Bali is renowned for its white sand and stunning beaches, but aside from that, the nation has a strong commitment to its religion, & there are many temples to visit in Bali.
The Balinese people follow a form of Hinduism known as Agama Hindu Dharma. Balinese culture and religion impact almost every aspect of life on the Island and draws people to Bali to see and experience it. An essential belief of Balinese Hinduism is that the spirit influences elements of mother nature.
The people of Bali are substantial in their beliefs. If you are visiting the temples of Bali, you should be careful about everything you do.
Here we have a few tips for your behavior so that you can easily enjoy your trip to the best Bali temples without any issues, but for that, you must understand the actual culture of Bali.
Culture of Bali
The culture of Bali is versatile, having all kinds of people living together under one roof. 93% of the island population is Hindu, making it the country’s dominant religion. Apart from that, there are Muslims 13%, Christians 2.5%, and Buddhism makes up 0.5% of the country.
Hinduism found in Balinese is different from the Indian Hindu religion. In Bali, they strongly believe in spirits of all the things in nature, commonly referred to as ‘animism.’ They are very respectful towards their surrounding as they think that everything has a deity that lives inside them.
Gods in Balinese Culture
The country Bali is also known as the ‘Island of gods’; among many gods, three are of great value. They are Brahma, Shiva, and Vishnu.
The people of Bali believe that the Dewa Brahma is the god of knowledge, painted red in all the temples. Dewa Vishnu is known as the Protector of life, who has a wife, the Goddess of fertility. The last Dewa Shina is known as the god of destruction and death.
They also believe you are given a chance to come back after death according to your good or evil deeds.
Offering in Balinese Culture
The Balinese people believe that they should be offering things to gods to purify themselves. The culture and religion have wide varieties, from simple to many extravagant, but the thing that matters is that they should be specified according to the teachings of Krishna.
A few things that should be practiced for the offering are discussed below.
1. The offering can be anything from your daily life.
2. You can offer palm leaves as a plate containing sweets and food items.
3. One thing must be sure of, the offering has to be provided only once to the gods.
4. The offering must be presented beautifully. According to the priests, the decoration pleases the gods.
These offerings are done in many types according to the gods. The Balinese people take this very seriously and make a habit of doing this ritual.
Why do Balinese People Offer to Gods?
There are many temples in Bali, showing that the people dedicate most of their time to visiting these beautiful temples around them. These temples are made with different types of decorative things representing their culture.
There are many rumors about why Balinese people often make these offerings to gods, as per the Balinese people. The offerings are a respected way of expressing thanks for what it is and a wish for prosperity and peace. They represent the Balinese people’s devotion to their (Hindu) gods, but these offerings are much more at the core.
Tips and Tricks for Visiting the Temples
The country Bali is renowned around for its beautiful beaches. Still, it is also famous for many beautiful temples around the country presenting a modern as well as the religious side of the country.
If you are planning to visit the country’s temples, there are a few things you should be careful about. As we already know, the people of Bali strongly believe in the deity’s presence in everything; you must be attentive to mind your manners. Here are a few tips for you.
The people of Bali have more conservative thoughts than other countries. We don’t have to show our affection as this can make Balinese uncomfortable publicly.
As for the clothing, if you visit Bali temples, you should be careful in covering their shoulders. Shirts covering the shoulders and arms are required for both men and women. As for the legs, a sarong for men and a temple scarf for women are mandatory.
Don’t Use the Left Hand to Give or Touch Anything
The use of the left hand seems polluted as they don’t use the toilet tissue papers. Instead, using the left hand is considered to wash up your body. That’s why tourists should be careful is pointing or handling things with their left hand.
Holding from both hands means you are respecting others.
Don’t be Angry
The people of Bali are lovely and soft-spoken. They don’t like to yell or show anger or any loudness. It seems to be offensive to speak loudly while you are standing in a temple.
Don’t Touch Anyone’s Head
The Balinese people think that the soul resides in the head of everyone; they feel that by touching the hair, you would be humiliating the soul.
Don’t Step on Offering
Canang sari is offered in the morning; if you are walking by the road, you might see them lying on the sidewalks. Being a tourist, you must be careful while walking as it is considered rude to step on the offerings of gods.
