunrise view from Batur is simply breathtaking. As the sun begins to ascend, it paints the sky with vibrant hues, casting a mesmerizing glow over the entire landscape. Below, Lake Batur shimmers in the early morning light, creating a tranquil and reflective surface.

Catch the sunrise from Batur and witness the magic unfold as Lake Batur and Mount Agung come alive in the morning light. glimpsing Mount Rinjani on Lombok adds to the enchantment of the view.

In the distance, the silhouette of Mount Agung stands majestically, adding a sense of grandeur to the panorama. Its prominence in the backdrop adds a dramatic touch to the sunrise scene. To the left, the outline of Mount Rinjani on Lombok emerges, creating a stunning vista that showcases the interconnected beauty of Bali and its neighboring island.

This picturesque view from Batur captures the essence of Bali’s natural splendor, combining the serenity of the lake, the awe-inspiring presence of Mount Agung, and the distant allure of Mount Rinjani. It’s a sight that evokes a sense of wonder and appreciation for the breathtaking landscapes of Indonesia.

Sunrise from Mount Batur
The sunrise from Batur is stunning. Below, Lake Batur reflects the early morning light. In the distance, Mount Agung and, to the left, Mount Rinjani on Lombok, complete the breathtaking view. Aaron Rentfrew, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Hike Mount Batur for a Breathtaking Sunrise Trek at 1717 meters (5633 ft)

Embark on a thrilling sunrise trek to the summit of Mount Batur, where you’ll witness a panoramic spectacle as the sun paints the sky with hues of gold and crimson. The challenging ascent is rewarded with breathtaking views of the surrounding landscapes, including the shimmering waters of Lake Batur and the verdant rice paddies that blanket the foothills.

Mount Batur sign
Mount Batur summit sign. Christophe95, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Hiking Mount Batur in Bali | Hike to witness the sunrise from the top of the volcano!

Explore Volcanic Craters and Hot Springs

Venture into the heart of the geopark and discover the awe-inspiring volcanic craters, remnants of Mount Batur’s explosive past. These craters are evidence of the volcano’s historical eruptions and form an intriguing part of the geopark’s landscape. Descend into the Batur Caldera, a vast depression formed by a massive volcanic eruption thousands of years ago.

Crater of Mount Batur 1
One of the craters of Mount Batur. Christophe95, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

After the trek, unwind in the natural hot springs nearby, a perfect way to soothe tired muscles while relishing the stunning vistas of the lake and the volcanic terrain. Feel the warmth of the earth beneath your feet as you explore the geothermal landscapes, including steaming vents and bubbling mud pools.

Visit Kintamani Plateau

Kintamani is a district in the Bangli Regency of Bali, Indonesia. It is located in the northeastern part of the island, and is known for its stunning natural beauty, including Mount Batur, Lake Batur, and the Kintamani Plateau.

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Mount Batur, Kintamani region in Bali. The Mount Batur area in Bali encompasses the stunning Kintamani plateau and surrounding regions, offering breathtaking views and a wealth of experiences for visitors. Eka343, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Discover the Serenity of Lake Batur

Immerse yourself in the tranquility of Lake Batur, a serene crater lake nestled amidst the volcanic landscapes. Take a refreshing boat ride on the lake’s tranquil waters, soaking in the breathtaking views of Mount Batur and the surrounding peaks.

The lake sits within the caldera of Mount Batur and offers visitors opportunities for activities like hiking, hot springs bathing, and enjoying the serene ambiance. The area around Lake Batur is also known for its traditional villages, making it a compelling destination for exploring both natural beauty and local culture.

Batur 1998 01
Lake Batur is a beautiful volcanic lake located in Bali, Indonesia. It’s renowned for its stunning views, surrounding landscapes, and the cultural significance it holds for the local community. LBM1948, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Unveil the Geological Heritage of Batur Geopark

Embark on a journey of geological discovery as you explore the Batur Geopark’s unique rock formations, lava flows, and volcanic ash deposits. Learn about the geological processes that shaped the geopark’s diverse landscapes, and gain a deeper appreciation for the interconnectedness of nature’s wonders.

Gunung Batur op Bali, KITLV D13419
Mount Batur crater. Exploring the Mount Batur crater provides an immersive experience into the island’s volcanic history and offers a chance to marvel at the raw, unspoiled beauty of this geological wonder. Steijlen, Fridus, CC BY 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Embrace the Cultural Essence of Bali

As you explore the Batur Geopark, immerse yourself in the vibrant culture of Bali. Engage with local communities, learn about their traditions, and savor the flavors of authentic Balinese cuisine. Discover the harmonious coexistence between the Balinese people and their natural environment, a testament to their deep respect for nature.

Batur 1998 05
Near Lake Batur in the Bangli Regency of Bali, Indonesia, you can often find charming wayside shrines or small temples known as “penunggun karang” or “penungguh karang.” These shrines hold significant cultural and spiritual importance for the local Balinese community. LBM1948, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Hindu Gods and Goddesses in Bali | A Guide to the Most Important Deities

Three genres of traditional dance in Bali, The National Intangible Cultural Heritage of Indonesia UNESCO

Balinese dance comes in three types: some are religious, some are partly religious, and others are for everyone’s enjoyment. Dancers wear colorful outfits with shiny decorations, showing flowers and animals. These dances are about nature and represent different traditions and beliefs. Dancers use special moves and expressions to show feelings like happiness or sadness. Music from instruments called gamelan accompanies the dances.

Dancers need more than just skill—they also need to have a special kind of energy and be humble and disciplined. In Bali, kids usually learn these dances from a young age in groups. They start with simple moves and keep practicing until they remember everything.

Learning these dances helps people feel connected to their culture and ancestors, making them feel proud of their heritage.

Tari Wali:

Tari Wali, meaning “sacred dance,” is the most revered form of Balinese dance, reserved for religious ceremonies and temple rituals. These dances embody deep spiritual beliefs and are performed by trained dancers who possess a profound understanding of their sacred significance. Exampels of Wali Sacred Dances (Rejang, Sanghyang Dedari, Baris Upacara),

Rejang Adat
Rejang is a sacred Balinese dance performed in religious ceremonies. Female dancers, adorned in traditional attire, move gracefully with precise gestures, symbolizing purity and devotion to the gods. This revered dance invokes blessings and harmony during temple rituals, embodying deep spiritual significance in Balinese culture. EGimaging, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Tari Bebali:

Tari Bebali, meaning “semi-sacred dance,” serves as a bridge between the sacred and the secular, often performed during religious festivals and community events. These dances are characterized by their lively rhythms, intricate movements, and captivating storytelling, showcasing the island’s vibrant cultural heritage. Exampels of Bebali Semi sacred Dances (Topeng Sidhakarya/Topeng Pajegan, Gambuh dance drama, Wayang Wong dance drama).

Topeng Sidakarya Bali
The Sidakarya Mask Dance is a traditional Balinese dance that portrays stories from ancient folklore and Hindu epics. Dancers wear vibrant masks, each representing characters like gods, demons, or animals. Through intricate movements and expressions, the dancers bring these characters to life, telling tales of battles, love, and mythology. The dance is a captivating blend of artistry, cultural heritage, and storytelling that continues to enchant audiences with its vibrant display of Balinese traditions. Made Gianni Kania Dewi, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Tari Balihan:

Tari Balihan, meaning “dance for entertainment,” is the most widely performed genre, captivating audiences with its energetic movements, expressive facial gestures, and playful interactions with spectators. These dances range from humorous and lighthearted to more stylized and sophisticated performances. Exampels of Balih-balihan Entertainment Dances (Legong Kraton, Joged Bumbung, Barong Ket).

Legong Kraton Farewell
The Legong Kraton dance is a classic and enchanting Balinese dance known for its grace and beauty. Typically performed by young girls, it tells tales of love and mythical stories through intricate movements, delicate gestures, and vibrant costumes. Accompanied by the mesmerizing sounds of the gamelan orchestra, this dance captivates audiences with its elegance, portraying Balinese cultural richness and storytelling traditions. Flying Pharmacist, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Sources: UNESCO, UNESCO (map), ResearchGate (Pura Besakih: A World Heritage Site Contested), UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage

Photo credit (main picture): MadebyNastia via Pixabay

Photo description: Supreme water temple Pura Ulun Danu Batur.

Things To Do in Bali and What to Visit, Where To Go While Vacationing in Bali? (Top Attractions)


Your First Step in Bali: Explore the UNESCO World Heritage Sites, then Secure Your Villa in the Heart of Lively Seminyak!

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Whether you’re embarking on a memorable family trip, a fun-filled adventure with friends, or a romantic escapade, Villa Carissa in the heart of Seminyak provides the ideal sanctuary to discover Bali’s diverse attractions and savor a rejuvenating vacation. With its prime location, Villa Carissa ensures an unforgettable experience for all travelers seeking relaxation and exploration. Book now to create cherished memories in this exquisite haven.

Carissa villa in seminyak
Villa Carissa in Seminyak Center

Bali’s Divine Balance and Harmony: Nurturing Balance Through Hindu Gods and Goddesses in Bali

Hindu gods and goddesses in Bali play a central role in Balinese culture and religion. The Balinese believe that the gods and goddesses are present in all things, and that they can be invoked for help and guidance. They also believe that the gods and goddesses play an important role in maintaining balance and harmony in the world.

In Bali, a rich tapestry of Hindu gods and goddesses weaves through the vibrant culture, influencing daily life, rituals, and festivals. Let’s delve into the divine pantheon celebrated on the Island of the Gods:

Balinese Beliefs and Harmony

The Balinese believe that gods and goddesses reside in all things, fostering balance and harmony. Regular offerings, festivals, and rituals play a pivotal role in expressing devotion and ensuring the well-being of the community.

The most important Hindu gods worshipped in Bali are:

Brahma (the creator god), Vishnu (the preserver god), and Shiva (the destroyer god). Other popular Hindu gods and goddesses worshipped in Bali include Saraswati (the goddess of knowledge and the arts), Lakshmi (the goddess of wealth and prosperity), Ganesha (the elephant-headed god of wisdom and good luck), Hanuman (the monkey god of strength and courage), Agung (the mountain god), Danu (the water goddess), and Baruna (the sea god).

Best Temples in Bali | You need to visit one of them at least once during your stay in Bali

Exploring the Hindu Pantheon in Bali: Gods and Goddesses of Harmony

Bali, known as the “Island of the Gods,” is adorned with a cultural tapestry intricately woven with the threads of Hindu deities.

The pantheon, a diverse array of gods and goddesses, reflects this harmonious fusion. Each deity embodies specific qualities and is revered for their role in maintaining balance and order in the cosmos.

In Bali, a rich tapestry of Hindu gods and goddesses weaves through the vibrant culture, influencing daily life, rituals, and festivals. Let’s delve into the divine pantheon celebrated on the Island of the Gods.

Religion in Bali: Cultures of Indonesia – Unity in Diversity

The main Hindu gods and goddesses worshipped in Bali are:

1. Brahma: The Creator God, He’s is the one who creates everything

Brahma, with four faces symbolizing the cardinal directions, is revered as the creator god, shaping the universe.

Brahma is the creator god of Hinduism. He is often depicted with four faces, which represent the four directions of the world. Brahma is responsible for shaping the universe and creating all life. He is also known as the god of knowledge and wisdom.

In Bali there is Andakasa Temple dedicated to Brahma.

Brahma statue Singaraja
Four Faced Brahma Statue, Singaraja, Bali. DayakSibiriak, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

2. Vishnu: The Preserver God, He’s the one who protects everything

Vishnu, depicted with four arms, stands as the preserver god, safeguarding the cosmic order and harmony.

Vishnu is the preserver god of Hinduism. He is often depicted with four arms, which represent his four main qualities: dharma (righteousness), artha (prosperity), kama (pleasure), and moksha (liberation). Vishnu is responsible for maintaining the cosmic order and harmony. He is also known as the god of compassion and love.

Giant Vishnu statue
Giant Vishnu statue in Garuda Wisnu Kencana Cultural Park – Bali. Carmelrmd, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

3. Shiva: The Destroyer God, He’s the one who destroys and renews everything.

Shiva, with a third eye and a trident, embodies the transformative forces of destruction and renewal.
The Shiva God is the destroyer god of Hinduism. He is often depicted with a third eye, which represents his ability to see the past, present, and future. Shiva is responsible for destroying the old and making way for the new. He is also known as the god of transformation and renewal.

The three gods are often seen as a trinity, representing the three main aspects of the universe: creation, preservation, and destruction. They are also seen as complementary, with each god playing an important role in maintaining the balance of the universe.

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Shiva statue or Patung Titi Banda in Denpasar – Bali. Balou46, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Other popular Hindu gods and goddesses worshipped in Bali include:

Saraswati: The Goddess of Knowledge and Arts

Saraswati, the graceful deity playing the veena, is worshipped for wisdom, knowledge, and artistic pursuits.

Saraswati, a prominent figure in Hindu mythology, is revered as the goddess of knowledge and arts. Associated with wisdom, music, and nature, she holds a special place in the female trinity alongside Lakshmi and Parvati. Saraswati’s influence extends beyond India, reaching Southeast Asian countries like Cambodia, Bali in Indonesia, and even Japan, where she is known as Benzaiten in temples. Often depicted with a lotus and a swan, these symbols connect knowledge with the concepts of karma and moksha.

Raja Ravi Varma, Goddess Saraswati
Hindu deity Sarasvati (Saraswati) is the Hindu goddess of knowledge, music, arts, wisdom, and nature. She’s part of the female trinity along with Lakshmi and Parvati. Saraswati is revered in southeast Asian countries like Cambodia, Bali, Indonesia, and in Japan where she’s known as Benzaiten. Depicted with a lotus and swan, she symbolizes the connection between knowledge, karma, and moksha. Raja Ravi Varma, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Lakshmi (Dewi Sri): The Goddess of Wealth and Prosperity

Lakshmi, often portrayed with four arms, bestows blessings of wealth and prosperity upon devotees.

Lakshmi, a prominent figure in Hindu mythology, is hailed as the Goddess of Wealth and Prosperity. Devotees seek her blessings for financial abundance, success, and well-being. Lakshmi is often depicted with symbols of prosperity, such as a lotus flower and overflowing coins, symbolizing her ability to bring material and spiritual wealth. Hindus celebrate festivals like Diwali to honor Lakshmi and invite her blessings into their homes for a prosperous and harmonious life.

Dewi sri lakshmi statue at villa carissa
The Dewi Sri statue (or Lakshmi) at Villa Carissa embodies the Balinese goddess of rice, wealth, fortune, power, beauty, fertility, and prosperity, adding a touch of cultural significance to your experience.
Ganesha: The Elephant-Headed God of Wisdom

He’s the remover of obstacles, is revered for wisdom, intellect, and good fortune.

Ganesha, the Elephant-Headed God, is a beloved figure in Hindu mythology, revered for his wisdom and ability to remove obstacles. He symbolizes intelligence, good fortune, and new beginnings.

Downtown Ubud Bali Indonesia - panoramio (23)
Ganesha statue in Ubud, Bali. Michelle Maria, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Depicted with an elephant head and a human body, Ganesha is often worshipped at the start of endeavors to seek his blessings for success and a smooth journey. His endearing nature and association with learning make him a cherished deity in Hindu culture.

Manjangan
A large Ganesha temple in Menjangan – Bali, Indonesia. Oogstweg, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Hanuman: The Monkey God of Strength

Hanuman, the symbol of strength and devotion, is a heroic figure known for his unwavering loyalty.

He’s is a revered figure in Hinduism known for his strength, loyalty, and devotion. Depicted as a monkey-faced deity, Hanuman played a crucial role in the Indian epic Ramayana. He is admired for his unwavering dedication to Lord Rama, showcasing the virtues of courage and selfless service. Hanuman is a symbol of strength, resilience, and faith, making him a beloved character in Hindu mythology. Devotees seek his blessings for courage and protection in their endeavors.

Hanoman dan Jatayu - Hanuman and Jatayu
The Monkey Warrior Hanuman (down) and the Mighty Eagle Jatayu (up) displayed at Departure Terminal, I Gusti Ngurah Rai International Airport (DPS), Bali. Johannnindito Adisuryo (Yohanes Nindito Adisuryo), CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Agung: The Mountain God

The Agung is honored as the god associated with the majestic mountains that grace the Balinese landscape.
Agung, known as the Mountain God, holds significance in Balinese culture. The term “Agung” itself translates to “great” or “majestic” in Indonesian. The Balinese people, deeply connected to nature and the landscape, attribute spiritual significance to mountains, considering them as abodes of divine forces.

There are a few reasons why Agung is the mountain god in Bali:
  • Is the highest mountain in Bali. It is a towering presence on the island and can be seen from many miles away. The Balinese believe that the mountain’s height makes it closer to the gods.
  • Is an active volcano. The Balinese believe that the volcano’s power represents the power of the gods. They also believe that the volcano’s eruptions are a way for the gods to communicate with the people.
  • Located in the center of Bali. The Balinese believe that the mountain’s central location makes it the sacred center of the island.
  • Agung represents the awe-inspiring and sacred qualities associated with towering peaks. Mountains are often regarded as places of meditation and worship in various cultures, symbolizing a connection between the earthly and spiritual realms.

In addition to these reasons, Mount Agung is also associated with a number of Hindu myths and legends. For example, one legend says that Mount Agung was created by the god Brahma when he was separating the earth from the sky. Another legend says that Mount Agung is the home of the gods and that it is the place where the gods go to rest and meditate.

The worship of Mount Agung is an important part of Balinese culture and religion. The mountain god is seen as a powerful protector and is revered by the Balinese people.

Besakih Bali Indonesia Pura-Besakih-03
Offering a breathtaking view, Agung stands majestically as observed from the Besakih temple situated at its base. Photo by CEphoto, Uwe Aranas (CC BY-SA 3.0) via Wikimedia Commons

Here is a quote from a Balinese priest:

“Mount Agung is the dwelling place of the gods. It is the most sacred place on Bali. We must respect the mountain god and keep him happy. If we do not, he will become angry and punish us.”

This quote shows how important Mount Agung is to the Balinese people and why they worship him as the mountain god.

The worship of Mount Agung is an important part of Balinese culture and religion. The mountain god is seen as a powerful protector and is revered by the Balinese people.

Mount Agung Adventure Travel in Bali

Danu: The Water Goddess

She’s the water goddess, is venerated for her connection to rivers, lakes, and the life-giving force of water.

Danu, revered as the Water Goddess, holds a special place in Balinese mythology. The term “Danu” is associated with water, symbolizing the life-giving and purifying essence of this natural element. In Balinese culture, water is often regarded as sacred and essential for various rituals and ceremonies.

The Danu embodies the nurturing and sustaining qualities attributed to water, highlighting its importance in the balance of life and the interconnectedness of nature. The Balinese people, deeply rooted in their spiritual beliefs, recognize the vital role of water in their traditions and its representation through the divine persona of Danu.

Bratan Bali Indonesia Balinese-family-after-Puja-01
Statues of Dewi Danu at Bratan Hindu temple in Bali. Photo by CEphoto, Uwe Aranas (CC BY-SA 3.0) via Wikimedia Commons

Baruna: The Sea God

The Baruna reigns over the seas, embodying the vast and powerful nature of the ocean.

Baruna, in Hindu mythology, is often considered equivalent to Poseidon in Greek mythology and Neptune in Roman mythology. These deities share the domain and attributes associated with the seas and oceans.

Baruna, known as the Sea God in Balinese mythology, is a revered deity associated with the vast and powerful ocean. In Balinese culture, where the sea plays a crucial role in daily life, Baruna holds a significant place as a guardian and ruler of the maritime realm. The name “Baruna” itself is indicative of the god’s connection to the sea.

Balinese people, especially those engaged in fishing and seafaring activities, seek the protection and blessings of Baruna for safe journeys, bountiful catches, and overall well-being. The Sea God, with his mythical presence, symbolizes the dynamic and sometimes unpredictable nature of the ocean, reflecting both its ferocity and its role as a source of livelihood for coastal communities. In various ceremonies and rituals related to the sea, offerings and prayers are dedicated to Baruna, acknowledging the divine influence he holds over the waters surrounding Bali.

