Sunday, June 20, 2010

Indonesia: Road trip around Bali (Part 3) Pura Besakih, the Mother Temple at Besakih

Pura Besakih or the Mother Temple of Besakih is the most important Hindu temple in Bali. Located on the south slopes of Mount Agung, Pura Besakih probably dates back to the 14th century.

This was the last stop of my road trip around Bali, northeastern Bali to be exact. Being the most sacred of temples, a sarong is definitely required. To blend in with the locals, I also got myself a traditional Balinese head scarf.

The driver dropped me off at the parking lot and warned me not to entertain the offers of ojek drivers to the top since they will overcharge me being a tourist. It was quite tempting actually since it's quite a walk from the vehicle parking up to the main entrance of the temple. The hike will definitely let you break a sweat.

Pura Besakih is actually a complex of twenty-two temples that sit on parallel ridges. It's on the tentative list of the UNESCO World Heritage List.

You'll definitely see a lot of locals there, a perfect place to observe daily life in Bali as hundreds make their way to the temple daily to worship, pray and make offerings. It's enchanting as well as serene, especially as a thin blanket of fog makes its way down to the temple late in the afternoon.

Again, be prepared for a lot of walking because the walk from the entrance all the way to the top of the temple is no joke. There are some restricted areas though. And unless you know how to speak Bahasa Indonesia or are a Hindu visiting the temple to worship, the guards won't let you in the other parts which is reserved for worship.

Pura Besakih was the last stop on my Bali road trip. It took about two hours to get back to Ubud, just in time for me to catch my bus back to Kuta.

So when you visit Bali, make sure you allot a day or two for road travel around the island. There was still a lot to see like Tanah Lot, Uluwatu and Taman Ayun Temples in the southwestern part of Bali very close to Kuta. Unfortunately, I had no more time. I hope to come back again for another visit!
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