Don’t Interrupt Any Religious Processions
As a religious country, there are formal gatherings in the temples around Bali. These processions take time, and if you are stuck behind them, don’t worry and relax while you see their holy things; they can get easily offended if you honk the horn.
Temples of Bali
The temples are the places for worshiping; they are commonly called “Pura,” meaning pure. These Pura are based on rules, style, guidance, and rituals. Bali has more Hindu temples around the Island, including the Mother Temple or the Besakih temple, which is the most significant, most important, and holiest of all temples in Bali. Many purrs have been built for years, making it “the island of thousand puras.”
If you are wondering, when is the best time to visit Bali? You can read about it here.
Design and Layout of Temples
In Bali, the puras, or temples, are constructed to open within the fortified walls. The outer area of the Bali temples is decorated with mandala designs according to the hierarchy level.
According to the trimandala concept, there are
- Nista mandala
- Madya mandala
- Utama mandala
The Island of Bali is renowned for its scenery and beautiful sandy beaches. But apart from that, the culture and sculptures in Bali temples are also worth your time. Many tourists visit the religious temples of Bali and understand their culture.
There are many temples which are very famous all around the world.
- Besakih temple
- Tanah lot temple
- Taman ayun temple
- Goa Gajah temple
- Saraswati Temple
- Tirta Empul Temple
- Lempuyang Temple
- Uluwatu temple
- Ulun danu beratun temple
- Gunung kawi
These few are the most famous temples in Bali. These temples are prominently based on their exciting temple ground. There are some Hindu temples, too, making it an attraction to all Hindu followers. Let’s discuss some and see the details which can help visit the best temples of Bali.
The Pura Besakih is most commonly referred to as the mother temple of Bali. The grand temple complex consists of at least eighty-six clans of temples and shrines on the south-western of Mount Agung, making it one of the largest and holiest temples in Bali. This temple is one of the best to visit with its spectacular view of hills, mountains, and streams.
Every year there are seventy different celebrations done in this beautiful temple. If you are visiting the temple, it is most predictable that you might witness some of the celebrations.
The journey to the Besakihbesakih temple is most mystical, with a long stairway leading the way to many other temples, according to their ranks and status.
Besakih temple has three main temples which are dedicated to the Hindu trinity. In the center, there is Pura Penataran Agung which has white banners for Shiva. To the temple’s right is the destroyer; Pura Kiduling Kreteg has red flags for Brahma, the creator; and Pura Batu Madeg, which represents Vishnu, the preserver, with its black banners. This is the most ancient Hindu shrine in the whole of Bali.
Tanah Lot Temple
Tanah lot temple is dedicated to the gods of the sea. It is situated on a large coral rock eroded from Bali’s main Island. This was made after the sacred trip of Dang Hyang Nirartha’s sacred journey (tirtha yatra) to Bali in the fifteenth century. Due to its continuous use, the place is well maintained and contains stone carvings all around it,
The temple is one of the best in Bali due to its unique structure onshore and the beautiful scenery and sunsets at the back.
The best time to visit the Tanah lot temple is during Odalan, which happens after every 210 days. At that time, you see women carrying their offerings on their heads, moving in a line to reach the temple on top. Here at this time, you can enjoy the mouthwatering dishes too.
Taman Ayun Temple
In the north of Bali, you can see a beautiful, spectacular temple rising from the earth, making it difficult to ignore. This is the Taman Ayun temple, an important place in the Mengwi village. You can see its historical statues and stupas even from a distance too. According to legend, this ancient building was built in the Warmadewa Era, in the 11th century. Buddhists and Hindus use this temple as a place of worship and acculturation of the two religions. Known for its exquisite traditional architectural characteristics, it is a well-known complex. Additionally, it includes a sizable garden with lotus-filled ponds, which is a sight you won’t soon forget.
Goa Gajah Temple
The elephant cave, sometimes referred to as Goa Gajah, was created in the ninth century. The origin of this Balinese Hindu temple is unknown, but many historical studies show that this place was built to be a spiritual place for meditation for the monks.
It is situated at the Bedulu Village, Jalan Raya Goa Gajah, Blahbatuh. The inside of this temple is divided into caves, among which cave no 1 held the most importance. It is 39m from the front entrance till the back. Bathing pools surround the cave, along with many unique carvings on rocks. The Balinese temples are covered mainly by natural beauty, making them a fantastic place to visit.