Varuna makara
Baruna (Varuna) on his mount Makara (is a legendary sea-creature in Hindu mythology. In Hindu astrology, Makara is equivalent to the Zodiac sign Capricorn). See page for author, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Important Days in Bali | Cultural and Events

Local Deities: Guardians of Nature and Beyond

The Balinese also pay homage to local deities, such as Hyang Widhi Wasa, Batara Kala, Nini Luh Masceti, and Ida Bhatara Dalem, each contributing to the island’s spiritual tapestry. The Balinese also worship a number of local deities, such as:

Hyang Widhi Wasa: The supreme god, who is the source of all creation

Hyang Widhi Wasa, the supreme god in the Balinese pantheon, is revered as the ultimate source of all creation. Balinese Hindus believe that Hyang Widhi Wasa is the divine force behind the universe, guiding and sustaining all life.

Achintya is the Supreme God in Indonesian Hinduism, mainly in Bali. It means “the inconceivable” or “the unimaginable” in Sanskrit. Also called Sang Hyang Widhi Wasa or Sang Hyang Tunggal, it represents “The Divine Order” in Balinese. Achintya is like the Indian Hindu concept of Brahman. In Balinese Hinduism, all gods, goddesses, and existence are thought to be forms of Achintya.

Acintya Bali
Hyang Widhi Wasa. PHGCOM, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Batara Kala: The god of time and death

Batara Kala holds a significant role as the god of time and death. Balinese people recognize the cyclical nature of time, and Batara Kala is considered both a keeper of temporal order and a guide in the transitions between life and death.

Javanese and Balinese mysticism refers to numerous “regional” deities, the best known of them being Kajeng Ratu Kidul, the queen of an underwater kingdom which extends from western Java to Bali.

Batara Kala is a creature sent to punish humans, and who began to devour them. It is a deity that represents death itself, through time, a destructive and inevitable time.

COLLECTIE TROPENMUSEUM Wajangpop voorstellende Batara Kala TMnr 3582-69
Shadow figure. Wayang doll, representing Batara Kala. Tropenmuseum, part of the National Museum of World Cultures, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Nini Luh Masceti: The goddess of the forest

Nini Luh Masceti is the cherished goddess of the forest, embodying the lush and sacred realms of Bali’s natural landscapes. Balinese communities revere her as a protector of biodiversity and the serene beauty found within the island’s verdant woodlands.

Nini Luh Masceti is worshipped by the Balinese people, who make offerings to her and participate in religious ceremonies that are dedicated to her. She is a popular deity among farmers and forest workers, who pray to her for good harvests and protection.

She’s often depicted as a beautiful woman with long black hair and flowing white robes. She is often shown surrounded by animals and plants. She is sometimes also shown carrying a basket of fruit or flowers.

Nini Luh Masceti is a benevolent goddess who is associated with the following themes:
  • Nature: Nini Luh Masceti is the goddess of the forest and nature. She is associated with all living things, including plants, animals, and humans. She is also associated with the natural elements, such as the earth, air, water, and fire.
  • Fertility: Nini Luh Masceti is the goddess of fertility. She is worshipped by women who seek her help in getting pregnant and having healthy children. She is also associated with the fertility of the land and the abundance of crops.
  • Healing: Nini Luh Masceti is also a goddess of healing. She is worshipped by people who are sick or injured and who seek her help in getting better. She is also associated with the healing properties of plants and herbs.

Nini Luh Masceti is a popular figure in Balinese culture. She is often depicted in Balinese art and architecture. There are also many temples and shrines dedicated to her throughout the island.

Here are some examples of how Nini Luh Masceti is worshipped in Bali:
  • Nini Luh Masceti Pujawali: Nini Luh Masceti Pujawali is a major festival that is celebrated in Bali to honor Nini Luh Masceti. The festival lasts for three days, and it is marked by elaborate rituals and ceremonies.
  • The Nini Luh Masceti Yatra: Nini Luh Masceti Yatra is a procession that is held in Bali to carry the statue of Nini Luh Masceti from one temple to another. The procession is followed by a feast and a cultural performance.
  • Nini Luh Masceti Dance: Nini Luh Masceti Dance is a traditional Balinese dance that is performed to honor Nini Luh Masceti. The dance is performed by women who wear elaborate costumes and masks.

Nini Luh Masceti is a powerful and benevolent goddess who is worshipped by Hindus all over the world. She is a symbol of nature, fertility, and healing.

Ida Bhatara Dalem: The god of the underworld

Ida Bhatara Dalem governs the mystical realm of the underworld in Balinese cosmology. As a god with profound influence beyond the visible world, Ida Bhatara Dalem is both respected and invoked in spiritual practices, acknowledging the interconnectedness of life and the unseen forces shaping existence.

Ida Batara Dalem is often depicted as a fearsome-looking face and a large beard. He is usually dressed in black robes, and he carries a keris, a traditional Balinese dagger.

The Ida Bhatara ceremony is a Balinese Hindu tradition to honor ancestors during the Galungan festival. Families create offerings of food and flowers on a shrine called the bhatara temple, believed to connect to the spiritual realm. Led by a priest, prayers and rituals are performed to invoke ancestral presence. The ceremony, held twice a year, fosters family unity, respects ancestors, and seeks their guidance and protection in Balinese culture.

Dewi Durga: Goddess of Strength and Protection

The name Durga (दुर्गा) means “impassable,” signifying invincibility and being unassailable.

Dewi Durga, often referred to as Durga, is a powerful goddess in Hinduism. The name Durga means “impassable” or “invincible.” She is considered a warrior goddess, symbolizing strength and protection. Dewi Durga is often depicted riding a lion or tiger, carrying weapons in her many arms. Devotees worship her for courage, strength, and to overcome obstacles.

Dewi Durga is often associated with the following themes:
  • Strength: Dewi Durga is renowned for her physical and mental strength. She is a powerful warrior who is always ready to defend the good and fight for justice.
  • Protection: Dewi Durga is a protector of the innocent and the oppressed. She is also a protector of nature and the environment.
  • Transformation: Dewi Durga is a goddess of transformation. She is associated with the cycle of birth, death, and rebirth. She is also a symbol of hope and new beginnings.
  • Empowerment: Dewi Durga is a symbol of female empowerment and strength. She is worshipped by women who seek her guidance and protection.

She’s a popular figure in Balinese culture. She is often depicted in Balinese art and architecture. There are also many temples and shrines dedicated to her throughout the island.

Here are some examples of how Dewi Durga is worshipped in Bali:
  • Durga Puja: Durga Puja is a major festival that is celebrated in Bali to honor Dewi Durga. The festival lasts for ten days, and it is marked by elaborate rituals and ceremonies.
  • Durga Yajna: Durga Yajna is a fire ceremony that is performed to invoke the blessings of Dewi Durga. The ceremony is often performed to protect people from evil spirits and to bring good fortune.
  • Durga Sangeet: Durga Sangeet is a type of Balinese singing that is dedicated to Dewi Durga. The songs are often sung in praise of the goddess and to invoke her blessings.

The Dewi Durga is a powerful and compassionate goddess who is worshipped by Hindus all over the world. She is a symbol of strength, protection, transformation, and empowerment.

Ratu Kidul: The Queen of the South Sea.

Javanese and Balinese mysticism refers to numerous “regional” deities, the best known of them being Kajeng Ratu Kidul, the queen of an underwater kingdom which extends from western Java to Bali. Found in the depths of the Indian Ocean near Bali, she’s respected for her spiritual importance and safeguarding influence on maritime pursuits.

Fishermen and sailors seek Ratu Kidul’s blessings for safe travels and plentiful catches. The goddess embodies the natural rhythms of life, reflecting the ebb and flow of existence. Portrayed in vibrant green and turquoise, echoing the South Sea’s colors, Ratu Kidul’s depiction holds profound symbolism. These hues link worshippers to the ocean’s spiritual energy and the goddess herself.

Kanjeng Ratu Kidul
Kanjeng Ratu Kidul or Kidul Queen. Gunawan Kartapranata, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Dedicated ceremonies and offerings, especially during sea-related Balinese rituals, express gratitude for Ratu Kidul’s protection. Prayers, dances, and symbolic gifts are offered.

Ratu Kidul is enveloped in mystical tales, described as both benevolent and capricious. Legends add fascination to her character, emphasizing the intricate nature of her divine presence.

Read also: Best Temples in Bali | You need to visit one of them at least once during your stay in Bali

Balinese Superstitions: A Glimpse into the Beliefs of a Unique Culture

Conclusion

The Balinese celebrate many religious festivals throughout the year, and they also make regular offerings to the gods and goddesses. The Balinese believe that by worshipping the gods and goddesses, they can ensure their good fortune and well-being.

From Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva to Saraswati, Lakshmi, and Ganesha, each deity brings unique qualities and blessings. The Balinese people honor these gods through ceremonies, festivals, and daily rituals, seeking their guidance and protection. The diverse pantheon, including local deities like Ratu Kidul, adds depth to the spiritual tapestry of Bali, fostering a deep connection between the people and their beliefs. Through worship and celebration, the island continues to embrace its rich Hindu heritage.

These are just a few of the many Hindu gods and goddesses that are worshipped in Bali. The Balinese people have a deep connection to their gods and goddesses, and their faith is an important part of their culture.

As you explore Bali’s lush landscapes and intricate temples, remember that the vibrant culture is deeply intertwined with the divine, creating a harmonious blend of spirituality and daily life.

Photo credit (main picture): bazaar art, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Photo description: Shiva (left), Vishnu (middle), and Brahma (right).

Bali Heritage, Culture and Traditions


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Ultimate Uluwatu Travel Guide: Discover Must-Visit Places in South Bali

Welcome to the ultimate Uluwatu travel guide, your gateway to exploring the must-visit places nestled between the captivating temples and stunning beaches of South Bali.

Direction the South of the island of Bali, YES! We go to the Bukit peninsula to visit Uluwatu. This area of Bali became popular by first attracting surfers who found high waves there. But Uluwatu is now a destination that appeals more and more to the general public. We go there to visit its superb temple or to bask on its beautiful beaches. Here is our list for what to do in Uluwatu and must do and see places.

How to get there? Where to stay? How to visit the famous Pura Luhur temple and its Kecak Dance show, as well as its best beaches, we will explain all that to you!

1. Uluwatu Temple, a 10th-century sea temple perched on a steep cliff

Navigate through our comprehensive Uluwatu Travel Guide, where we unveil the captivating allure of Uluwatu Temple, a 10th-century sea temple majestically perched on a steep cliff.

Entrance fee: IDR 30,000 (~ €2)
Opening hours: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

The Uluwatu temple, by its full name Pura Luhur Uluwatu, is the place to see in priority in Uluwatu. It is located on the cliffs on the South West coast of Bukit and it is truly fabulous. In this area, the cliffs are over 70m (229.6 ft) high so the views are absolutely stunning.

Pura Luhur Uluwatu 1998 03
Crab-eating macaca [Macaca fascicularis] at Uluwatu Temple at sunset, Bali, Indonesia. LBM1948CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

According to the analysis of the stones of the temple, its construction would have taken place around the 10th century. It is a Hindu temple which is part of the Sad Kahyangan, the group of the 6 most sacred sanctuaries of Bali which notably includes the temple of Besakih.

Uluwatu Temple is dedicated to the goddess Acintya who is considered the supreme god in Balinese Hinduism. It is somewhat the equivalent of Brahma in Hinduism.

In addition to the historical and cultural importance of the site, the Uluwatu temple is aesthetically superb and will delight all photography enthusiasts. It may remind you of the Tanah Lot temple which is also located by the sea.

Kuta Bali Indonesia Pura-Luhur-Uluwatu-04
Sunset at the temple of Pura Luhur Uluwatu above the cliffs. Photo by CEphoto, Uwe Aranas (CC BY-SA 3.0) via Wikimedia Commons

Pura Luhur Uluwatu 2017-08-17 (33)
The serpentine pathway to the Pura Luhur (Uluwatu temple) is fortified by concrete walls on the cliff side. The views from the bottom of the water surging up against rocks and the ocean horizon are remarkable. Paskuu, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

2. The Kecak Fire Dance, in Uluwatu Temple

The other activity not to be missed is the Kecak fire dance which takes place at the Uluwatu temple. It is a traditional Balinese dance that takes place almost every day from 6 p.m. and ends with sunset.

Dancers dressed in traditional costumes will dance in front of you and they will notably stage episodes from the Ramayana (Hindu sacred book).

Burning fire in Ramayana Kecak Dance
Flaming Fire in one of scenes of Ramayana Kecak Dance performed in Amphiteater Pura Uluwatu, Bali. Johannnindito Adisuryo (Yohanes Nindito Adisuryo), CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

There is a charge for the show and it will cost you IDR 100,000 per person, i.e. around € 7. As the show is quite popular and good seats are quite limited, I advise you to sit in your seat from 5 p.m. to be close to the dancers.

Going to the cliffside Uluwatu Temple and watching its Balinese Kecak Dance show is probably one of the best things to do at night in Uluwatu.

It is perfectly possible to visit the Uluwatu temple on your own by renting a scooter or booking a Grab. Read also: How to Take a Taxi in Bali Without Getting Scammed or Cheated?

However, there are several organized guided tours that will take care of routes, reservations, etc.

Kecak fire dance at sunset
Kecak fire dance at sunset, Uluwatu, Bali. Kecak dance is a kind of traditional dance drama art that is typical of Bali. The dance depicts the wayang story, especially the Ramayana story which is performed with the art of movement and dance. This Kecak dance is one of the most well-known traditional arts in Bali. Aside from being a cultural heritage, the Kecak Dance is also one of the attractions of tourists who come there. Krisdenna, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

3. Beaches in Uluwatu

Embark on a coastal adventure with our Uluwatu Travel Guide, as we explore the breathtaking charm and sandy splendor of the beaches in Uluwatu.

Padang Padang Beach

After these cultural activities, it is time to relax by visiting the most beautiful beaches of Uluwatu. One of the most popular is Padang Padang Beach. If you’ve ever seen the famous movie Eat, Pray, Love, you’ll see this beach in the romantic scene at the end of the movie.

This beach is one of the favorite spots for surfers in Uluwatu but it is also a good place for a swim and a tanning session.

Remember to put a few tickets aside because the entrance to the beach is paid and costs 10,000 rupees or 70 cents.

Nyang Nyang Beach

There are also beautiful beaches south of Uluwatu and they are generally much less crowded than Bingin or Padang Padang for example. One of the most beautiful and wildest is Nyang Nyang Beach.

You will have to do a nice hike and cross a forest before arriving at the beach. Don’t miss the piece of boat that washed up on the coast, it’s a nice photo spot. Read also: The Best Beaches in Bali | Most famous beach during your holiday

Nyang Nyang Beach
Nyang-Nyang Beach. Schweigeblick, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Bingin Beach

Bingin Beach is also a beach that attracts many surfers. If you want to try to tame the waves of Bingin, you can rent boards of all types right on the beach. The price is around 50,000 rupees (~ 3 euros) for 2 hours.

But Bingin beach will also appeal to swimmers more because the waves are quite far from the coast and the water is therefore calm near the beach. There are also some great photos to take with the beautiful massive boulders that are laying on the sand.

To eat, there are two places to choose: Kelly’s Warung and Lucky Fish.

Balangan Beach

One of the favorite spots for surfers that you will inevitably come across on your way there.

A much more classic beach than the two previous ones, the plus is much more surrounded by greenery and trees, and extends over about fifty meters.

And the surfers make the show.

Unfortunately no photos, I was miles away from starting a blog one day when I was in Indonesia, but a little Google tour will fill this gap.

Suluban Beach

Suluban beach is cool, because different from the traditional beaches of Bali, between cliffs and rocks. Also famous for surfing (for the experienced, the waves eventually crash into the cliffs, so good).

If you go to the left, between the rocks, you arrive at a fairly discreet and therefore less popular beach, Suluban beach.

It is quite small, but its atypical side makes it really pleasant.

The other good point of the cliffs is that it is possible to have a place in the shade, the Balinese sun is nice, but sometimes a little shade is not so bad!

4. Karang Boma cliff

We are now heading further south to reach Karang Boma. It is a place of observation where you can see magnificent cliffs that will really make you dizzy.

Karang Boma has become popular thanks to Instagram especially because you can take a nice picture there with the beautiful cliff you see above.

The view is breathtaking: the sun dipping in the waves rushing against the cliff – this scene is literally spellbinding. Keep in mind that you will have to pay IDR 5000 (€0.31) as a parking fee (despite no signs about it) if you decide to arrive here by car.

Karang Boma Cliff
Karang Boma Cliff Uluwatu, Bali, Indonesia. Pradnyanandana, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

5. Restaurant, Beach Clubs and Partying in Uluwatu

In this Uluwatu Travel Guide, we delve into the vibrant scene of restaurant dining, beach clubs, and nightlife, giving you an insider’s view of enjoying culinary delights and entertainment in Uluwatu

Single Fin Uluwatu restaurant

If there is a restaurant not to be missed in Uluwatu, it is surely the Single Fin. In addition to the good food they offer (mainly Western cuisine), people go there above all for the magnificent sea view!

They have a huge terrace where you can enjoy a good cold Bintang (local beer) while enjoying the panoramic view. The best time to go there is probably at the end of the day to see the sunset. They also organize evening events quite regularly.

You can walk from Uluwatu temple to Single Fin restaurant, and it takes 40 minutes. Or by car takes 8 minutes).

Savaya beach club and a clifftop club (Ex-Omnia) best for nightlife

After seeing the beaches, climbing cliffs and surfing the waves of Uluwatu, and still don’t know what to do in Uluwatu? It’s time to party a little don’t you think? For this, go to the magnificent Savaya resort which is about 8km east of Uluwatu.

The Savaya is arguably one of the best beach clubs in Bali with stunning infinity pools overlooking the ocean and it attracts internationally renowned DJs. The most photogenic place in the club is probably its bar with the huge shiny cube above.

Karma Beach Club

Not very far from Savaya, you will also find Karma Beach which is a private beach where we find the beach club of the same name. The rather unusual feature of this place is that you descend to the beach via a cable car from the Karma Kandara resort.

On site, you will find many services including restaurants, bars, beach volleyball, stand-up paddle rental, spa…

In terms of prices, you will have to pay IDR 650,000 per person (~ €43) but you will get back IDR 450,000 (~ €30) to use in the restaurant and bar. Note that access is free if you stay at the Karma Kandara resort.

Dinner on Jimbaran Beach: Enchanting Experience Fish and Seafood Restaurants

Discover in Uluwatu Travel Guide: Enchanting Cultural Experiences – Uluwatu Kecak Dance Tickets and More in Bali

Experience the captivating world of Balinese culture and artistry with our Uluwatu Travel Guide, offering a range of immersive experiences centered around the mesmerizing Uluwatu Kecak Dance and beyond.

Bali’s Cultural Splendors: Uluwatu Kecak and Fire Dance Show

Immerse yourself in Bali’s rich cultural tapestry with an entry ticket to the mesmerizing Uluwatu Kecak and Fire Dance Show. This captivating performance, set against the backdrop of the iconic Uluwatu Temple, brings to life ancient tales through the enchanting art of dance and music. Experience the allure of Balinese culture as you witness this unforgettable performance.

Explore Similar Experiences
  • Melasti Beach Kecak Dance Show Tickets: Delve into the magic of the Kecak Dance at Melasti Beach and experience Bali’s artistic heritage in a stunning coastal setting.
  • Skip-the-line Uluwatu Temple and Kecak Fire Dance Tour: Enjoy a seamless visit to the Uluwatu Temple and witness the entrancing Kecak Fire Dance against the dramatic ocean vista.
  • Bali Sunset: Uluwatu Temple, Kecak Dance and Jimbaran Bay: Enhance your evening with a visit to Uluwatu Temple, followed by the captivating Kecak Dance performance, and conclude the night with a beachside dining experience at Jimbaran Bay.
  • Bali: Uluwatu Temple and Karang Boma Cliff Tour with Tickets: Immerse yourself in the beauty of Uluwatu Temple and Karang Boma Cliff, complemented by the enthralling Kecak Dance performance.

