BesakihThe biggest & holiest Balinese temples
Pura Agung Besakih more commonly known as Besakih Temple, is Bali’s largest complex for followers of the Hindu faith and is considered the island’s revered ‘Mother Temple’. The complex, which is approximately 42km from Denpasar city, consists of five major temples and many smaller shrines that are spread across a mountainside landscape.
Besakih is the biggest and holiest of all the Balinese temples.
Bali's mother temple stands against a stupendous mountain backdrop on the southeastern slopes of Mount Agung. Named after the Dragon God believed to inhabit the mountain, it's said to be the only temple where a Hindu of any caste can worship.
Eighteen separate sanctuaries belonging to different regencies and caste groups surround the three main temples dedicated to Shiva, Brahma and Vishnu. To the Balinese, visiting the temple sanctuaries is a special pilgrimage.
The mountain top setting gives it an almost mystical quality. The largest on the island, this massive complex of 35 small temples attracts staggering numbers each year, being the main point of pilgrimage for Balinese Hindus.
Steps ascend through split gates to the main courtyard where the Trinity shrines, dedicated to Shiva, Brahma, and Vishnu, are wrapped in cloth and decorated with flower offerings. There are number of temples but many of their inner courtyards are closed to visitors.
Tracing its origins to prehistoric times, the complex was untouched by the great 1963 eruption of Mount Agung, which wiped out surrounding villages. The complex also houses the oldest remaining gamelan instrument in Bali called selonding.
The temple ceremony (odalan) falls on the 10th month of the Balinese calendar, in April. If traveling, try to reach Pura Besakih before 9am, when many tourist buses start to arrive, so that we can take in the lovely temple in the quiet Balinese morning.
The origin of Besakih is believed to date back to pre-historic times before Hinduism infiltrated the island of Bali and this is evident from stones that can be traced back to the megalithic era. Every temple within this complex of religious significance celebrates its own annual ritual ceremony as well as special rites of purification held every decade as well as century.
Mount Agung or Gunung Agung is a active volcano in Bali. This stratification is the highest point on the island. It dominates the surrounding area influencing the climate. The clouds come from the west and Agung takes their water so that the west is lush and green and the east dry and barren.
Mount Agung or Gunung Agung is a mountain in Bali. This stratovolcano is the highest point on the island. It dominates the surrounding area influencing the climate. The clouds come from the west and Agung takes their water so that the west is lush and green and the east dry and barren.
Gunung Agung last erupted in 1963-64 and is still active, with a large and very deep crater which occasionally belches smoke and ash. From a distance, the mountain appears to be perfectly conical, despite the existence of the large crater.
From the peak of the mountain, it is possible to see the peak of Mount Rinjani on the island of Lombok, although both mountains are frequently covered in cloud.
Mount Agung is Bali's biggest trekking challenge.
The most revered and the highest peak in Bali, Mount Agung stands tall at over 3100 meters. Fortunately, Bali's highest and most revered mountain is not difficult to climb.
The tip is to start well before dawn, armed with a strong flashlight, water, food, and warm and waterproof clothing. The best time for a climb is during the dry season of April through October.
The shortest and most popular route up Mount Agung is from Selat or Muncan; involving the least walking due thankfully to serviceable roads from both Selat or Muncan town to the Pura Pasar Agung, or Agung Market Temple. From the temple, we can climb to top in as little as 2 short hours.
Still an active volcano Mount Batur sits 1,500 meters above sea level and takes about an hour's drive northeast of Denpasar. Smoking and rumbling takes place periodically at this mountain. Two eruptions occurred in 1917 and 1926 and more recently in 1994. A crater lake was formed about 30,000 years ago after a major eruption. Many vantage points offer spectacular views of the area. Hiking tours start at 3a and end at 6a when one reaches the summit to view a beautiful sunrise.
The Balinese consider Mount Agung to be the center of the world. All temples in Bali point towards Mount Agung. The Mother Temple of Besakih, with its uncountable steps, solemnly wait for the arrival of the gods and the goddesses, for when they step down from heaven, they come to Besakih by way of Mount Agung.