Despite being the most miniature temple on the list of Balinese temples, it is on the list of best temples in Bali. It is made in honor of the Hindu goddess Saraswati, the Goddess of learning, literature, and art.
The Pura Taman Saraswati is near the northeast Padmasana shrine, off the main road of Jalan Raya Ubud. You can experience the beautiful surrounding with water gardens and a lotus pond. Many tourists visit this temple in Bali, & The 19th-century royal family builds it to show their dedication to the Goddess.
Tirta Empul Temple
The Hindu deity Vishnu, credited with creating the whole universe, is the recipient of offerings at this temple. The temple is located at Jalan Tirta, Tampaksiring, in Bali. If you wish to visit this temple, you can easily reach central Ubud.
The Tirta Empul means Holy Spring in Balinese. The temple ground is believed to have a source of clean water for ritual bathing. When you reach the temple, you can see a large gate known as the candi bentar. This gate is guarded by two dwarapala statues, one on each side. There is a Jaba Tenga, where you can see the clear water.
Many tourists and Balinese people stand in line just to dip their heads in this holy water, known to have curative properties. Travelers from all over the world come to this site to partake in the ritual of bathing in this holy water and drinking its healing water. This tradition has mostly not altered through time.
Many puras have outstanding beauty, but many tourists do not visit for a limited time. One of these Balinese temples is Lempuyang temple, also known as the “gates of heaven.”
It is an unforgettable experience; if you see from further away, the view stands with two stone monoliths giving the reflection on the clear lake just underneath it.
There, you may take in a breathtaking view of Mount Agung. It takes almost a 3-hour drive from Ubud to reach there, which is 1175 m above sea level.
The temple is a famous Hindu Sea temple located in Bali. It is one of the nine directional temples made specifically to protect it from evil spirits. It is also known as the Pura Luhur Uluwatu, which means something of divine origin.
It is located in the southernmost Bali of Pecatu Village, Kuta South District.
This temple’s view is extraordinary from both the northern and southern sides. The inner side of the temple is filled with stone-carved walls. The tourists can enjoy not only the spectacular view but also the mouthwatering menus which are served there.
After watching the interesting temple from the inside, the outside is similar to Tanah Lot Temple. This temple lies on the rock below the pristine beach, with sunset delights and a beautiful ocean.
Ulun Danu Beratun Temple
Pura ulun danu beratun is specifically designed to offer the Hindu god. It is made on the shores of lake Beratun. It is another iconic water temple, and one of the best temples in Bali is Ulun Danu Beratan Temple, which is well deserving of a spot on any Bali itinerary. The temple complex is surrounded by calm and still Lake Bratan in the mountains near Bedugul, only around a 1-hour drive from Ubud.
Gunung Kawi was constructed in the 11th century and had a funerary complex in Tampaksiring, lying northeast of Ubud. The temple is spread across either side of the Pakerisan river. It comprises 10 rock-cut Candi carved into some 7-meter-high sheltered niches of the sheer cliff face.
To reach the temple, one must climb more than 300 steps. It seems impossible, but the whole way is full of lush green scenery. It is one of the amazing temples in Bali, which is crowded with tourists.
Uluwatu temple, Gunung lebah temple, and Nusa Penida temple, located in Bali, are small but also have amazing views. You can enjoy the main temple along with the cultural park.
Reviews of Tourists
According to a questionnaire filled by many tourists visiting Bali regarding the temples in southeast Asia. The tourists remarkably identified a few good points about it.
- The Bali temples have some visiting hours when tourists spend their time on temple grounds.
- The temple area was full of magnificent architecture, with minimum to no entrance fee.
- The floating temple of Bali is the most impressive temple they can see through snorkeling.
Many tourists come back each year to visit the exciting temples located in north Bali, central Bali, central Ubud, and east Bali.
Can you enter Bali temples?
In Bali, it is customary for both men and women to cover their lower legs with sarongs before entering a temple. You may typically rent one at the temple door if you don’t have one.
Why does there are so many Temples in Bali?
There are several temples and rituals since Balinese Hinduism is a fusion of three different religions. In Bali, there is a temple in each and every home.
How many temples are there in Bali?
Bali is referred to as the Island of thousand temples. But there are more than 10,000 temples on the Island.