Indulge in Bali’s cultural treasures and vibrant performances that weave together the island’s history, spirituality, and artistic heritage. Choose from an array of experiences that promise to leave you enchanted by Bali’s captivating allure.

Photo credit (main photo): GeoffClarke (CC BY-SA 3.0) via Wikimedia Commons

Things To Do in Bali and What to Visit, Where To Go While Vacationing in Bali? (Top Attractions)


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Discover the Enigmatic Beauty of Gunung Kawi Temple: A Spiritual Journey in Bali

Gunung Kawi Temple, nestled in the lush greenery of Bali, is a captivating ancient temple complex that attracts visitors from around the world. This hidden gem offers a glimpse into Bali’s rich cultural and spiritual heritage. In this article, we will delve into the enchanting history, significance, and awe-inspiring features of Gunung Kawi Temple.

Exploring Gunung Kawi Temple is a captivating journey through ancient history, where visitors traverse rice fields to encounter hidden hermitage niches and partially completed temples. The site’s mystical ambiance, breathtaking carvings, and riverfront setting create an unforgettable experience, transporting visitors to a bygone era of Balinese culture and spirituality.

Sacred Serenity, Gunung Kawi Temple in Bali
Sacred Serenity, Gunung Kawi Temple in Bali. www.Pinterpandai.comUser: Pinterpandai.com, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Unveiling the History

Gunung Kawi Temple, also known as the Mountain of Poetry, dates back to the 11th century during the reign of King Anak Wungsu.

The construction of the temple is said to have started around the year 1080 by King Anak Wungsu, who then wished to honor his father Udayana and his wives. The temple complex showcases intricate rock-cut shrines and monuments, reflecting the architectural style of the era.

This temple is an enchanting 11th-century temple and funerary complex nestled in the village of Tampaksiring, Bali. This protected archaeological site spans both banks of the Pakerisan River, captivating visitors with its unique location carved into the rock cliffside.Legend has it that Gunung Kawi Temple got its name from the combination of “Gunung” meaning “mountain” and “Kawi” referring to “sculpture,” signifying a temple carved on a mountain. Built during the reign of King Udayana and continued until the rule of Anak Wungsu, it holds great historical significance within Bali’s Warmadewa dynasty.

Tranquil Retreat, Gunung Kawi Temple Experience
Tranquil Retreat, Gunung Kawi Temple Experience. User: Pinterpandai.com, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Sacred Surroundings, In the middle of lush nature

The sanctuaries, divided into three distinct sections on the site, seem lost in the middle of an impressive tropical nature.

In addition to the green vegetation, and as often in Balinese temples, water plays a key role here. The temple is indeed built around the Pakerisan River, and an ingenious system of pipes seems to have been built to irrigate the candis.

By crossing them, according to local beliefs, the water would then become imbued with the powers of the gods who have established their residence here. The Pakerisan River is thus given an eminently sacred character, to which it is difficult to remain insensitive during the discovery of the place.

Nestled amidst the picturesque Tampaksiring region, Gunung Kawi Temple is enveloped by lush rice terraces and verdant river valleys. The serene ambiance and natural beauty of the surroundings create a mystical and peaceful atmosphere, perfect for spiritual contemplation and tranquility.

Sacred River

The temple complex is located near the sacred Pakerisan River, which is believed to hold spiritual significance in Balinese Hinduism. The sound of flowing water and the presence of the river contribute to the overall spiritual ambiance of the temple.

History and Nature, Gunung Kawi Temple in Bali
History and Nature, Gunung Kawi Temple in Bali. Pinterpandai.com, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Sacred Springs

Within the temple complex, there are several sacred springs known as “Tirta,” which are believed to possess holy water with purifying properties. Visitors can witness the ritual bathing and cleansing ceremonies conducted by devotees at these springs.

Ritual Offerings

The temple is adorned with colorful offerings that are placed by Balinese Hindus as part of their daily rituals. These offerings, consisting of flowers, fruits, and incense, are considered offerings to the deities and ancestors, creating a sacred and reverential atmosphere.

Meditation and Contemplation

The peaceful surroundings of Gunung Kawi Temple make it an ideal place for meditation and contemplation. Visitors can find quiet spots within the temple complex to sit, reflect, and connect with their inner selves.

Spiritual Practices

Gunung Kawi Temple is frequented by Balinese Hindus for various spiritual practices, including prayer, meditation, and rituals. Witnessing these practices provides a deeper understanding of the spiritual traditions and customs of the Balinese people.

Journey to the Past, Gunung Kawi Temple, Bali
Journey to the Past, Gunung Kawi Temple, Bali. www.Pinterpandai.comUser: Pinterpandai.com, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Architectural Marvels

The temple complex comprises ten rock-cut shrines, known as candi, carved into the cliff face. These massive structures, measuring up to 7 meters (around 23 ft) in height, are dedicated to the King and his family members. The intricate carvings and detailed ornamentation showcase the artistic prowess of ancient Balinese craftsmen.

The temple features a remarkable 315 rock steps that descend alongside stone walls, leading visitors to its impressive reliefs adorning the cliff face. Upon arrival, two distinct temple groups await. The first group, situated west of the river, comprises four sanctuaries, a fountain, and a bathing pond, believed to be the resting place of minor queens or concubines. Adjacent to it is a vihara, likely housing caretakers of the tombs.

The Beauty of Gunung Kawi Temple in Bali
The Beauty of Gunung Kawi Temple in Bali. www.Pinterpandai.comUser: Pinterpandai.com, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

On the eastern side, the second group mesmerizes with its five meticulously carved sanctuaries arranged in curved spaces. These temples, strategically positioned within a basin, safeguard them from erosion. Speculations suggest they are dedicated to King Udayana, Queen Mahendradatta, and their sons Airlangga, Anak Wungsu, and Marakata. Notably, the leftmost temple is believed to honor Anak Wungsu.

While no human remains have been discovered within the candi, inscriptions on the false doors provide tantalizing hints of names or titles associated with the tombs. Additionally, the complex boasts the Geria Pedanda, a hermitage known as the “tenth tomb,” likely the burial site of a high-ranking official.

Ancient Beauty, Gunung Kawi Temple in Bali
Ancient Beauty, Gunung Kawi Temple in Bali. www.Pinterpandai.comPinterpandai.com, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Spiritual Significance

Gunung Kawi Temple holds great spiritual importance for the Balinese people. It is believed that the shrines house the divine energy and essence of the deified souls they represent. Visitors can witness locals engaging in prayer, rituals, and offerings, immersing themselves in the spiritual energy of the temple.

Gunung Kawi Temple holds immense spiritual significance for the Balinese people. This ancient temple complex is revered as a sacred site where devotees can connect with the divine and seek blessings. The spiritual aura of Gunung Kawi Temple is palpable, drawing visitors into a realm of tranquility and reverence.

Gunung Kawi Temple, a Spiritual Haven in Bali
Gunung Kawi Temple, a Spiritual Haven in Bali. Pinterpandai.com, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The temple enshrines the divine essence of the deified souls it represents. The cliff face features ten rock-cut shrines, known as candi, which are considered sacred abodes of ancient kings, queens, and their consorts.

Balinese Hindus visit the temple to pay homage to these deities and seek their blessings for various aspects of life, including health, prosperity, and spiritual guidance.

Visiting Gunung Kawi Temple offers a unique opportunity to witness devotees engaging in age-old rituals and ceremonies. Balinese Hindus come here to make offerings of colorful flowers, fruits, and incense, expressing their devotion and gratitude. The rhythmic chants and prayers that fill the air create an atmosphere of spiritual energy and devotion.

Exploring Gunung Kawi Temple, Bali’s Rich Heritage
Exploring Gunung Kawi Temple, Bali’s Rich Heritage. Pinterpandai.com, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Temple complex

The temple complex itself is designed to facilitate spiritual connection. The serene surroundings, lush greenery, and the sound of flowing water from the nearby river contribute to the peaceful ambiance. Many visitors find solace in meditating or reflecting in the presence of these ancient stone structures, allowing themselves to be immersed in the spiritual energy that permeates the site.

For those seeking a deeper spiritual experience, it is recommended to engage with knowledgeable local guides who can provide insights into the temple’s history, mythology, and rituals. They can help visitors understand the significance of the temple’s architecture, carvings, and symbolism, enhancing the spiritual journey.

Exploring the Temple Complex, how to get there?

The temple is located in a small valley below the road by which it is accessed, lost in the middle of lush vegetation, and you must first descend a long staircase of irregular stone steps to reach the site.

Along the way, you can soak in the breathtaking vistas of the surrounding landscapes. The journey to the temple is an adventure in itself, adding to the allure of the experience.

APPROXIMATE ROUTE TIMES

While exact travel times may vary depending on traffic conditions and the chosen mode of transportation, here are approximate route times (in minutes) from Gunung Kawi Temple in Bali to the following destinations:

  • Sanur: Approximately 1 hour
  • Kuta: Approximately 1.5 hours
  • Legian: Approximately 1.5 hours
  • Seminyak: Approximately 1.5 hours
  • Canggu: Approximately 2 hours
  • Ubud: Approximately 1 hour
  • Uluwatu: Approximately 2 hours
  • Amed: Approximately 2.5 hours
  • Munduk: Approximately 2.5 hours

Please note that these times are estimates and can be subject to change. It’s advisable to consider traffic conditions and plan your journey accordingly.

Tanah Lot Bali | Temples Bordering the Indian Ocean

Cultural Insights

Visiting Gunung Kawi Temple offers a wonderful opportunity to learn about Balinese culture and traditions. Engage with local guides who can share fascinating stories, legends, and rituals associated with the temple. Take part in a cleansing ritual at the holy spring nearby or witness a traditional Balinese dance performance in the temple’s vicinity.

The temple showcases Balinese architectural style and serves as a venue for important religious ceremonies and festivals. Gunung Kawi Temple is a symbol of Bali’s cultural heritage and a must-visit for those seeking cultural insights.

Tranquil Retreat, Gunung Kawi Temple Experience
Tranquil Retreat, Gunung Kawi Temple Experience. www.Pinterpandai.comUser: Pinterpandai.com, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Useful information

Opening Hours: The temple is open daily from 7:00 AM to 5:00 PM.
Address: Banjar Penaka, Tampaksiring, Kabupaten Gianyar, Bali 80552, Indonesia
Admission: IDR 15,000 / person
Access: The road is in good condition, so you can easily reach the temple by car or scooter.
Dress Code: As with any temple in Bali, it is respectful to dress modestly. Ensure your shoulders and knees are covered when visiting Gunung Kawi Temple. Read also: Useful Tips for Visiting Temples in Bali

Remember to carry drinking water, wear comfortable shoes, and be prepared for some stair climbing as you explore the temple complex. Also, be mindful of the rules and regulations in the temple premises to maintain the sanctity of the site.

Exploring Gunung Kawi, Bali’s Timeless Temple
Exploring Gunung Kawi, Bali’s Timeless Temple. www.Pinterpandai.comUser: Pinterpandai.com, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Conclusion

Gunung Kawi Temple in Bali is a mesmerizing destination that combines history, spirituality, and natural beauty. It is a must-visit for those seeking an authentic cultural experience and a deeper understanding of Bali’s ancient traditions. Immerse yourself in the mystical ambiance, marvel at the architectural marvels, and let the spiritual energy of the temple guide you on a profound journey of exploration and discovery.

Best Temples in Bali | You need to visit one of them at least once during your stay in Bali


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Carissa villa in seminyak
Villa Carissa in Seminyak Center

Bali Souvenirs: Must-Have Treasures

Apart from beautiful souvenirs, Bali offers a range of unique items that make perfect keepsakes or gifts. Bali is a treasure trove of unique souvenirs that encapsulate the island’s vibrant culture and natural beauty. From traditional handicrafts to delectable treats, there is something for everyone to take back as a cherished memory of their time in Bali. Here are some must-have Bali souvenirs, along with where to find them, addresses, and opening hours of popular shopping spots.

What to Bring Back from Bali?

Bring back in your suitcases a bit of paradise! Here are some things you can bring back from Bali to cherish the memories of your trip:

Traditional Batik Fabric

Batik is a traditional Indonesian textile art form. You can find intricately designed batik fabrics in various colors and patterns. Consider bringing back a piece of batik cloth that can be used as a wall hanging, tablecloth, or even made into clothing.

Fabric production is also an important part of Balinese craftsmanship, especially since it is a religious obligation to dress in the best possible way during temple ceremonies.

Balinese handicraft is batik, a traditional fabric-dyeing technique. Batik textiles are characterized by their intricate patterns and vibrant colors. The process involves applying wax to the fabric before dyeing it, creating unique designs

Bali market, costume material
Fabrics at a Balinese market. Schnobby, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

You can find them in the form of clothing, scarves, wall hangings, and other decorative items. The village of Tohpati is well-known for its batik production, and you can visit workshops to see the process and purchase authentic batik pieces.

Old Balinese Perada batik from the collection of Balique Arts of Indonesia.
Old Balinese Perada batik from the collection of Balique Arts of Indonesia. Small detail of a Balinese Batik Perada. The gold has almost completely disappeared but the dark glue marks remain. 60 to 80 years old. from the collection of Balique Arts of Indonesia. Chris Hazzard, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Sarong

A sarong or a traditional garment (is a large tube or length of fabric, often wrapped around the waist), you have certainly seen the Balinese in their superb traditional outfits and you too can buy one. In a colorful and very typical batik fabric, a sarong can be found everywhere, both in small markets but also in a large number of shops on the side of the road. Do not hesitate to ask your guide to take you for this purchase.

Tradisi Mepeed di Alas Kedaton
Balinese women on their way to perform the Mepeed ceremony to celebrate the Kuningan (traditional sacred Balinese holiday), they wear the Kebaya and Tenun which are the traditional attire of Balinese. These kind of tradition native to the Indonesian island of Bali. Andika Panendra, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Sarongs in Bali often feature vibrant colors, intricate patterns, and are made from lightweight materials such as cotton or silk.

To buy a sarong in Bali, you can explore the local markets, art shops, or clothing boutiques. Ubud Art Market and Sukawati Art Market are popular destinations where you can find a wide variety of sarongs in different colors and designs. These markets offer a vibrant shopping experience with numerous stalls selling textiles, handicrafts, and traditional Balinese items.

You can also visit the traditional craft villages of Gianyar, such as Tohpati and Batubulan, known for their textile production. These villages have workshops and showrooms where you can observe the creation process and purchase authentic Balinese sarongs directly from the artisans.

Balinese metal or iron souvenirs

Balinese iron souvenirs offer a diverse range of beautifully crafted items that showcase the artistry and cultural heritage of Bali.

One of the most iconic Balinese metalworking techniques is called “cirebon,” which involves using a combination of copper and silver to create stunning works of art. The skilled artisans meticulously shape the metal, often incorporating traditional motifs inspired by nature, mythology, and Hindu-Buddhist beliefs.

Here are a few examples of Balinese iron souvenirs that you can find:
  1. Iron Masks: Balinese iron masks are intricately designed and handcrafted, depicting various characters from Balinese mythology and traditional folklore. These masks are highly detailed, showcasing the skill and craftsmanship of Balinese artisans.
  2. Iron Statues: Balinese iron statues come in various forms, ranging from religious figures to animals and abstract designs. These statues are often used for decorative purposes and are known for their intricate detailing and expressive poses.
  3. Iron Wall Hangings: Balinese iron wall hangings are popular souvenirs that feature elaborate designs and motifs. They are often inspired by traditional Balinese patterns, such as floral motifs, mythological creatures, and intricate geometric shapes.
  4. Iron Candle Holders: Balinese iron candle holders are not only functional but also serve as decorative pieces. They are often adorned with intricate patterns and carvings, adding a touch of elegance and ambiance to any space.
  5. Iron Home Décor Items: Balinese ironwork is also used to create various home décor items such as lamps, mirrors, hooks, and decorative ornaments. These pieces showcase the unique style and craftsmanship of Balinese ironwork.

Balinese jewelry
A wooden statue decorated with Balinese golden head accessories, bracelets, earrings, and necklace. These jewelry are usually worn by Balinese bride. The statue is also decorated with “uang kepeng” (metal coin with a square-shaped hole in the middle). Pande Putu Yoga Kamayana, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

When shopping for Balinese iron souvenirs, it’s best to visit local markets, art galleries, and handicraft shops in Bali. Ubud Art Market, Sukawati Art Market, and Mas Village are some of the popular places where you can find a wide selection of Balinese iron souvenirs. These souvenirs not only serve as reminders of your trip to Bali but also as beautiful pieces of art that carry the essence of Balinese culture and craftsmanship.

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Handmade Silver Jewelry

Bali is renowned for its exquisite silver jewelry craftsmanship. From rings and necklaces to earrings and bracelets, you’ll find a wide selection of intricately designed silver pieces. Look for jewelry made by local artisans for an authentic Balinese touch.

Celuk Village in Gianyar (near Sukawati, Ubud) is famous for its exquisite silver jewelry. Explore the workshops and shops in the area, such as Studio Perak and Sri Indah Silver, to discover unique pieces crafted by talented local artisans.

Silver Balinese cigarette case - Burke Museum (cropped)
Silver Balinese cigarette case, Burke Museum, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington. Acquisition number 1998·9/32. Joe Mabel, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Where to buy Bali silvercrafts?

One of the best places to explore and purchase handmade silver jewelry in Bali is the village of Celuk. Located in the Gianyar Regency, Celuk is widely regarded as the silver capital of Bali. Here, you’ll find numerous workshops and galleries showcasing a wide range of silver jewelry, from rings and necklaces to earrings and bracelets.

The artisans in Celuk use traditional techniques such as hand hammering, filigree work, and granulation to create stunning pieces of silver jewelry. These techniques result in intricate patterns, delicate designs, and exquisite detailing that make each piece truly unique.

Beyond Celuk, you can also find handmade silver jewelry in other parts of Bali, particularly in Ubud and Seminyak. Ubud, known for its vibrant arts scene, is home to several jewelry studios and boutiques offering a diverse selection of silver jewelry. Seminyak, on the other hand, is known for its trendy fashion boutiques and designer shops, where you can discover contemporary silver jewelry pieces that combine traditional craftsmanship with modern aesthetics.

Look for silver pieces that are marked with the 925 stamp

When shopping for Bali’s handmade silver jewelry, it’s essential to verify the authenticity and quality of the pieces. Look for silver pieces that are marked with the 925 stamp, indicating that they are made of 92.5% pure silver, also known as sterling silver. This ensures that you’re purchasing genuine silver jewelry.

It’s worth noting that bargaining is a common practice in Bali’s markets and smaller shops. So, don’t hesitate to negotiate the price, but remember to do it respectfully. Engaging in friendly conversations with the artisans and learning about their craft can enhance your shopping experience and provide a deeper appreciation for the artistry behind the jewelry.

Balinese Handicrafts

Bali is known for its rich artistic traditions. Hand-carved wooden masks, intricate wood carvings, stone sculptures, and traditional paintings are popular choices. These unique handicrafts reflect the island’s cultural heritage and make beautiful decorative items for your home.

Pengerajin rotan
A rattan craftsman. Wiaskara, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Where to buy handicrafts in Bali?

When visiting Bali, you can find Balinese handicrafts in various markets, art shops, and galleries throughout the island. Ubud, Seminyak, and Kuta are popular areas for handicraft shopping, offering a wide range of options to suit different tastes and budgets. The Ubud Art Market and Sukawati Art Market are particularly famous for their wide selection of traditional crafts.

Bali woodcarvings

Bali is renowned for its exquisite woodcarvings, which are considered one of the finest examples of traditional Balinese craftsmanship. Woodcarving is deeply rooted in Balinese culture and has been practiced for centuries. If you’re looking for unique and intricate handicrafts, Bali’s woodcarvings make excellent souvenirs.

Bali’s woodcarvings encompass a wide range of items, including statues, sculptures, masks, decorative panels, furniture, and ornaments. The woodcarvers of Bali use various types of wood, such as teak, mahogany, and ebony, to create intricate designs and intricate details.

Bali market, animals of wood
Animals made of wood on a Balinese market. Schnobby, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

To find Balinese woodcarvings, you can explore the following places in Bali:
  1. Ubud Art Market: Located in the heart of Ubud, the market offers a plethora of woodcarvings crafted by skilled local artisans. You’ll find an extensive variety of items, from small figurines to large-scale sculptures, showcasing the exceptional artistry of Bali.
  2. Mas Village: Situated near Ubud, Mas Village is renowned for its woodcarving tradition. The village is home to numerous workshops and galleries where you can witness the carving process and browse through a wide selection of woodcarvings.
  3. Celuk Village: While Celuk is primarily known for its silver jewelry, the village is also home to talented woodcarvers. You can find intricate woodcarvings alongside the silverware, offering a unique combination of crafts.
  4. Tegalalang Village: Located north of Ubud, Tegalalang is famous for its terraced rice fields and also houses woodcarving workshops. Explore the village’s scenic landscapes while discovering exquisite woodcarvings.

When purchasing woodcarvings, ensure they are sourced from reputable sellers who support local artisans and use sustainable materials. Look for well-crafted pieces with intricate details and smooth finishes.

Bali’s woodcarvings reflect the island’s rich cultural heritage and make excellent decorative pieces or meaningful gifts. Whether it’s a traditional mask, a spiritual figurine, or an ornate panel, these woodcarvings will serve as a reminder of your time in Bali and the remarkable craftsmanship of the island.

Bali 0701a
Bali near Ubud wood carver. Yves Picq http://veton.picq.fr, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Bali stone carvings

The Balinese are masters in stone cutting. Each temple, but also many houses or public buildings (banks, official buildings, cinemas, etc.) are decorated with sculptures representing, most of the time, mythological figures. The volcanic stone used, called “paras”, is soft, and as such particularly conducive to precision cutting.

Batubulan is a village in Bali, Indonesia (near Ubud), renowned for its exceptional stone carvings. Located in the Gianyar Regency, Batubulan is a cultural hub where talented artisans bring stone to life with their intricate craftsmanship.

Fabrique de statues
Statues factory (Bali island, Indonesia). Eric Bajart, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

As you wander through Batubulan, you’ll be captivated by the sight of stone carvings adorning the streets and galleries. The village is a treasure trove of sculptures, statues, and decorative elements carved from locally sourced stone. From majestic deities and mythical creatures to intricate reliefs and architectural details, the range of artistic expressions is awe-inspiring.

Traditional Balinese Spa Products

Bali is famous for its rejuvenating spa treatments. Bring a piece of that relaxation home with you by purchasing traditional Balinese spa products such as essential oils, natural soaps, body scrubs, and traditional herbal remedies. These products make excellent gifts or a personal treat.

Bring a piece of that relaxation home with you by purchasing traditional Balinese spa products such as essential oils, natural soaps, body scrubs, and traditional herbal remedies. These products make excellent gifts or a personal treat.

Spa foot bath
Bali traditiona spa. User: (WT-shared) Johnycanal at wts wikivoyage, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Balinese Traditional Medicine | Examples of Ancient Healing Practices

Incense aromatic

This is an integral part of Balinese culture and religious ceremonies. The enchanting aroma of incense can often be experienced wafting through the air in temples, homes, and various establishments throughout Bali. Incense plays a significant role in Balinese rituals and is believed to purify the space, ward off negative energies, and create a pleasant ambiance.

Traditional Balinese incense fragrances such as sandalwood, frangipani, jasmine, and lotus.

Incense stick in balinese rainforest. (Unsplash)
Incense stick in Balinese rainforest. Artem Beliaikin belart84, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

Incense, to give your home the same smell that you smelled everywhere during your trip to Bali! Indeed, you will have smelled it in the temples, the houses in which you will have entered, in the street itself or on the beach in the cups of offerings, and it will be a real olfactory memory. You can find them everywhere in the shops of Bali.

To purchase incense in Bali, you can explore the local markets, art shops, and spiritual stores. Ubud Art Market and Sukawati Art Market are popular destinations where you can find a wide range of incense sticks, cones, and coils.

These fragrances have deep cultural and spiritual significance in Balinese rituals and ceremonies.
Sandalwood

Sandalwood is a cherished fragrance in Balinese culture. It is believed to promote relaxation, meditation, and spiritual awakening. The woody and earthy scent of sandalwood creates a calming atmosphere and is commonly used in temples and meditation spaces.

Frangipani

The delicate and sweet fragrance of frangipani is synonymous with the tropical charm of Bali. The scent of frangipani flowers is often associated with love, beauty, and purity. The floral aroma is refreshing and is used to create a serene ambiance in homes and sacred spaces.

Jasmine

Jasmine has a rich, exotic scent that is highly revered in Balinese traditions. The intoxicating fragrance of jasmine symbolizes purity, sensuality, and spiritual elevation. The aroma of jasmine incense is often used during religious ceremonies and is believed to attract positive energies.

Lotus

Lotus is a sacred flower in Balinese culture, representing purity, enlightenment, and spiritual growth. The subtle and serene fragrance of lotus incense is widely used in temples and meditation spaces. Burning lotus incense is believed to enhance meditation, concentration, and a sense of inner peace.

Read also: Famous Flowers in Bali

Kopi Luwak (Civet Coffee)

For coffee enthusiasts, Bali is renowned for producing Kopi Luwak, one of the most expensive and sought-after coffees in the world. Made from coffee beans that have been digested by civet cats, Kopi Luwak has a unique flavor profile. Look for reputable sources that ensure ethical and sustainable production practices.

What sets Luwak coffee apart is the unique flavor profile that emerges from this natural fermentation process. Tis often described as smooth, rich, and less acidic compared to regular coffee. The beans undergo subtle changes during digestion, resulting in a distinctive taste that captivates coffee connoisseurs around the world.

Visit coffee plantations in Ubud and Kintamani, like Bali Pulina Agro Tourism and Bali Eco Agrotourism, to taste and purchase this specialty coffee.

Marapatti
A luwak, an Asian palm civet. Krishnakumarvairassery, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Kopi luwak 090910-0075 lamb
Kopi luwak seeds after harvest. Kopi luwak is a coffee harvested from the excrement of an Asian civet, the luwak (Paradoxurus hermaphroditus) of the family Viverridae, due to an almost absent digestion. Wibowo Djatmiko (Wie146), CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Where to buy?

If you’re visiting Bali and want to experience Luwak coffee firsthand, there are several coffee plantations and agrotourism sites where you can learn about the coffee-making process and sample this unique brew. Some popular places to visit include Bali Pulina Agro Tourism in Ubud, Bali Eco Agrotourism in Kintamani, and Alam Sari Agrotourism in Tegalalang. These establishments offer guided tours that take you through the coffee plantation, showcasing the coffee beans’ journey from the civet to the cup.

During your visit, you can witness the traditional Luwak coffee production methods, from hand-picking the coffee cherries to roasting the beans. Knowledgeable guides will explain the coffee-making process, including the ethical considerations involved in sourcing Luwak coffee. You’ll also have the opportunity to sample different coffee varieties, including Luwak coffee, and appreciate its unique flavors and aromas.

Famous Balinese Paintings: Exploring Bali’s Artistic Heritage

Paintings on canvas

Pictorial art is part of the culture of Bali and the most traditional markets are overflowing with paintings of all kinds.

You can find traditional scene paintings on canvas at affordable prices, and bargaining is encouraged. In Ubud you will also find plenty of art galleries, most selling very good quality paintings of varying styles.

The basics of haggling: If you decide to haggle, the golden rule is not to leave without having bought something at the stand. This is considered very rude. Or just simply smile, say thank you and leave…

Gerard Pieter Adolfs - 1944 Nr14 Lègong Bali OOC 80 60
Bali Legong painting. oil on canvas. Dimensions: height: 80 cm (31.4 in); width: 60 cm (23.6 in). Painted by Gerard Pieter Adolfs (born 2 January 1898 in Semarang, Central-Java; died 1 February 1968 in ‘s-Hertogenbosch, the Netherlands) was a Dutch East Indies painter and architect. Gerard Pieter Adolfs, CC BY-SA 3.0 DE, via Wikimedia Commons

Paintings on canvas in Bali come in various styles, from traditional Balinese art to contemporary and modern interpretations. They often depict scenes inspired by Balinese mythology, nature, daily life, traditional ceremonies, or abstract designs.

To find paintings on canvas as souvenirs in Bali, you can visit art markets, galleries, and art shops across the island.

Charles Sayers, Balinese Woman
Charles Sayers, Balinese Woman. Media: Oil on Canvas Size: 80 cm x 65 cm. Museum Pasifika, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Here are some recommended places where you can explore and purchase these artistic treasures:

  1. Ubud Art Market: Located in the cultural heart of Bali, Ubud Art Market offers a wide selection of paintings on canvas along with other art and handicraft items. You can find traditional Balinese paintings as well as contemporary artworks created by local artists.
  2. Seminyak Art Gallery: Seminyak is known for its trendy and artistic vibes, and you’ll find several art galleries showcasing paintings on canvas. These galleries often feature works by both local and international artists, providing a diverse range of styles and themes.
  3. Kuta Art Market: Kuta is a bustling tourist hub, and its art market is a popular destination for souvenir shopping. You can discover various artworks, including paintings on canvas, reflecting Bali’s culture and landscapes.
  4. Sukawati Art Market: Located in Gianyar regency, Sukawati Art Market is a famous market specializing in traditional Balinese arts and crafts. Here, you can find an array of paintings on canvas at affordable prices.

When purchasing paintings on canvas as souvenirs, it’s important to consider the authenticity and quality of the artwork. Look for reputable sellers and galleries that support local artists and provide genuine pieces. Additionally, you may want to inquire about the artist, the story behind the artwork, and any care instructions to ensure its preservation.

Bringing back paintings on canvas from Bali not only allows you to cherish the island’s artistic heritage but also adds a touch of beauty and cultural richness to your home or office.

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Traditional Balinese Masks (Topeng Bali)

Balinese masks are not only visually stunning but also hold cultural significance. These intricately crafted masks are used in traditional dance performances and religious ceremonies. They can be displayed as a decorative piece or incorporated into a themed collection.

You will find many traditional masks of all sizes, some are very colorful, made with mahogany wood, and carved with the effigy of gods, animals and demons.

Topeng Bali in Wayang Museum
Balinese Barong mask.The term “Barong” would be derived from the local word bahruang, which today corresponds to the Indonesian word beruang meaning “bear”. In the Balinese imagination, it refers to a good spirit, which took the form of an animal so that it could become the guardian of the forest. In Balinese mythology, the most benevolent spirit of all is known as Banas Pati Raja. Banas Pati Raja is the fourth “spiritual brother” who accompanies a child throughout his life. This concept of “spiritual brother” could for example be compared with the Christian notion of guardian angel. Well actually, Banas Pati Raja is the spirit that drives Barong. Taman Renyah, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Wooden masks, often mahogany, are made by the Balinese to cover the faces of men with figures of animals, gods or demons. Specialized craftsmen have passed on this know-how from father to son for generations. You will have the choice between small painted wooden masks or, if you want a more mystical object, more imposing and colorful masks, embellished with false teeth, hair, eyes etc.

Where can I find a Balinese mask?

You will find masks in small shops or on the markets, in particular that of Kuta, the largest on the island. Remember to take cash with you because most stands and shops do not take credit cards.

Aside from the Ubud Art Market, you may also find wooden masks in other markets and art shops throughout Bali. Places like Sukawati Art Market, Kuta Art Market, and Seminyak Village often feature wooden masks as part of their artisanal offerings. Exploring these markets allows you to compare styles, craftsmanship, and prices to find the perfect mask that resonates with you.

Bali market, masks of wood
Masks made of wood on a Balinese market. Schnobby, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Puppets that will amuse not only children

Very popular for centuries throughout Indonesia, wayang kulit is a shadow theater that features puppets measuring between 25 and 75 cm (around 9.8 – 30 inches). They are made of leather and wood and mounted on bamboo stems.

These (not so) little puppets have become an emblem of Indonesian culture and are therefore a hit with tourists. The spectators know the story by heart: the young prince is always played by the puppet with the white face, while the one with the green face is hypocritical and the one with the pink face violent.

Bali market, dolls
Wayang (puppet). Schnobby, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Cheap puppets? Be careful, the puppets are quite expensive, especially in the shops of Ubud, on Gungang Street, where you will have the most choice. By strolling through the markets, you will find them at more affordable prices.

Wayang Kulit, Bali
Shadow puppet from Bali, representing Kresna, of the Mahabarata epic. ASITRAC, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Wayang (Indonesian puppetry art form) was inscribed on the UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2003. This recognition acknowledges the cultural significance and value of Wayang as an intangible heritage of humanity.

Traditional Balinese Music Instruments

Traditional Balinese music instruments play a vital role in the cultural and artistic heritage of Bali.

Balinese music is vibrant and rhythmic, and you can bring home a piece of it by purchasing traditional musical instruments such as gamelan (a traditional ensemble of percussion instruments) or bamboo flutes. These instruments offer a unique cultural experience and can be enjoyed as decorative items or played for personal enjoyment.

09 05 07 ngayah GAMBUH Batuan ( 2007 — PICs ) — 24 JEFF tukang suling
Gamelan Gambuh ensemble, Batuan, Bali. Author: Ni Ketut Sri Laksmi (CC BY-SA 3.0) via Wikimedia Commons

Where to buy Balinese music instruments?

You can find these instruments at various music stores, art markets, and specialized craft shops across the island. Ubud, known for its artistic community, is a great place to explore and purchase traditional Balinese music instruments. Other popular locations include the Sukawati Art Market, Guwang Art Market, and various handicraft villages like Mas and Celuk.

Balinese Spices and Herbs

Known for their rich flavors and aromatic profiles, these spices and herbs play a crucial role in Balinese cuisine, adding depth and complexity to dishes. If you’re looking to bring the flavors of Bali back home with you, exploring the world of Balinese spices and herbs is a must.

One of the most famous Balinese spices is bumbu Bali, a traditional spice blend used in many local dishes. It typically consists of a combination of shallots, garlic, chili peppers, ginger, turmeric, lemongrass, and shrimp paste. Bumbu Bali adds a delightful balance of heat, sweetness, and savory notes to various dishes like sate, grilled fish, and spicy stews. You can find pre-packaged bumbu Bali in local markets or even create your own blend using fresh ingredients.

Bali, tiendas 1998 03
Spices sachets prepared for tourists. Bali, Indonesia. LBM1948, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Spice up your culinary adventures with Balinese spices and herbs

Explore traditional markets, such as Pasar Badung in Denpasar and Ubud Traditional Market, to find a variety of aromatic spices like lemongrass, galangal, and turmeric.

When purchasing Balinese spices and herbs, consider their shelf life and storage requirements. Some spices may be more suitable in powdered or dried form for longer shelf life and ease of transport. Properly sealed containers or packaging can help preserve the freshness and flavors of the spices and herbs.

Common Spices in Bali, Indonesia
Common Spices in Bali. This image contains various kinds of spices found in Bali, Indonesia, such as cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and so on. These spices are the main ingredient for Indonesian people to cook a variety of authentic Indonesian specialties. Christine Anggeline, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Balinese food and specialties | Emblematic dishes not to be missed under any circumstances during your stay (Best Local Cuisine)

Where to buy Bali spices?

Traditional Markets: Bali’s bustling traditional markets are excellent places to immerse yourself in the local culture and find an array of fresh spices and herbs. One of the most popular markets is Pasar Badung in Denpasar, where you’ll find a wide range of vendors selling everything from turmeric and ginger to lemongrass and galangal. Another vibrant market to explore is Ubud Market, which offers an assortment of aromatic spices, such as cloves, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Don’t forget to bargain and engage with the friendly local sellers for a truly authentic market experience.

Spice and Herb Shops: For a more curated and convenient shopping experience, visit specialty spice and herb shops in Bali. These stores offer a wide selection of high-quality spices and herbs, often sourced directly from local farmers and producers. Some notable shops include Spice Bali in Seminyak, which stocks a diverse range of Balinese spices, including the famous Bali long pepper and cardamom. Bali Asli Spice in Ubud is another popular destination, known for its organic and sustainably sourced spices and herbs.

Balinese kites

Much more than a simple toy, the kite is on the island of the gods a real institution in the same way as art and religion. You will find them in all possible shapes and colors. Something to please the little boys and girls around you. Pirate ship with billowing sails, snakes, dragons, birds, butterflies, etc., you will be spoiled for choice. They are offered in all the souvenir shops on the island.

Balinese Kites 3
Balinese Kites. Gunawan Kartapranata, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Where to buy Balinese kites?

You can find Balinese kites available for purchase as souvenirs in various markets and shops throughout Bali. Some popular places to buy Balinese kites include local markets like the Ubud Art Market, Sukawati Art Market, and Sanur Night Market. Additionally, you can find them in specialty stores and souvenir shops in popular tourist areas such as Kuta, Seminyak, and Nusa Dua.

However, it is also possible to find some from street vendors on the southern beaches (Sanur, Seminyak, Kuta, etc.).

Photo credit (main picture): 5477687 via Pixabay

Best Bali Local Markets | Discovering Balinese Traditional Markets and Must Visit Markets

Please remember to check customs regulations and restrictions in your home country regarding the importation of certain items, especially agricultural products or wildlife-related products. Choose authentic, locally made items that support the local artisans and craftspeople of Bali.

Shop till You Drop: Best Places to Go Shopping in Bali


Have you booked your villa in Seminyak center, Bali?

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Located in Seminyak Center – Bali, Villa Carissa offers a private swimming pool and enclosed garden to guarantee your privacy. You can book your private pool villa here with us.

Whether you’re traveling with family, friends, or on a romantic getaway, villa Carissa in Seminyak center offers the perfect base for exploring Bali’s many attractions and enjoying a relaxing vacation.

Carissa villa in seminyak
Villa Carissa in Seminyak Center

Exploring the Healing Power of Balinese Traditional Medicine

Discover the ancient wisdom and profound healing traditions of Balinese Traditional Medicine, an extraordinary system of natural remedies and practices that promote holistic well-being and unlock the secrets of optimal health.

Balinese traditional medicine incorporates various practices and natural remedies to promote healing and overall well-being.

Balinese Traditional Medicine for Common Ailments and Conditions

The Balinese traditional medicine actively addresses a variety of ailments and conditions, including digestive disorders, respiratory issues, skin conditions, musculoskeletal problems, and emotional imbalances. Here are some examples of ailments and conditions that Balinese traditional medicine is believed to address:

Balinese herbal remedies

Traditional herbal preparations actively treat an array of health issues, encompassing digestive problems, respiratory conditions, skin ailments, and overall well-being.

Balinese herbal remedies are an integral part of Balinese traditional medicine. They are used to address various health issues and promote overall well-being.

Here are some examples of Balinese herbal remedies:

  • Boreh:

Boreh is a traditional herbal paste made from a mixture of herbs, spices, and rice powder. It is commonly applied to the body as a warm compress to relieve muscle aches, improve circulation, and promote relaxation. The benefits of boreh anget as a traditional medicine can warm the body, improve blood circulation, reduce muscle pain, bone pain, fever, chills, and headaches.

The boreh massage is a technique created by rice farmers to relieve the pain associated with their very heavy work. Masseurs use a preparation made from ground spices to add benefits to their movements.

  • Jamu:

Jamu is a traditional herbal drink made from a combination of medicinal plants, roots, and spices. It is believed to have various health benefits, including boosting immunity, improving digestion, enhancing vitality, and balancing hormones.

Jamu tradisional

Jamu is one of the traditional medicines originating from Indonesia that we often find them in traditional markets, made from herbal plants that are useful for health and body warmth. Eight types of herbal medicine are usually sold, namely beras kencur (kaempferia galanga), chili puyang (piper retrofractum vahl), kudu laos (made from Noni fruits or mengkudu), kunci suruh (curing Leukorrhea (fluor albus) is a thick, whitish, yellowish or greenish vaginal discharge), uyup-uyup/gepyokan (to increase the production of breast milk in mothers who are breastfeeding), kunyit turmeric (curcuma domestica), and sinom (made from sinom or young tamarind leaves.). Nanda Rahda Izaty, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

  • Turmeric:

Turmeric, known as kunyit in Bali, is widely used in Balinese herbal remedies. It is valued for its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties and is used to alleviate joint pain, promote digestion, and support overall wellness.

Turmeric, the main ingredient of curry or curry, is particularly present in the socio-cultural life of the Indian subcontinent, where it is considered an exceptional plant with regard to its many properties (spice, food preservative, coloring agent, cosmetic and medicinal). Widespread in Southeast Asia since Antiquity, turmeric is the subject of numerous scientific studies all over the world, in order to better understand its food and medical properties.

Turmeric rhizomes
Turmeric rhizomes with one cut open to expose the bright yellow center. Lavinia Engelbrecht, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

  • Ginger:

Ginger, or jahe in Bali, is another commonly used herb in Balinese traditional medicine. It is known for its warming properties and is used to relieve nausea, aid digestion, and improve circulation.

Ginger bacterial wilt 8 (5688135903)
Ginger. Scot Nelson, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

  • Lemongrass:

Lemongrass, or sereh in Bali, is a fragrant herb used in Balinese cuisine and traditional remedies. It is believed to have antimicrobial properties and is used to soothe digestive issues, relieve headaches, and reduce stress.

Sereh
Apart from being a flavoring food, Cymbopogon citratus (sereh) is also useful for relieving sore throats, treating fever, inhibiting bacteria and fungi and treating digestive problems. Herusutimbul, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

  • Pandan leaves:

Pandan leaves, or daun pandan in Bali, are often used in herbal teas and desserts. They are known for their calming and cooling effects and are believed to aid digestion, improve sleep, and reduce inflammation.

20220605 Hortus Botanicus 22 - Pandanus amaryllifolius
Pandanus amaryllifolius. The leaves are oily and fragrant, the filtered juice of mixed leaves is used as a food coloring and flavoring for various sweet preparations (filtered juice of mixed leaves, cream desserts, cakes, pandan cake), savory dishes (rice). The leaves of P. amaryllifolius have a number of local medicinal uses. Leaf extracts are believed to reduce fever, relieve indigestion and flatulence, and act as a cardiotonic. Rudolphous, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Balinese herbal remedies are often prepared and administered by traditional healers or experienced practitioners who have knowledge of the different herbs, their properties, and their appropriate applications. It’s important to consult with trained / doctor / practitioners or healthcare professionals before using herbal remedies to ensure safety and proper usage, especially if you have specific health conditions or are taking medications.

Jamu

Jamu is a traditional herbal drink made from various medicinal plants and spices. It is believed to promote overall health, boost immunity, and address specific health concerns such as inflammation, fatigue, and hormonal imbalance.

Jamu is said to have originated in the kingdom of Mataram about 1300 years ago. Although heavily influenced by Ayurveda from India, Indonesia is a vast archipelago with numerous native plants not found in India and plants similar to those of Australia beyond the Wallace Line. Jamu therefore differ greatly from region to region.

Balinese jamu is a traditional herbal drink that has been consumed in Bali for centuries. It is made from a combination of medicinal plants, roots, spices, and other natural ingredients. Jamu is highly regarded for its therapeutic properties and is believed to promote overall health and well-being.

Here are some key features of Balinese jamu:
  • Herbal Blend: Balinese jamu “Loloh” typically consists of a blend of various herbs, roots, and spices. Common ingredients include turmeric, ginger, galangal, tamarind, lemongrass, and pandan leaves. These ingredients are carefully selected for their medicinal properties and are combined to create a harmonious and beneficial blend. While the specific recipe may vary, some common ingredients found in Loloh Bali include:
    • Turmeric (Kunyit): Known for its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, turmeric is a key ingredient in Loloh Bali. It adds a vibrant yellow color to the drink and is believed to have numerous health benefits.
    • Ginger (Jahe): Ginger is widely used in traditional medicine for its digestive and immune-boosting properties. It adds a warm and spicy flavor to Loloh Bali.
    • Lemongrass (Sereh): Lemongrass is known for its refreshing and citrusy aroma. It is believed to aid digestion and promote relaxation.
    • Pandan Leaves (Daun Pandan): Pandan leaves are often used in Indonesian cuisine for their aromatic and sweet fragrance. They add a subtle flavor and fragrance to Loloh Bali.
    • Tamarind (Asam Jawa): Tamarind is a sour fruit that adds a tangy taste to Loloh Bali. It is known for its digestive properties and is believed to help balance acidity in the body.
    • Honey or Palm Sugar: To sweeten the drink, Loloh Bali may include natural sweeteners like honey or palm sugar. These add a touch of sweetness while retaining the drink’s natural and herbal flavors.
  • Health Benefits: Balinese jamu is known for its wide range of health benefits. Different recipes of jamu are believed to address specific health concerns such as boosting immunity, improving digestion, detoxifying the body, reducing inflammation, promoting healthy skin, and supporting overall vitality.
  • Preparation and Consumption: Jamu is traditionally prepared by grinding or pounding the herbal ingredients into a paste or extracting their juices. It can be consumed as a herbal tea by diluting the paste or juice with water, or it can be mixed with honey, coconut water, or other natural sweeteners for added flavor.
  • Cultural Significance: Jamu holds significant cultural value in Bali and is often consumed as a part of daily rituals and traditional healing practices. It is considered a natural and holistic approach to maintaining good health and preventing illness.
  • Availability: Balinese jamu can be found in traditional markets, local health food stores, and some restaurants and cafes in Bali. It is also possible to find pre-packaged jamu products for convenient consumption.

Balinese jamu is not only enjoyed for its potential health benefits but also for its rich cultural heritage. It is a reflection of the traditional knowledge and wisdom passed down through generations. As with any herbal remedy, it’s advisable to consult with trained practitioners or healthcare professionals to ensure proper usage and to consider any individual health conditions or medications that may interact with the ingredients in jamu.

Spa and Massage Treatments in Bali at Private Pool Villa Carissa, Seminyak Centre

Massage and body therapies

Balinese traditional medicine incorporates various massage techniques and body therapies, including Balinese massage, renowned for its relaxation and therapeutic effects. These therapies actively promote circulation, alleviate muscle tension, and enhance overall well-being, providing a holistic approach to healing and rejuvenation.

Massage and body therapies are an integral part of traditional medicine in many cultures, including Bali. These therapies have been practiced for centuries and are believed to promote physical, mental, and spiritual well-being. In Bali, traditional massage and body therapies are commonly used to address various health concerns and provide relaxation.

Here are some examples of traditional Balinese massage and body therapies:
  • Balinese Massage: Balinese massage is a popular traditional therapy that combines techniques from various cultural influences, including Indian, Chinese, and Indonesian practices. It involves a combination of deep tissue massage, stretching, and acupressure to relieve muscle tension, improve blood circulation, and promote overall relaxation.
  • Urut: Urut is a traditional Balinese massage technique that focuses on specific areas of the body to stimulate the flow of energy and restore balance. It involves firm and rhythmic movements using the hands, thumbs, and sometimes elbows or feet. Urut is often used to address specific ailments, such as muscle pain, joint stiffness, and fatigue.
  • Boreh: Boreh is a traditional herbal body treatment that uses a blend of natural ingredients, including herbs, spices, and rice powder. The mixture is applied to the body and gently massaged, providing warmth and promoting circulation. Boreh is commonly used to alleviate muscle and joint pain, improve digestion, and enhance the immune system.
  • Lulur: Lulur is a traditional body scrub that involves exfoliating the skin using a paste made from natural ingredients like rice powder, turmeric, and herbs. The scrub helps to remove dead skin cells, rejuvenate the skin, and promote a healthy glow. Lulur is often followed by a relaxing massage or bath to complete the treatment.
  • Balinese Aromatherapy: Balinese aromatherapy combines the benefits of massage with the use of essential oils derived from local plants and flowers. The oils are applied to the body during the massage, providing relaxation, stress relief, and aromatic benefits. Different oils are selected based on their therapeutic properties and the desired effect.

These traditional massage and body therapies are deeply rooted in Balinese culture and are often passed down through generations. They are believed to not only address physical ailments but also restore harmony and balance to the body, mind, and spirit. When seeking traditional massage and body therapies, it’s important to choose trained practitioners who have a deep understanding of the techniques and the cultural significance behind them.

The Art and Benefits of Balinese Massage: Unveiling the Healing Tradition

Traditional rituals and ceremonies

Balinese traditional medicine often incorporates rituals and ceremonies that are believed to cleanse and purify the body and spirit, promoting overall well-being and healing.

Traditional rituals and ceremonies are an integral part of traditional medicine practices in many cultures, including Bali. These rituals and ceremonies are performed to support and enhance the healing process and to establish a connection with the spiritual realm.

Purification from Hindu Priest to Ramayana Kecak Dancers (2)
Ramayana Kecak Dancers were blessed and purified by the Hindu Priest before performing at Uluwatu Temple’s Amphitheater, Bali. Johannnindito Adisuryo (Yohanes Nindito Adisuryo), CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Here are some examples of traditional rituals and ceremonies associated with traditional medicine:
  • Blessing Ceremonies: Before the initiation of any healing treatment or remedy, a blessing ceremony may be conducted. This ceremony involves prayers, offerings, and the invocation of spiritual forces to seek divine blessings and assistance in the healing process.
  • Cleansing Rituals: Cleansing rituals are performed to purify the body, mind, and spirit of an individual. These rituals can involve the use of holy water, herbs, or sacred objects, and may be conducted by a traditional healer or a priest.
  • Sacred Offerings: Offerings are an essential part of traditional medicine rituals. They are made to honor the spirits, deities, or ancestors and to seek their assistance in the healing process. Offerings can include flowers, fruits, food, incense, and other symbolic items.
  • Divination Practices: Divination is often used in traditional medicine to gain insights into the root causes of illness or imbalances. This can involve various methods such as reading signs in natural elements, interpreting dreams, or using sacred objects for guidance.
  • Chanting and Mantras: Chanting and recitation of sacred mantras are common in traditional medicine rituals. These vocalizations are believed to have spiritual power and can create a positive energy field that supports healing and well-being.
  • Sacred Dances and Performances: In some cultures, traditional dances and performances are incorporated into healing rituals. These dances serve as a form of communication with the spiritual realm and are believed to invoke healing energies and promote balance.
  • Fire Ceremonies: Fire ceremonies are performed to purify and transform negative energies. They involve the lighting of a sacred fire, prayers, and offerings to release and transmute any spiritual or energetic imbalances.

Traditional rituals and ceremonies play a significant role in traditional medicine practices as they address not only the physical aspect of healing but also the spiritual and energetic dimensions. They create a sacred space and facilitate a connection between the individual, the healer, and the spiritual realm, promoting holistic well-being and restoration.

Bratan Bali Indonesia Balinese-family-after-Puja-01
Bratan, Bali, Indonesia: Balinese family after the Hindu worship service (“puja”) in Pura Ulun Danu Bratan. The wet rice grains on the foreheads are called “Bija”, meaning “God has blessed us”. Photo by CEphoto, Uwe Aranas (CC BY-SA 3.0) via Wikimedia Commons

Energy healing

Balinese traditional medicine also encompasses energy healing practices, such as Balinese traditional healing known as “Usada Bali.” It involves the manipulation of energy flow to restore balance and promote healing on physical, emotional, and spiritual levels.

Bali Energy Healing is a traditional healing practice that focuses on restoring balance and harmony to the body, mind, and spirit. It is based on the belief that energy flows through the body and any imbalances or blockages in this energy can lead to physical, emotional, or spiritual ailments.

Here are some examples of Bali Energy Healing practices:
  • Balinese Traditional Healing: Balinese traditional healers, known as “Balian,” use various techniques to diagnose and treat energy imbalances. These techniques may include intuitive readings, herbal remedies, body manipulations, and energy clearing rituals. The healer works to restore the flow of energy and promote healing on all levels.
  • Usada Bali: Usada Bali is a system of traditional healing in Bali that combines ancient wisdom and natural remedies. It utilizes herbs, plants, prayers, mantras, and energy work to address physical, emotional, and spiritual imbalances. People often seek Usada Bali for ailments such as chronic illnesses, emotional distress, and spiritual blockages.
  • Reiki: Reiki is a popular energy healing technique that has gained popularity worldwide. It involves the practitioner channeling universal life force energy through their hands to the recipient, promoting relaxation, stress reduction, and overall well-being. Practitioners often use Reiki to balance the energy centers in the body, known as chakras.
  • Sound Healing: Sound healing is a practice that utilizes the vibrations and frequencies of sound to restore balance and harmony. In Bali, sound healing sessions utilize traditional musical instruments such as the gamelan, gongs, and chanting. Practitioners believe that the resonant tones and rhythms of these instruments actively heal the body, mind, and spirit.
  • Meditation and Mindfulness: Meditation and mindfulness practices are integral to Bali’s spiritual traditions. These practices help individuals connect with their inner selves, cultivate awareness, and tap into their own healing energy. They can be practiced individually or guided by experienced practitioners.

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Bali Energy Healing practices aim to address imbalances at a holistic level, considering the interconnectedness of the body, mind, and spirit. They are often sought to promote overall well-being, relieve stress, release emotional traumas, and enhance spiritual growth. It’s important to consult with trained practitioners who have a deep understanding of these healing techniques and their cultural significance in Bali.

Balian Bali medicine

Westerners come to Bali in search of healing but also of reconciliation with their soul. Balian Bali Medicine refers to the traditional healing practices and beliefs of the Balinese people in Bali, Indonesia. Balian, also known as traditional healers or shamans, play a vital role in the Balinese community, providing spiritual guidance and healing to individuals who seek their assistance.

Here are some key aspects of Balian Bali Medicine:
  • Spiritual and Energetic Healing: Balian Bali Medicine recognizes the connection between the physical body, mind, and spirit. Balian work with the belief that illness and imbalances can be caused by spiritual disharmony or disruptions in the flow of energy. They employ various methods to diagnose and treat these spiritual and energetic imbalances.
  • Intuitive Diagnosis: Balian use their intuition and spiritual connection to diagnose the root causes of ailments. They may perform rituals, conduct divination practices, or communicate with the spirit world to gain insights into the individual’s condition.
  • Herbal Remedies: Herbal remedies play a significant role in Balian Bali Medicine. Balian utilize a wide range of medicinal plants, roots, leaves, and other natural ingredients to create herbal concoctions or traditional medicines to address specific health issues. These remedies are believed to have healing properties and are often combined with prayers and rituals.
  • Rituals and Offerings: Balian perform rituals and ceremonies to restore balance and harmony. These rituals may involve offerings, prayers, chanting, and other sacred practices. The purpose is to connect with the spiritual realm and seek divine assistance in the healing process.
  • Energy Clearing and Balancing: Balian may use techniques such as energy clearing and balancing to remove blockages and restore the free flow of energy within the body. This can involve hands-on healing, energy manipulation, or the use of sacred objects.

Balian Bali Medicine is deeply rooted in the Balinese culture and belief system. It combines elements of spirituality, natural remedies, and ancient wisdom to promote healing and well-being. Balian are highly respected members of the community, and their services are sought for various ailments, both physical and spiritual. It’s important to note that while Balian Bali Medicine has been effective for many individuals, it should not replace professional medical advice, and seeking proper medical care is essential for serious or acute health conditions.

The 3 main types of Balians

The first type is the balian ketakson which acts as a channel between God and the patient. They invoke the spirit of a deceased person, and convey information to the family about the types of offerings needed for cremations and other ceremonies. They can also, via this means of communication with the divine, give life advice to populations or locate missing objects. Most Balian women are Ketakson Balians.

A second type is Balian Paica who is a medium. He receives physical objects that appear and disappear spontaneously and are used during healing sessions. “One day I saw a kriss* materialize during meditation, standing on its point and rotating”. The object may be ordinary and unattractive. These ritual objects appear and disappear on their own, and can manifest for up to five years.

Then, the person who, at the start, has the clear intention of becoming Balian, and for that follows the appropriate teaching, or the one who receives divine knowledge during a serious illness, is a Usada Balian. These people decide to pursue their knowledge by studying the lontars (sacred texts) with recognized healers. Lontars, thousands of ancient texts in Kawi (Old Javanese) script, contain information on ethics, anatomy, traditional herbs, meditation, yoga, tantra, and other topics. The Balian studies both white and black magick, which are very similar except in the intent of the practitioner.

Spa and Massage Treatments in Bali at Private Pool Villa Carissa, Seminyak Centre

Healers in Bali

Traditional healers play an important role in Balinese culture. They treat physical and mental illnesses, eliminate bad spells and transmit information from ancestors and spirits. The Balian is an instrument of divine healing, and the patient enters into a covenant with the Gods to receive this healing with respect, reverence and humility.

Medical diagnosis involves magic and an animistic worldview of Bali, where spirits permeate reality. Understanding healing practices in Bali requires an exploration of this worldview. The concept of healer (balian in Balinese, dukun in Indonesian) is broad, with practitioners ranging from traditional healers of the body or mental illnesses to bonesetters, massage therapists, mediums and clairvoyants. There are about four times as many Balians as doctors. They are at the forefront of community health, and Balinese often visit the Balian before going to see the doctor for conventional treatment. Balians have to specialize in a particular area, and often in a specific type of disease, such as skin diseases or muscle problems.

Balinese Priests

There are three categories of priests in Bali. Balians treat mental or physical problems, so they are healers, doctors, while priests take care of religious services and homage to the Gods. They are the guarantors of universal balance and the guardians of religion.

The pedanda or high priest

Often himself the son of a pedanda, is always a Brahman, that is to say a Balinese belonging to the upper caste. The spirit of caste is deeply rooted in the Balinese spirit. The names of members of the same caste always begin with the same particle and say a lot about their social and family position. Each caste has its own language and different dialects to address other castes.

There are four castes:

  • Brahmans: religious men.
  • Satria: warriors, holders of temporal power.
  • Wesia: civil servants of the kingdom.
  • Sudra: peasants and fishermen, who represent more than 90% of the population.

To become a priest, the pedanda must pass an initiation. From childhood, he undergoes preparations for his new functions through studies and the obligation of exemplary conduct, under the guidance of a master whose word holds authority and truth.

Main role of pedanda

The main role of the pedanda is to prepare holy water (tirta), which plays an essential role in Balinese religion, earning it the name “agama tirta,” the religion of holy water. This water is used for blessing temples, the faithful during prayer, and consecrated objects. Sometimes also, when buying a car or a scooter, families will bless their new acquisition with holy water.

To prepare this holy water, the pedanda washes his hands while pronouncing mantras (sacred phrases), then practices for a certain time breaths resulting from the practice of yoga. He consecrates the water for the first time by throwing flowers into it, inviting Shiva and his sanctifying force to enter it. A second blessing of water follows, during which the priest will be invested by Shiva and will recite prayers. The pedanda also officiates during major ceremonies, especially for princely families: weddings, cremations…

Pemangku. Ceremonial Leader
The ceremonial Leader (Pemangku) was giving prayers. Yande Artha, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Pemangku (priest of the popular religion)

The second category is that of the pemangku, priest of the popular religion; he can belong to any caste. He is the guardian of the temple and the head of its rites, as well as of the ceremonial specific to this or that temple. It is not an initiate, unlike the pedanda. The gods can designate it, for example by the mouth of a person in a trance, or by disease with “non-medical” causes for which a shaman will say that his only remedy is to accept becoming pemangku.

The status of pemangku is not really sought after. He does not earn his living with this function, but must respect many constraints which radically change his daily life: food prohibitions, loss of the role of head of the family relegated to the eldest son, prohibition to take part in human occupations such as manual labor, card games, or discussions on impure subjects etc… Some pemangku are very erudite but much less than the pedanda, who are clearly superior to them. The functions of the pemangkus bring them much closer to the people because they officiate during the many family ceremonies or in the village temples.

Sengguhu is responsible for rituals related to the underworld

Finally, the sengguhu is responsible for rituals related to the underworld. He plays my role of exorcist. All the sacrifices to the lower world are his responsibility, and he maintains a special relationship with Vishnu. It is undoubtedly a remnant of the ancient Vishnuite religion which no longer exists in Bali today.

The underworld, known as “Patala” in Balinese mythology, is a realm inhabited by supernatural beings, spirits, and ancestral souls. It is believed to be a realm of both darkness and light, where balance and harmony are crucial.

Sengguhu is revered as a guide and mediator in conducting rituals that connect the living with the underworld. Through intricate ceremonies, offerings, and chants, Sengguhu facilitates communication and seeks blessings and protection from the spiritual entities residing in the underworld.

The rituals conducted by Sengguhu often involve offerings of food, flowers, and other sacred items. Chants and prayers are recited to invoke the presence of ancestral spirits and seek their guidance and blessings. These rituals are deeply rooted in Balinese cultural and religious beliefs, reflecting the island’s rich spiritual heritage.

The presence of Sengguhu in these rituals adds a layer of sacredness and reverence, as they possess the knowledge and understanding of the underworld and its mystical inhabitants. They act as a conduit between the physical and spiritual realms, facilitating a harmonious connection and ensuring the well-being and protection of the community.

The Balinese priest
The Balinese priest is preparing for the ceremony. Eka Suryawan, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

How is recovery envisaged?

Environmental factors, as the Balinese perceive them, are an important part of healing. First, the Balinese being animists, the physical environment perceived by them is not just the physical world we know. It is filled with spirits that can help or harm, and are effective in both functions.

On the other hand, the outer, the macrocosm, is simply a mirror of the inner world, the microcosm. The connections between the human body and the world as a whole play out on a grand scale. Not only does internal balance reflect the balance of external forces and vice versa, but the physical body – with its tripartite composition of head, body and feet – is a microcosm of tripartite nature, which the found in the structure of temples and family dwellings.

An imbalance between the microcosm and the macrocosm

An imbalance between the microcosm and the macrocosm can link a physical or mental dysfunction to the tripartite representation found in each village (housing space, work space, temple space), the island of Bali (beaches, rice fields, volcano), and even the three parts of the nature of the cosmos with the upper world, the middle world, and the lower world.
It is difficult to answer the question: “Can the patient be asked to modify something in his personal behavior?”. It really depends on the case, let’s say that the balian can reproach the patient for not practicing the daily religious rituals enough. He will advise him to redouble his attention to the gods who conscientiously make offerings every day.

Second, the social environment is fundamental. The individual is defined in terms of their relationship to others, and therefore one cannot view illness or healing as a purely personal or individual phenomenon. Most often the whole family comes together with the patient and discusses with the balian the problems, the illness and what needs to be done for recovery.

Thus, we can put the disease back in its natural and social environment, understand its cause and why it can be cured. This is an important part of healing in Bali as in other traditional societies.

The origins of Balinese healing

There are four influences behind Balinese healing practices:

  • The first is the Hindu tradition, a vision of the world that is more philosophical than practical.
  • The second influence comes from Buddhism, as there were once Buddhist practices in Bali. Medically, Buddhism treats disease through surgical intrusion, and has tantric influences centered on magical elements and formulas.
  • The third came from China and its traditional medicine of energies, although this influence is found more in the use of the sacred book, called lontar, than in the direct contact of the Balian with the patient.
  • Finally, indigenous peoples have always practiced a magical and practical form of medicine from the animist tradition, which has been incorporated into lontar magick. With all these influences, it is obvious that there can be no unified medical system!

MEDICINES IN BALI | Preparing for your trip to Bali

Does Balinese traditional medicine work?

Balinese traditional medicine, rooted in Bali’s cultural heritage, has been used for centuries. While many believe in its efficacy and have positive experiences, individual results can vary.

This holistic approach aims to balance the mind, body, and spirit using natural ingredients and traditional therapies. The effectiveness depends on factors like the specific ailment, practitioner expertise, overall health, and individual response. It’s advised to consult trained practitioners or healthcare professionals for proper diagnosis and treatment.

While there is anecdotal evidence and cultural belief in Balinese traditional medicine, scientific studies may be limited. It’s important to exercise caution and not rely solely on traditional remedies for serious conditions. It is crucial to consult with healthcare professionals / doctor and seek their expert advice when considering traditional medicine as a complementary option for treatment and under guidance.

Ultimately, the effectiveness of Balinese traditional medicine varies. Informed decisions and consultations with healthcare professionals are essential for personalized treatment.

Sources: ScienceDirect, National Library of Medicine, International Journal of Social Science Research and Review

Photo credit: deborahkbates via Pixabay

Where: Pura Tirta Empul is a Balinese Hindu temple located in the village of Tampaksiring, central Bali, Indonesia. The temple is known for its sacred spring water, which is believed to have purifying and healing properties. The name “Tirta Empul” translates to “holy water spring” in the Balinese language.

Best Temples in Bali | You need to visit one of them at least once during your stay in Bali


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Located in Seminyak Center – Bali, Villa Carissa offers a private swimming pool and enclosed garden to guarantee your privacy. You can book your private pool villa here with us.

Whether you’re traveling with family, friends, or on a romantic getaway, villa Carissa in Seminyak center offers the perfect base for exploring Bali’s many attractions and enjoying a relaxing vacation.

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Villa Carissa in Seminyak Center

Exploring the Vibrant Artistry of Famous Balinese Paintings

Balinese paintings are a captivating and integral part of Bali’s rich cultural heritage. The famous Balinese paintings known for their vibrant colors, intricate details, and spiritual themes, these artworks offer a glimpse into the island’s artistic traditions and religious beliefs. Let’s dive into the world of Balinese paintings and discover the beauty they hold.

The art of painting has a long history in Bali, with influences from Hinduism and local mythology. Artists in Bali often depict scenes from ancient epics, traditional rituals, folklore, and the island’s breathtaking landscapes. One of the unique aspects of Balinese paintings is the use of intricate brushwork, delicate lines, and vibrant pigments that create a visually stunning effect.

Traditional Balinese paintings

The “kamasan” style, often seen in palace paintings, depicts the lives of mythical characters and patrons or their ancestors. The “Pita Maha” or “School of Ubud,” supported by Walter Spies and Rudolf Bonnet in the 1930s, revitalized Balinese art by providing opportunities for talented artists and sparking a surge in artistic production. These paintings typically portray everyday life scenes in a simple and straightforward manner.

Balinese Cockfighting
Traditional Balinese painting depicting cockfighting, by I Ketut Ginarsa. I ketut ginarsa, Copyrighted free use, via Wikimedia Commons

1920: the renaissance of Balinese painting

But it will be necessary to wait until the 1920s to really witness a renaissance of Balinese painting, when the artistic community Pita Maha was created, by both Balinese and Europeans. These influenced the former by encouraging them to explore new subjects, new techniques and new materials, and enabled them to distribute their works to a Western clientele in demand of exotic art.

Among the European artists who have played a major role, we can cite Rudolf Bonnet (Dutch), Walter Spies (German), and A.J le Mayeur (Belgian). The most famous Balinese painter, who distinguished himself during this period, is I Gusti Nyoman Lempad, also known as a sculptor and architect of great talent.

COLLECTIE TROPENMUSEUM De Belgische schilder Le Mayeur de Merprès met zijn vrouw en model Ni Pollok TMnr 10029733
The Belgian painter Le Majeur with his model Ni Pollock, Bali. Tropenmuseum, part of the National Museum of World Cultures, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Western influence

Balinese paintings is certainly the artistic field where western influence has been strongest. With the arrival of Western artists (in the course of the 20s and 30s) coincides the appearance of the concept of painting as pure and sought-after art as such, which can, moreover, be the subject of a sale! There are several schools of Balinese paintings.

The Dutch painter Arie Smit, who arrived in Bali in 1956, developed a particular style, promoting the talent of young artists, sometimes even children, to whom he provided technical advice and the necessary material, without trying to influence their inspiration. The result is a naive style, depicting rural scenes in shimmering colors…

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Different schools or styles of Balinese Ppaintings

Let’s delve deeper into the world of Balinese paintings and discover the different schools or styles that contribute to their diversity.

Ubud School

The Ubud School of painting is one of the most well-known and influential styles in Bali. It emerged in the early 20th century and is characterized by its meticulous attention to detail, realistic figures, and depictions of traditional Balinese themes such as village life, dance, and mythology. Artists like I Gusti Nyoman Lempad and I Gusti Made Deblog have made significant contributions to this school.

Romualdo Locatelli - Legong Dancer
Locatelli, who had always excelled at painting children, also made a memorable paintings of Legong Dance. Considered the most classical and elegant of all Balinese dances, Legong is a complicated dance that is performed by girls not more than 8 years old. Locatelli’s 1939 canvas, “Legong Dancer,” now a highlight of the newly established Museum Pasifika, is considered a late Orientalist masterpiece: a sharp-eyed depiction of Asian culture seen through a Westerner’s eyes. In some respects, the “Legong Dancer” is reminiscent of the painter Degas’ depictions of young women enduring the rigors of ballet training. Museum Pasifika, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Famous artists Ubud style

Ubud artists continuing the Pitamaha tradition include Ida Bagus Sena, A.A Gede Anom Sukawati, I Ketut Budiana, I Nyoman Kayun, and I Nyoman Meja. I Ketut Budiana’s artworks have been exhibited extensively and can be found in prestigious institutions like Fukuoka Museum of Arts, Bentara Budaya Jakarta, Museum Puri Lukisan, Neka Museum, and Arma Museum.

Supernatural Transformation

Ida Bagus Putu Sena has developed a unique style infused with Balinese philosophy, while Anom Sukawati is renowned as Bali’s most accomplished colorist. Meja’s artistic style has influenced many of his students, and Nyoman Kayun was honored with the Bali Bangkit award in 2008.

I Ketut Budiana (1950- ), "Rakasa Kalarau Menyerang Dewi Ratih," 1974, detail

Batuan School

The Batuan School of painting originated in the village of Batuan, known for its traditional arts. This style is characterized by its bold brushwork, strong lines, and dark, earthy colors. Batuan paintings often depict religious and mythological subjects, showcasing the artists’ deep connection to their cultural and spiritual roots.

COLLECTIE TROPENMUSEUM Het bewerken van de sawa TMnr 3525-23
A typical painting from Batuan by a local artist, around 1940. A number of people work the rice field with heels (pacul), while others drive water buffaloes with a kind of plow. Still others are busy setting out the young rice plants (bibit). There are ducks under a white flag pole. The water buffaloes have a basket around their mouth to prevent them from eating from the rice field. On the back is the name of the painter and the place of origin: Batoean Gianjar (Batuan Gianyar). Furthermore, a pencil drawing of the same plow can be seen as the one on the front. Tropenmuseum, part of the National Museum of World Cultures, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Today, Batuan paintings typically feature intricate details, vibrant colors, and dense compositions. Artists often depict religious and mythological themes, showcasing the rich cultural heritage of Bali.

With their meticulous brushwork and traditional techniques, Batuan painters create visually captivating artworks that continue to captivate art enthusiasts worldwide.

Busy Bali, Detail

Famouse Balinese paintings school for Batuan artists

Notable Batuan artists from this period include I Nyoman Patera (1900-1935), I Tombos (b. 1917), Ida Bagus Togog (1913-1989), Ida Bagus Made Jatasura (1917-1946), Ida Bagus Ketut Diding (1914-1990), I Made Djata (1920-2001), and Ida Bagus Widja (1912-1992).

The Pitamaha spirit lives on through contemporary Batuan artists like I Made Budi, I Wayan Bendi (b. 1950), I Ketut Murtika (b. 1952), I Made Sujendra (b. 1964), among others.

Paintings by I Made Budi and I Wayan Bendi depict the impact of tourism on Balinese life, showing tourists engaging in traditional village activities alongside modern elements. I Ketut Murtika continues to create intricate artworks portraying the traditional stories of Mahabharata and Ramayana, demonstrating his expertise in local legends and meticulous attention to detail.

Seni Lukis Batuan
This Batuan painting style has a solid characteristic and leaves almost no empty space. The techniques of this painting are sketching, Nyawi (drawing) to sharpen the lines of the pencil, Nguntur to distinguish far from near objects. Then Sigar to split the painting line. Then there are motifs such as batik and coloring. The work can take up to one to two months. Paco Pater, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

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Sanur School

The Sanur painting style is a distinctive artistic tradition that originated in the coastal village of Sanur in Bali, Indonesia. It emerged in the early 20th century and is known for its vibrant colors, intricate details, and emphasis on capturing the beauty of nature, particularly landscapes and seascapes.

Sanur paintings often depict scenes of traditional Balinese life, including religious ceremonies, village activities, and daily rituals. The artists employ a combination of traditional Balinese techniques and modern influences, resulting in a unique fusion of styles.

Painting by Ida Bagus Nyoman Rai, Neka Museum, Ubud

Several notable artists have contributed to the development and popularity of the Sanur painting style. Here are a few examples: Major artists from Sanur are I Gusti Made Rundu, Ida Bagus Nyoman Rai, Ida Bagus Made Pugug and I Soekaria.

These artists, along with many others, have played a pivotal role in shaping the Sanur painting style and establishing its reputation as a unique and captivating form of Balinese art.

Keliki School

The Keliki School of painting is distinguished by its miniature size and intricate details. Artists from the village of Keliki create delicate paintings on small canvases, depicting scenes from everyday life, nature, and Balinese folklore. The precise brushwork and meticulous attention to detail make these paintings truly remarkable.

The paintings typically depict scenes from Balinese mythology, folklore, and daily life, showcasing the rich cultural heritage of the region.

Terbakarnya Lontar, Museum Puri Lukisan
Terbakarnya Lontar (Burning Lontar) by I Gusti Ketut Kobot, 1958, Museum Puri Lukisan. Pinerineks, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Keliki School paintings often feature elements such as lush landscapes, traditional Balinese architecture, flora, fauna, and the iconic figures of Balinese dance and ritual.

Famous artist from Reiky style

Prominent artists from the Keliki Artist School include Sang Ketut Mandera (Dolit), I Ketut Sana, I Wayan Surana, I Lunga, I Made Widi, I Wayan Nengah, I Made Ocen, Gong Juna, I Wayan Lanus, I Wayan Lodra, Ida Bagus Putra, Gusti Ngurah Putra Riong, and more.

Bali Arts Festival in Denpasar | The Biggest Annual Cultural Event in Bali

Young Artists’ School

In recent years, a new generation of artists has emerged in Bali, blending traditional techniques with contemporary styles and themes. The Young Artists’ School showcases the innovative and experimental spirit of Balinese art. These artists often incorporate elements of pop art, street art, and abstract expressionism, creating vibrant and thought-provoking works.

Bali-Taxi-by-Tom-Franz
1996. The Bukit Peninsula. A full moon party is winding up before the sun reminds us of another day. We grab a taxi, but hit a queue at the airport road. Then these guys appear, scrambling over the top of our bonnet, trying to restrain Hanuman, who apparently was making a monkey out of them. Honest! Tom Franz Art, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons. Visit his website: https://www.tomfranzart.com

The Young Artists’ painting style in Bali represents a fresh and contemporary approach to traditional Balinese art. Emerging artists, often inspired by their cultural heritage and surroundings, bring a modern perspective to their creations. The Young Artists’ style is characterized by bold colors, dynamic compositions, and experimental techniques.

I Ketut Soki (1942- ), "Cremation Ceremony" detail

These artists embrace various mediums, including acrylics, oils, and mixed media, to express their unique artistic visions. The artworks exude a sense of vibrancy, energy, and creativity, reflecting the evolving artistic landscape in Bali. With their innovative and expressive techniques, the Young Artists’ paintings offer a captivating glimpse into the evolving art scene in Bali.

Prominent artists from the Young Artist style

Prominent artists from the Young Artist School include I Wayan Pugur, I Ketut Soki, I Ngurah KK, I Nyoman Londo, I Ketut Tagen, M D Djaga, I Nyoman Cakra, Ni Ketut Gampil, I Nyoman Mundik, I Wayan Regug, and more.

バリ絵画8242202
Bali paintings. 関西画像創庫, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Traditional Wayang School

Wayang, the traditional shadow puppetry of Indonesia, has had a profound influence on Balinese paintings. Artists skilled in the art of wayang painting create intricate and stylized images of characters from Hindu epics and mythology.

The Traditional Wayang painting style is rich in symbolism and carries deep cultural significance. Each character and element depicted in the paintings represents specific virtues, moral lessons, or mythological concepts. In Balinese art, the character of Rama from the Ramayana represents righteousness and duty, contrasting with the demon king Ravana who embodies evil forces. The elaborate patterns and motifs found in costumes and backgrounds in Balinese art carry symbolic meanings rooted in Balinese mythology and spirituality.

I Gusti Nyoman Lempad Ramayana
I Gusti Nyoman Lempad “Ramayana” 1960, Ink on paper 30×41 cm. Museum Pasifika, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

These paintings often feature bold lines, vibrant colors, and a sense of dramatic storytelling.

Kerta Gosa, Ramayana Scene, Bali 1544
Kerta Gosa, Ramayana Scene, Bali 1544. Meganada’s serpent. Bale Kambang, Taman Gili. Semarapura, Bali.
In this scene from the Ramayana, the demon Meganada (son of Ravana) has shot a deadly arrow at Rama that turned into a dragon and wrapped the hero in its coils. Eventually Rama was freed by the help of Garuda, Vishnu’s mount. Michael Gunther, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Geometric-abstractionism

I Made Wianta (20 December 1949 – 13 November 2020) was a painting artist known in the realm of modern art. Made is a graduate of the Yogyakarta Art Institute of Indonesia. In 1976, he studied European art in Brussels, Belgium, as well as visiting art galleries and museums.

Made has participated in various international exhibitions such as in New York, Paris and Tokyo. However, the most famous is his participation in the Biennale in Venice in 2003. Made is an artist known for his love of reading, especially in the field of philosophy which led him to Nietzsche’s philosophy of Buddhism and Nihilism. Apart from his reading field, the artist in Made is also reflected in the agrarian tradition in his native land, Bali.

my dad's painting collection by wianta (i made wianta) ©2012 #wianta #madewianta #painting #lukisan #beautiful #art #bali #artist #paint #painting #paintings #drawing #drawings #markers #ink #creative #sketch #arte #dibujo #artwork #illustration #color #c

His work has been documented in several books, including Made Wianta (1990), Made Wianta: Universal Balinese Artist (1999), Made Wianta: Art and Peace (2000), and Wild Dogs in Bali: The Art of Made Wianta (2005). Made Wianta also displayed several collections of his works at The Neka Museum in Ubud, Bali.

Museums in Bali | Explore the Island’s Rich Cultural and Artistic Heritage

Conclusion

As you explore the art galleries and museums in Bali, you will encounter a diverse range of Balinese paintings influenced by these different schools. Each style carries its own unique charm and reflects the artistic evolution of the island over the years.

The beauty of Balinese paintings lies not only in their visual appeal but also in the stories they tell and the emotions they evoke. These artworks are a reflection of the island’s cultural identity and serve as a bridge between the past and the present. Whether you are a seasoned art enthusiast or a curious traveler, exploring Balinese paintings is a journey that will leave a lasting impression.

Today there are a good number of micro-communities of artists in Bali exploring different paths and sometimes criticizing each other quite violently, whose heterogeneous works are sometimes disconcerting, but there is no doubt that among them are waiting to be discovered, when they are not are not already exhibited in art galleries in New York, Singapore, Tokyo or…Paris.

So, when you visit Bali, take the time to immerse yourself in the world of Balinese paintings. Appreciate the skill and craftsmanship behind each artwork, and let the stories and cultural significance captivate you. Balinese paintings are not just beautiful creations; they are windows into the artistic soul of Bali’s artistic heritage.

Photo credit (main picture): The National Museums of World Culture, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons. References: http://collections.smvk.se/carlotta-vkm/web/object/103515 and Google Arts & Culture asset IDPQEnDpQYA74ZTQ

Museums in Bali | Explore the Island’s Rich Cultural and Artistic Heritage


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Balinese Kris: Types, Symbolism, and Where to Find Them

The Balinese Kris, also known as Keris, is an iconic and culturally significant weapon in Bali. It holds a prominent place in Balinese folklore, rituals, and traditional ceremonies. The Kris is not just a weapon; it is considered a sacred object that embodies spiritual and mystical qualities.

Exploring the captivating world of Balinese Kris. Delve into their diverse types, symbolic meanings, and experience the allure of these extraordinary blades as you connect with the enchanting culture of Bali.

The Balinese Kris is a distinctive dagger with a wavy blade that represents the cosmic forces of nature. Its intricate design reflects the artistic craftsmanship and deep symbolism embedded within Balinese culture. Each Kris is meticulously handcrafted, featuring elaborate carvings, precious metals, and gemstones.

COLLECTIE TROPENMUSEUM Kris met schede versierd met demonenkop TMnr A-5863
Balinese Kris with case or scabbard, decorated with demon head. Tropenmuseum, part of the National Museum of World Cultures, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The noble value of a keris

Originally, the Keris was a traditional weapon, but its significance has extended far beyond its martial origins. The Keris holds various roles and symbolic meanings in Balinese culture. It is revered as a sacred item, an object of worship, a symbol of family ties, a mark of service and position, a luxurious item, and a remarkable work of art. It encompasses the disciplines of forging, carving, sculpture, form, and symbolism, making it a masterpiece of craftsmanship.

Keris is made primarily as an heirloom or sipat kandel, which is believed to protect and ensure the owner’s safety and well-being. Indonesian keris has been recognized as a World Heritage by UNESCO in 2005. This is based on the invisible value that exists on a keris. For example aspects of philosophy, symbols, history, traditions and others that are not owned by other sharp weapons from around the world.

This recognition is due to the intrinsic and intangible values embedded within the Keris. Its philosophy, symbols, history, traditions, and other unique aspects set it apart from other sharp weapons found around the world.

Whether displayed as a treasured artifact or worn as a symbol of prestige and protection, the Keris serves as a powerful reminder of the noble values and profound traditions that shape Balinese culture. Its beauty and historical significance continue to captivate collectors, enthusiasts, and those who appreciate the intricacies of Balinese artistry.

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Mythology and history

The Kris holds a special place in Balinese mythology and history. It is believed to possess supernatural powers and protect its owner from evil spirits. The blade of the Kris is often associated with mythical creatures, deities, and ancestral spirits, further adding to its mystique.

Beyond its ceremonial and symbolic significance, the Kris is also appreciated as a work of art. Collectors and enthusiasts value the craftsmanship, rarity, and historical importance of antique Kris blades. These intricate weapons are sought after for their beauty, cultural significance, and the stories they hold.

Local culture

In Bali, the Kris continues to be revered and cherished. It is often displayed in temples, royal palaces, and cultural exhibitions. The ritualistic use of the Kris in traditional Balinese dances and ceremonies further highlights its importance in the local culture.

COLLECTIE TROPENMUSEUM Portret van een aanzienlijke man met kris op Bali TMnr 10003680
Balinese wearing a kriss (1910-1920). Tropenmuseum, part of the National Museum of World Cultures, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Balinese Kris serves as a tangible link to Bali’s rich history, traditions, and spiritual beliefs. It symbolizes strength, honor, and protection. Its captivating design and deep-rooted cultural significance make it a truly remarkable artifact.

Whether admired for its artistic beauty or revered for its spiritual significance, the Balinese Kris stands as a testament to the artistic and cultural heritage of Bali. It invites us to explore the captivating world of Balinese traditions, rituals, and the intricate craftsmanship that has been passed down through generations.

As you delve into the realm of Balinese culture, take a moment to appreciate the timeless allure of the Balinese Kris and the stories it carries from the past into the present.

Balische kris, AK-MAK-279
Kris between 1500 and 1900. Place of manufacture: Bali. Description: Kris, steel blade, wooden scabbard and housing, ivory handle. Crosspiece is painted. One side with flowers and arabesques, the other side with figures. Rijksmuseum, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

Types of Balinese Kris

The Balinese Kris comes in different types, each with its own distinct characteristics. Some notable types include:

  1. Luk (bend) or Straight Kris: This type features a straight blade with minimal curvature, known for its simplicity and elegance, , showcasing the Balinese craftsmanship in its purest form.
  2. Miring or Wavy Kris: This is the most common type of Balinese Kris, characterized by its distinctive wavy blade. The waves symbolize the cosmic forces of nature and are believed to enhance the spiritual and magical properties of the Kris.
  3. Ganja or Handle: The Kris handle, known as Ganja, is a work of art in itself. The handle of the Kris is intricately crafted and often showcases intricate carvings of mythological figures or sacred symbols.
  4. Pamor or Blade Patterns: The blade of the Kris is adorned with intricate patterns known as pamor. These patterns are created through a process of layering different types of iron and steel, resulting in stunning visual effects.
  5. Kris Naga: The Kris Naga features a wavy blade with intricate serpent-like patterns, representing the mythical Naga, a serpent or dragon often associated with water and fertility. It is considered a symbol of protection and prosperity.
  6. Kris Sajen: The Kris Sajen is not meant for combat. Instead, it is a ritualistic Kris used for offerings and ceremonies. It is adorned with various symbolic objects and materials, making it an essential tool for spiritual rituals.

COLLECTIE TROPENMUSEUM Kris met schede TMnr 2069-28
Kedutan (Kris), with holder. In the island of Bali it is called kadutan or kudutan. Keris is also called duwung, tappi, selle, gayang, kres, kris, karieh, and others.  Tropenmuseum, part of the National Museum of World Cultures, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Ceremonial Balinese kris

Ceremonial Balinese kris, the blade of which is made in pamor and contains 13 bends. The blade base is shaped like a lizard. The handle is made of gold and depicts the god Rawana, who holds a sword in his right hand. The handle is set with various stones of presumably colored glass. According to van Duuren, such krises with inlays of precious stones are royal krises.

The sheath is made of wood and is enclosed by a silver sheath, which also contains decorative stones on the top. In Bali, the kris has a sacred connotation, for it is secti, a manifestation of a cosmic force in specific form. Offerings are made before and during the forging of kris, and when the kris is finished it is consecrated by a small ritual. At set times the kris are worshiped in the privacy of the family.

The Balinese will never call his kris that; he refers to it as kedutan, “beauty of my girdle”.. Iron kris with golden ornaments and silver scabbard or case.

COLLECTIE TROPENMUSEUM IJzeren kris met gouden heft en zilveren schede TMnr 903-38
Iron kris with gold handle and silver socket or case. Tropenmuseum, part of the National Museum of World Cultures, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Bali Heritage, Culture and Traditions

Where to see and buy?

To explore the world of Balinese Kris, you can visit various cultural centers, museums, and art galleries in Bali. Places such as the Bali Museum in Denpasar, the Agung Rai Museum of Art in Ubud, and the Puri Lukisan Museum in Ubud showcase exquisite collections of Balinese Kris, providing insights into their history and significance.

If you wish to acquire a Balinese Kris for yourself, you can explore reputable antique shops, art markets, and specialized Kris galleries in Bali. These establishments offer a wide range of Kris blades, both antique and newly crafted, allowing you to find a piece that resonates with your interests and appreciation for Balinese culture.

It’s important to note that the Balinese Kris is not merely a decorative item but a culturally significant artifact. Therefore, when acquiring a Kris, it is advisable to seek guidance from knowledgeable experts or collectors to ensure authenticity and a deeper understanding of its cultural context.

COLLECTIE TROPENMUSEUM Krisdansers met Rangda tijdens een Barong dansvoorstelling TMnr 20018470
Barong dance performance with kris dancers and Rangda (the demon queen of the Leyaks in Bali, according to traditional Balinese mythology. Terrifying to behold, the child-eating Rangda leads an army of evil witches against the leader of the forces of good — Barong). Tropenmuseum, part of the National Museum of World Cultures, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Photo credit: Artist: Unknown author. Kriss between 15th century and 17th century in Historical Museum of Bern, CC BY-SA 2.0 FR, via Wikimedia Commons. Website: https://www.bhm.ch

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Have you booked your villa in Seminyak center?

Located in Seminyak Center – Bali, Villa Carissa offers a private swimming pool and enclosed garden to guarantee your privacy. You can book your private pool villa here with us.

Whether you’re traveling with family, friends, or on a romantic getaway, villa Carissa in Seminyak center offers the perfect base for exploring Bali’s many attractions and enjoying a relaxing vacation.

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Villa Carissa in Seminyak Center

https://www.ubudwritersfestival.com/Ubud Writers and Readers Festival

The Ubud Writers and Readers Festival is an important literary event that celebrates literature, culture, and ideas from around the world. It provides a platform for writers and readers to engage with. it is an annual 4-day literary festival held every October in Ubud.

The highly expected Ubud Writers & Readers Festival (UWRF) returns for its 18th year, from October 8 to 17, 2021. The theme of the festival will be Mulat Sarira, which translates as self- reflection. Around conferences, readings, films, exchanges, the festival will explore self-reflection, cultural introspection and human rights: examining who we are, what unites and divides us, and what motivates our actions.

The festival features a range of events such as book launches, panel discussions, poetry readings, writing workshops, and cultural performances. The event is held in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia, and has become one of the biggest literary events in Southeast Asia.

Ubud Writers & Readers Festival 2022 4
Ubud Writers & Readers Festival 2022. Yayasan Mudra Swari Saraswati, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Future dates Ubud Writers and Readers Festival (UWRF)

Here are the future dates for the Ubud Writers and Readers Festival:

  • 27-30 October 2022
  • 18-22 October 2023
  • 16-20 October 2024

Location

The Ubud Writers & Readers Festival is held at various venues in and around Ubud, Bali, Indonesia. The festival does not have a specific address as it takes place at different locations throughout the town. However, you can find more information about the festival, including the schedule and the venues, on their official website.

Contacts

Phone

Mobile: +62 812 4683 8459
Land line: +62 361 977408

Website

https://www.ubudwritersfestival.com/

Email
  • For Ticketing enquiries: ticketing@ubudwritersfestival.com
  • For Media enquires: press@yayasansaraswati.org
  • For Partnership Requests: partnership@yayasansaraswati.org
  • For general Inquiries: info@ubudwritersfestival.com
Address

Ubud Writers & Readers Festival
Taman Baca, Jl. Raya Sanggingan
Ubud, Bali, Indonesia 80571

History of the UWRF

The idea for the UWRF was conceived by Janet DeNeefe, an Australian writer and restaurateur who had been living in Ubud for several years.

DeNeefe recognized the potential for a literary festival in Ubud, which was already a popular destination for artists, writers, and other creative types. With the help of a small team of volunteers, DeNeefe launched the first Ubud Writers & Readers Festival in 2004.

The festival has since become one of the most highly anticipated cultural events in Bali, attracting thousands of visitors each year.

Highlights of the UWRF

The Ubud Writers & Readers Festival features a wide range of events, including author talks, panel discussions, writing workshops, book launches, film screenings, and more. Some of the highlights of the festival include:

Main Program

The main program features a lineup of established and emerging writers from Indonesia and around the world. They participate in panel discussions, readings, and interviews, providing insights into their work and the issues they explore.

Emerging Writers Program

The Emerging Writers Program is designed to support and showcase the work of up-and-coming writers from Southeast Asia and beyond. It includes writing workshops, mentoring sessions, and opportunities to present their work to a wider audience.

Food and Literary Events

As a renowned restaurateur, Janet DeNeefe has also incorporated food into the festival. The festival includes culinary events such as cooking demonstrations, food tastings, and literary-themed dinners.

Read also: Balinese food and specialties | Emblematic dishes not to be missed under any circumstances during your stay (Best Local Cuisine)

Fringe Events

The Fringe Events are an important part of the festival, featuring a wide range of cultural and creative events throughout Ubud. These events include art exhibitions, film screenings, music performances, and more.

Author talks

Visitors can hear from some of the most acclaimed writers and thinkers of our time, including Margaret Atwood, Hanif Kureishi, Salman Rushdie, and more.

Workshops

The festival offers a variety of writing workshops for aspiring writers and poets, as well as workshops on other topics such as journalism, publishing, and translation.

Cultural events

The UWRF is a celebration of Balinese culture as well as international literature, and visitors can enjoy traditional dance performances, music concerts, and other cultural events throughout the festival.

Book launches

The UWRF is a great opportunity to discover new books and authors, and visitors can attend book launches and signings by both local and international authors.

Importance of the UWRF

The Ubud Writers & Readers Festival is an important event for several reasons. First, it provides a platform for writers and thinkers to share their ideas, experiences, and stories with a diverse audience. The festival also fosters cross-cultural dialogue and understanding, as writers and readers from different countries and backgrounds come together to explore common themes and issues.

The UWRF also has an important role to play in promoting literacy and education. Through its workshops and other events, the festival inspires and empowers aspiring writers and readers, and encourages a love of learning and creativity.

Finally, the UWRF is a significant contributor to the local economy in Ubud and Bali more broadly. The festival attracts visitors from around the world, who in turn support local businesses such as hotels, restaurants, and shops.

Examples of the UWRF’s Impact

The Ubud Writers & Readers Festival has had a profound impact on the cultural and literary landscape of Bali and beyond. The festival has been instrumental in promoting cultural exchange, creativity, and literacy in Bali and beyond. Here are some examples of the UWRF’s impact:

Some of the festival’s notable achievements include:

Inspiring local writers

The UWRF has helped to inspire a new generation of Balinese writers, who are now sharing their stories and perspectives with the world.

Promoting Indonesian literature

The festival provides a platform for Indonesian writers to showcase their work and connect with an international audience. It has helped to promote Indonesian literature globally and has given a voice to many talented writers from across the country.

Showcasing Balinese culture

The festival has helped to promote Balinese culture and art to a global audience, and has become a showcase for traditional dance, music, and other cultural forms.

Promoting literacy and education

Through its workshops and other events, the festival has encouraged a love of learning and creativity among local residents as well as visitors.

Empowering women

The festival has a strong focus on gender equality and women’s empowerment. It provides a platform for women writers to share their stories and has helped to raise awareness about the issues facing women in Indonesia.

Fostering cross-cultural dialogue

The UWRF has brought together writers and readers from around the world, encouraging cultural exchange and understanding. The festival encourages cross-cultural understanding and promotes a spirit of tolerance and respect.

Supporting the local economy

The UWRF attracts thousands of visitors to Ubud each year, which has helped to boost the local economy. Many local businesses, including hotels, restaurants, and shops, benefit from the influx of tourists during the festival.

Conclusion

The UWRF program is filled with rich, immersive and engaging events that range from panel discussions, literary lunches, writing workshops, musical and artistic performances and film screenings. From day to night, a tapestry of literary, artistic and cultural happenings are on display, with an engaged audience adding to the overall experience.

Photo credit (main picture): Yayasan Mudra Swari Saraswati (CC BY-SA 4.0) via Wikimedia Commons

Photo description: opening ceremony of Ubud Writers & Readers Festival 2022.


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Discover the Best Temples in Bali and You Must Visit Them

With over 20,000 temples in Bali, it’s hard to see them all in just 2 or 3 weeks. In this Best Temples in Bali article, we present to you our must visit temples in Bali. Then the choice is yours!

Bali is a tropical paradise that is famous for its stunning beaches, lush rice terraces, and vibrant culture. One of the essential aspects of Balinese culture is religion, and it is reflected in the numerous temples found all around the island. These temples are not just places of worship, but also important landmarks and tourist attractions that offer a glimpse into Bali’s rich history and tradition. Here are some of the must-visit temples in Bali that you need to explore during your stay.

Some of these temples are the most emblematic of Bali and are therefore very popular.

Discover the best temples in Bali, where the rich Hindu heritage is beautifully preserved, and immerse yourself in a spiritual journey that unveils the island’s sacred traditions, breathtaking architecture, and profound cultural significance, offering a unique opportunity to witness vibrant ceremonies, intricate stone carvings, ornate gateways, and serene surroundings that transport you to a realm of divine tranquility.

Here are some of the must-visit temples in Bali that you should add to your travel itinerary:

Tanah Lot

This iconic temple is perched on a rock in the middle of the ocean, making it one of the most photographed temples in Bali.

The temple of Tanah Lot (Tanah Lot means “The land in the sea” in Balinese), located in the South-West of Bali, is famous for its sunsets and its temple surrounded by the ocean according to the tides. At low tide, you can walk to the rock. The temple is dedicated to the sea God, Baruna, and is believed to protect the island from evil spirits.

Perched on a sea rock, it offers a stunning sunset view, making it one of Bali’s most iconic temples.

Tanah Lot - bali 2013
Tanah Lot, Bali. Technob105, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Tanah Lot is one of the most famous and iconic temples in Bali, and it is located on a rock formation that is surrounded by the sea. The temple is dedicated to the Balinese sea gods, and it offers a magnificent view of the sunset. Tanah Lot is a popular tourist destination, and it can get quite crowded during peak season, but it’s worth the visit.

Walk around Tanah Lot to observe the diverse sights. You will marvel at the beauty of the place, especially at sunset.

Legend

Legend has it that the sage once went to the rocky promontory that was then Tanah Lot, connected to the moor by a natural stone bridge. Captivated by the spectacle of the ocean caressing the banks and by the backwash of the waves, the man would have decided to spend the night there…

And in the early morning, in total harmony with the sea stretched out in front of him, he decided to build the temple to pay homage to this element of nature. Even today, the caves dug by the waves at the foot of the cliffs that surround it are said to be inhabited by sacred serpents, descendants of the former protectors of the site.

Tanah Lot beautiful sunset
Tanah Lot beautiful sunset. Pinterpandai, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Useful information :
Address: Jl. Tanah Lot, Beraban, Kec. Kediri, Kabupaten Tabanan, Bali 82121, Indonesia
Admission: 60,000 rupees / adult, 30,000 rupees / child (+5,000 rupees for car parking, + 2,000 rupees for scooter parking)
Access: The road is in good condition, so you can easily reach the temple by car or scooter. At high tide, the temple is accessible only by boat.

Tanah Lot Bali | Temples Bordering the Indian Ocean

Besakih Temple

Besakih Temple, nicknamed the “Mother Temple”, is located at the foot of Mount Agung in the village of Besakih, East Bali. At around 1000 meters above sea level, Pura Besakih is the most important and sacred temple in Bali, dedicated to the three deities of Balinese culture.

This is the largest and most important Hindu temple in Bali, and is located on the slopes of Mount Agung. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

This temple is actually a complex of 23 separate temples that are dedicated to different Hindu deities. Each region of Bali has its own temple within Besakih Temple and is responsible for its upkeep. Besakih is an essential pilgrimage site for the Balinese Hindus, and it offers breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape.

Known as the “Mother Temple,” it is the largest and holiest temple complex in Bali, with a breathtaking mountain backdrop.

There are also three temples dedicated to the Hindu trinity: Shiva (the destroyer), Brahma (the creator) and Vishnu (the preserver).

Besakih Bali Indonesia Pura-Besakih-02
Besakih Temple. Photo by CEphoto, Uwe Aranas (CC BY-SA 3.0) via Wikimedia Commons

The visit of Besakih is strongly recommended accompanied by a guide that you have chosen before your arrival on the site, it is one of the essentials in Bali. Indeed many false guides will try by all means to offer their services and they can be more than unpleasant.

Pura Gelap in Mother Temple of Besakih - panoramio (1)
Pura Gelap in Mother Temple of Besakih. Tuderna, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Four of the temples in the complex reflect the four forms of God through the cardinal points: Pura Batu Madeg to the north, Pura Kiduling Kreteg to the south, Pura Gelap to the east, and Pura Ulun Kulkul to the west.

Shiva temple, Pura Besakih
Shiva temple at Pura Besakih. Chainwit., CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Useful information:

Address: Besakih, Rendang, Karangasem, Regency, Bali 80863, Indonesia
Admission: 60,000 rupees / person (loan of the sarong, scooter ride for the climb, guide)
Access: To get there, you can take a taxi or hire a private driver or scooter is located at the entrance of a village where there is a car park. You can then either walk up or continue by scooter. From Kuta or Seminyak. Entrance fee: IDR 60,000 (about USD 4.20).

The bad reputation of the temple and the flight of tourists lead the authorities to react and reorganize access to the temple for tourists in better conditions than before. Here is the update communicated by a lebaliblog reader:
The entrance ticket is IDR 60,000 /person.

For this price there are:
  • loan of the sarong (fabric that’s wrapped around the waist)
  • scooter ride for the climb
  • guide

It is possible not to take the sarongs, the scooter or the guide but the price remains the same. During our visit, there were no requests, so a great experience, certainly to be done given the new organization. To be specified, empty temple, its former bad reputation has taken it out of the standard circuit so good plan at the moment.

Ulun Danu Bratan Temple

This picturesque temple is located on the shores of Lake Beratan and is dedicated to the Hindu gods Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva.

Ulun Danu Bratan Temple (Ulun Danu means “beginning of the lake” in Balinese), nicknamed the water temple, is located on the shore of Lake Bratan, surrounded by the mountains of Bedugul, in the center of Bali. The ceremonies are dedicated to the goddess of water and rivers, Dewi Danu, to guarantee the irrigation of the entire central region of Bali which finds its source here.

The temple is dedicated to Dewi Danu, the goddess of the lake, and it offers a beautiful reflection of the temple on the lake’s surface. Ulun Danu Beratan is surrounded by lush gardens and beautiful mountains, making it a perfect spot for nature lovers.

Pura Ulun Danu Bratan 1998 12
Shrines at Ulun Danu Bratan temple. Tabanan Regency, Bali, Indonesia. LBM1948, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Ulun Danu has the famous Meru with 11 roofs, the maximum possible. Merus are wooden towers often found in Balinese temples, always in odd numbers. Their number varies according to the dignity of the god to whom the temple is dedicated.

Pura Ulun Danu Bratan, 2022
Ulun Danu Bratan Temple. A Balinese Hindu temple. LukeTriton, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Useful information :
Address: Danau Beratan, Candikuning, Baturiti, Kabupaten Tabanan, Bali 82191, Indonesia
Admission: 50,000 rupees / adult, 25,000 rupees / child (+5,000 rupees for car parking, +2,000 rupees for scooter parking)
Access: The road is in good condition, so you can easily reach the temple by car or scooter. Knowing that these are mountain roads with many turns.

Taman Ayun Temple – Ubud

The Taman Ayun Temple (Taman Ayun means “Beautiful Garden” in Balinese) is located in the town of Mengwi to the west of Ubud.

This temple is located in the middle of a lake and is known for its beautiful water features. It is a popular spot for weddings and other special occasions.

Surrounded by a beautiful garden and a moat, it’s a wonderful example of traditional Balinese architecture.

Surrounded by trees, vegetation and ponds, it is very pleasant to walk there. The temple is surrounded by canals, and is thus accessible by a bridge that leads to the entrance. You then arrive in a courtyard with green spaces and a fountain, as well as a cockfighting arena.

Pura Taman Ayun 1998 01
Taman Ayun Temple. Mengwi, Badung Regency, Bali, Indonesia. LBM1948, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Pura Taman Ayun terletak di Mengwi, Bali
Temple Tower Rows of Taman Ayun Royal Temple at Mengwi, Bali. Cindi CGJ, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Inner temple, Taman Ayun
View of inner temple, Taman Ayun, Bali. Anthony.bradbury, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Useful information :
Address: Jl. Ayodya No.10, Mengwi, Kec. Mengwi, Kabupaten Badung, Bali 80351, Indonesia
Entrance: 20,000 rupees / person
Access: The road is in good condition, so you can easily reach the temple by car or scooter.

Gunung Kawi Temple – North of Ubud

After crossing some beautiful rice fields and climbing 300 steps, you will discover one of the oldest temples in Bali, Gunung Kawi Temple, located in the middle of the Pakerisan River, north of Ubud.

This temple complex is located in the valley of the kings and is known for its 11th-century rock-cut shrines.

Candi Gunung Kawi
Gunung Kawi Temple, Gianyar, Bali. Joni.photo23, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Pura Gunung Kawi is an ancient temple complex

It has about ten sanctuaries carved directly into the rock in the 11th century. Pura Gunung Kawi is an ancient temple complex that features ten shrines carved into the rock face. The temple is dedicated to King Anak Wungsu and his family.

Cloister, Gunung Kawi, Bali 1633
Cloister, Gunung Kawi, Bali. This chamber is located at the right-hand corner of the Kings’ Tombs. Given its location, it probably housed the chief priest who maintained the site and carried out devotions to the departed rulers. Many similar chambers were excavated into the rock in and around the site. These living quarters are usually called “cloisters” or “hermitages” in guidebooks, although neither term is accurate; the residents here were priests, not monks or hermits. Michael Gunther, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Useful information:
Address: Banjar Penaka, Tampaksiring, Kabupaten Gianyar, Bali 80552, Indonesia
Admission: IDR 15,000 / person
Access: The road is in good condition, so you can easily reach the temple by car or scooter.

Exploring the Mystical Beauty of Gunung Kawi Temple in Bali

Tirta Empul Temple – Central Bali, between Ubud and Mount Batur

A holy spring water temple, Tirta Empul is a place of purification and spiritual cleansing. Visitors can participate in the ritual of bathing in the holy water.

This temple is known for its holy springs, where visitors can bathe in the sacred water. It is believed that the water has healing powers.

Tirta Empul Temple, also called Tirta Empul Spring (Tirta Empul means “sacred spring” in Balinese), is located in the town of Tampaksiring between Ubud and Mount Batur, in central Bali.

The site includes basins known for their holy water where the Balinese go for their purification rituals. One can feel the importance of the place by seeing the many Balinese people coming there to pray and purify themselves.

Pura Tirta Empul, Bali
A beautiful and old Hindu temple which hosts rituals. The temple has holy springs in which devotees bathe. Saranabhi, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Useful information :
Address: Jl. Tampaksiring, Manukaya, Tampaksiring, Kabupaten Gianyar, Bali 80552, Indonesia
Admission: 50,000 rupees / adult, 25,000 rupees / child (5-11 years old)
Access: The road is in good condition, so you can easily reach the temple by car or scooter.

Goa Gajah (Elephant Cave)

Also known as the Elephant Cave, Goa Gajah is a unique temple that features an entrance shaped like a demon’s mouth. The temple’s interior is adorned with ancient carvings and a statue of the elephant-headed god, Ganesha. The temple’s surroundings are equally beautiful, with lush greenery and a river flowing nearby.

This cave temple is known for its intricate carvings, which date back to the 11th century.

Goa Gajah Temple Tank 01
Goa Gajah baths, Bali, Indonesia. Chainwit., CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The temple

Goa Gajah is a Shiava/Buddhist complex that may date from around the 11th century A.D. It consists of the bathing tank seen here, a Rangda cave with statuary and sleeping niches, and the remains of other structures.

It was only excavated and restored in the 1950s, although the cave had been visited by Nieuwenkamp in 1925 (Dutch multi-faceted autodidact. As an artist he was active as a painter, draftsman, sculptor, etcher, lithographer, and designer of book covers and of ex-libris. In addition, he was also known as a writer, architect, explorer, ethnologist and collector of East Asian art.

Goa Gajah 1998 01
Goa Gajah (Elephant Cave). LBM1948, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Inside Elephant Cave

In a small niches, are arranged statues of Hindu gods including those of Brahma, Ganesh and Shiva. The site also has a central basin with, on its edge, 6 statues of women spitting a trickle of water which would have the magical property of preserving youth.

Goa Gajah, Bedulu, Bali, 20220824 0926 0536
Inside the Goa Gajah. Jakub Hałun, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Gardens

Continue the visit by following the paths penetrating into the jungle. You will discover a spiritual place, by the river, at the foot of a waterfall where you can swim. Be careful, the passage is narrow and can be very slippery.

Goa Gajah gardens, Bedulu, Bali, 20220824 0944 0576
Goa Gajah gardens (Bali island, Indonesia). Jakub Hałun, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Goa Lawah Temple (Bat Temple)

Carved out of the foothills of Bukit Tengah Mountain and located off the Balinese coast near Kusamba Beach, Goa Lawah Temple is a combination of a temple and a cave housing thousands of mousetowers.

The temple is dedicated to the god of the underworld and is known for its unique architecture.

Goa Lawah Bali53Goa Lawah Temple. Arabsalam, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

COLLECTIE TROPENMUSEUM Offeraltaren bij de Pura Goa Lawa of Vleermuizengrot TMnr 20018474
Offering altars at the Pura Goa Lawa or Bat Cave Temple near Kusamba. Tropenmuseum, part of the National Museum of World Cultures, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Useful information :
Address: Jl. Raya Goa Lawah, Pesinggahan, Dawan, Kabupaten Klungkung, Bali, Indonesia
Admission: 15,000 rupees / person
Access: The road is in good condition, so you can easily reach the temple by car or scooter.

Ubud Monkey Forest Temple

Luhur Uluwatu Temple

The 11th century, Uluwatu temple is located on the southwestern tip of the Bukit peninsula in southern Bali. Built on the cliffs 70 meters (230 ft) high, you can admire a magnificent view of the Indian Ocean and its sunset.

Overlooking the Indian Ocean, it showcases a mesmerizing Kecak Fire Dance performance at sunset.

Take a walk around the temple, in the pleasant gardens, and especially go to the edge of the cliff to enjoy the different views. Beware all the same of the many monkeys very present.

Pura Luhur Uluwatu 1998 01
Luhur Uluwatu Temple. LBM1948, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Kecak Fire dance

You can also attend a Kecak Fire show, this one tells the epic of the hero Ramayana on an open stage with the ocean in the background, the show ends at night with some pyrotechnic scenes.

In Bali, the Kecak dance tells the epic of the Ramayana. About fifty men will bewitch you with their vocal percussion!

Burning fire in Ramayana Kecak Dance
Flaming Fire in one of scenes of Ramayana Kecak Dance performed in Amphiteater Pura Uluwatu, Bali. Johannnindito Adisuryo (Yohanes Nindito Adisuryo)CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

From the top of a cliff, the temple of Uluwatu dominates the sea in Bali, in its southern tip. Pilfering monkeys in large numbers in the temple sow discord among visitors (we saw a woman get a shiny flip-flop by a monkey… to recover it, a guard “traded” the sandal for a banana!). I admit that the presence of these monkeys, sometimes quite massive, in freedom, frightened the children (and me too!).

The architectural ensemble of the Uluwatu temple is splendid, and in the evening, an amphitheater welcomes you, with a view of the setting sun, for an impressive performance: a show of the kecak dance.

Inside the temple

Part reserved for the faithful – a sculpture in the arch of a bhoma (son of the forest) protects the sanctuary. In the middle, three doors are majestically decorated with phoenix wings. On full moon nights, the place gives off a strong power, further reinforced by the foaming swell that breaks below with a tremendous crash.

Be careful

There are a lot of monkeys on the sacred place. They will steal everything they can, and only return the object of the larceny in exchange for fruit or other delicacies. They are not aggressive, but nothing should lie around if you don’t want to be surprised by a macaque.

Useful information :
Address: Pecatu, South Kuta, Badung Regency, Bali, Indonesia
Admission: 20,000 rupees / person (+70,000 rupees for the Kecak dance show)
Access: The road is in good condition, so you can easily reach the temple by car or scooter.

http://villacarissabali.com/what-to-do-in-uluwatu-must-visit-places-between-temples-and-beaches-in-south-bali/

http://villacarissabali.com/what-to-do-in-uluwatu-must-visit-places-between-temples-and-beaches-in-south-bali/

Tirta Gangga Water Palace – East Bali

The Tirta Gangga Water Palace, placed on the sacred waters, is a veritable Balinese Garden of Eden where all is beauty. The nature that surrounds the statues, baths and fountains is wonderful.

An enchanting garden with water features and statues, perfect for a leisurely stroll.

For a change from visiting temples in Bali, schedule a visit to Tirta Gangga Palace. It is a very beautiful temple with a water point. Very interesting to walk around and take pictures!

The “Tirta Gangga Water Palace” is indeed splendid, and yet little visited by tourists. And for good reason: to the east of the island, it is far from the most popular spots like Kuta and Ubud. It is located about fifteen kilometers south of Amed (30 minutes by car). Count 2 hours by road if you come from Denpasar.

Tirta Gangga
Tirta Gangga. S A B R I N A B A L I, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Tirta means “holy water” and Gangga means “Ganges”, the Indian river which is a symbol of a sacred spring in the Hindu religion. The water palace was built in 1946 by the raja of Karangasem and renovated several times.

Very quiet place, and a very beautiful architecture. Allow 1 to 2 hours for the visit.

Tirta Gangga Palace | The Royal Baths and Beautiful Aquatic Gardens in East Bali

Kehen Temple – East Bali

Kehen temple is a Hindu temple complex located in the village of Cempaga, Bangli Regency, Bali, Indonesia. It is dedicated to the Hindu gods Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva. The temple is believed to have been built in the 13th century, and is one of the oldest and most important temples in Bali.

The temple is like a storybook with three parts, each for a different god. The first part is for Brahma, who created everything. The second is for Vishnu, who takes care of everything. The last part is for Shiva, who brings change.

Pura Kehen 1998 02
Kehen Temple. Bangli Regency, East Bali, Indonesia. LBM1948, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Imagine a big gate with two lion statues standing guard. The temple walls are like a picture book with carvings of gods, goddesses, and magical creatures.

People from all over visit this temple to see its beauty and learn about Bali’s culture. It’s not just for tourists; locals come here to pray too. It’s like a special place that connects people to their beliefs.

Luhur Lempuyang Temple

Located on Mount Lempuyang in East Bali, the temple of Luhur Lempuyang is one of the oldest in Bali. It is part of a group of 7 temples along a hiking path leading to the summit. Pura Lempuyang is located on the slopes of Mount Lempuyang and offers stunning views of the surrounding landscape. Lempuyang temple is also known as the “Gateway to Heaven”.

After climbing the 1700 steps for a good hour, you can admire the magnificent view of Mount Agung and the surrounding nature.

"Heaven Gate" Pura Lempuyang
“Heaven Gate” Pura Penataran Agung Lempuyang. Chainwit.CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Useful information:
Address: Bunutan, Abang, Seraya Bar., Kec. Karangasem, Kabupaten Kaangasem, Bali 80852, Indonesia
Admission: 10,000 rupees (minimum donation required)
Access: The road is in good condition, so you can easily reach the temple by car or scooter.

Pura Gunung Lebah

Located along the Campuhan Ridge Walk, it provides a peaceful retreat amidst nature.

A magnificent temple located in the center of Ubud that you can visit quietly… Not to be missed in Ubud.

Purah Gunung Lebah4
Sculpture at Purah Gunung Lebah temple in Ubud. Arabsalam, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

This small temple overlooking a river offers a quiet getaway in a very green site.
A path that runs along it allows a pleasant walk in the countryside.

Pura Gunung Lebah2
Some sculptures waiting for conservation at Purah Gunung Lebah temple in Ubud. Arabsalam, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

After visiting the temple, you can go to the Campuhan rice fields which are just behind.

Purah Gunung Lebah3
Sculptures waiting for conservation at Purah Gunung Lebah temple in Ubud. Arabsalam, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Samuan Tiga Temple (around Ubud)

A very pretty typical Balinese temple, quiet and very pleasant to see…a pretty place to meditate, take a rest and enjoy the calm of the place.

Samuan Tiga Temple, also known as Pura Samuan Tiga, is an ancient Hindu temple located in the village of Bedulu, Gianyar regency, Bali, Indonesia. This temple is of great historical and spiritual significance, as it is one of the oldest and most sacred temples on the island. The serene and peaceful ambiance of Pura Samuan Tiga makes it an ideal place for meditation and spiritual contemplation.

An ancient temple with three shrines, representing the Hindu trinity.

The name “Samuan Tiga” translates to “Three Meetings” in Balinese, which refers to the temple’s unique feature of having three separate sections, each dedicated to a different god within the Hindu trinity: Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva. The temple complex is divided into three courtyards, with each courtyard having its own shrines and altars.

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Pura Samuan Tiga. Chainwit., CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The first courtyard is dedicated to Lord Brahma, the creator, and it is where religious rituals and ceremonies are performed. The second courtyard is dedicated to Lord Vishnu, the preserver, and it features a large pavilion where prayers and offerings take place. The third courtyard is dedicated to Lord Shiva, the destroyer, and it contains the main shrine and a sacred bathing pool.

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The main entrance of Samuan Tiga Temple. Chainwit., CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

For travelers interested in exploring Bali’s rich cultural heritage and religious sites, a visit to Samuan Tiga Temple is a must. It provides a unique opportunity to witness the spiritual practices and rituals that have been passed down through generations and continue to be an integral part of Balinese life.

Pura Saraswati Temple (Ubud Water Palace) – Ubud

This sacred temple pays homage to the Hindu goddess of knowledge and the arts, Sarasvati. Renowned for its enchanting lotus pond and intricate water features, it stands as a serene sanctuary celebrating spirituality and creativity.

Pura Taman Saraswati, officially Pura Taman Kemuda Saraswati, the Ubud Water Palace, is a captivating Hindu temple in Bali. Designed by sculptor I Gusti Nyoman Lempad, it boasts a lotus pond, a unique bridge, and stunning sculptures.

Constructed in 1951, the temple’s inner sanctum is accessed through red-bricked gates and an aling-aling wall. The padmasana shrine, dedicated to Sarasvati, features cosmic turtle carvings.

The temple also includes a pavilion for the Hindu Trimurti, meru towers, and a bale barong for exorcizing rituals. Pura Taman Saraswati stands as a symbol of Balinese art and spirituality in Ubud.

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The lotus pond of Pura Taman Saraswati. Chainwit., CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Masceti Temple – Seminyak

A temple rooted in agriculture, where farmers seek reprieve from rat infestations, and shrewd builders offer prayers for forgiveness before embarking on the construction of yet another villa amidst the serene rice fields.

The Masceti Temple in Seminyak is a more popular tourist destination than the Masceti Temple in Gianyar, as it is located in a more popular tourist area. However, both temples are worth visiting, as they offer a glimpse into Balinese culture and religion.
Nini Luh Masceti” is indeed referred to as the goddess of the forest in Balinese mythology.

Nini Luh Masceti often depicted as a beautiful woman with long black hair and flowing white robes. She is often shown surrounded by animals and plants. She is sometimes also shown carrying a basket of fruit or flowers.

Masceti Temple is a popular destination for religious ceremonies, especially during the Hari Raya Nyepi, the Balinese New Year. On this day, the temple is crowded with worshippers who come to pray for good fortune and prosperity in the coming year.

Masceti Temple – Gianyar near Sanur

Masceti Temple is a Hindu temple located in the village of Keramas, Gianyar Regency, Bali, Indonesia. It is dedicated to Nini Luh Masceti, the goddess of the forest.

The temple is located on the eastern coast of Bali, near the town of Sanur. It is a less popular tourist destination than the Masceti Temple in Seminyak, but it is still a beautiful and sacred place.

The temple is believed to have been founded in the 11th century. It is located on a sacred site that is believed to be the home of Nini Luh Masceti. The temple is one of the nine directional temples of Bali, which are said to protect the island from evil spirits.

Masceti Beach offers a unique mix of elements. Situated about 15km (9.3 miles) east of Sanur, it features a handful of drink vendors and is home to Pura Masceti, one of Bali’s sacred directional temples. The temple, shaped like a garuda (a mythical bird), stands right on the beach and is adorned with vibrant statues. Interestingly, despite the bird-shaped temple, the surrounding area, including a large building, is utilized for cockfights, adding a touch of irony to the scene.

Photo credit (main picture): Keulefm via Pixabay

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