Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Bali Temple Secrets


Though the Angkor Wat is arguably the most famous ancient temple in Southeast Asia, Bali's Hindu temples scattered all over the island can give world heritage site Angkor's some healthy competition.

Bali is known as the "island of a thousand temples," Bali boasts beautiful, intricately designed temples that date back to as early as the 10th century. Bali's spiritual tradition is generally know to be Hindu but it is much more richer when one inquires deeper. For example, they do not necessarily call themselves Hindu but are referred to as Civa Buddhist but for now you will need to investigate this for yourself.

It's impossible to see all of Bali's temples as there are over 600 during a short stay so it's best to pick the ones you want to see before your trip to save you some time. Do not forget to consider the temples' distances from each other as some can be hours away. Basaki Temple is know as the mother temple and is the largest and one of the most beautiful temple in Bali. Seated at the foot of Mount Agung this temple is truly breath taking.

The Tanah Lot by the sea provides a dramatic backdrop off the windy road driving north from Kuta. This temple is one of the most popular attractions on the island. It sits on top of an offshore rock formation shaped by waves through the years, and is only accessible during low tide. It's believed to have been built during the 15th century when the traveling Hindu priest Danyang Niratha chose the area to rest. Legend has it that he asked the fishermen living in the nearby village to build a shrine on the rock for the sea gods. Before he left, Danyang Niratha left his scarf as protection, which locals say that the scarf turned into a giant snake. Locals and tourists sometimes spot sea snakes near the temple and are well know as the temple's protectors.

The Ulun Danu Bratan sits on the edge of Lake Bratan, basking in its tranquility by the lake. Between the mountains of Bedugul is a temple overlooking Lake Bratan - Ulun Danu Bratan the. Believed to have been built in the late 1600s, this temple is dedicated to Dewi Danu, the Balinese Hindu goddess of water. Lake Bratan is located 1,200 meters above sea level and has a cool, tropical climate. The lake is also called "Lake of the Holy Mountain" due to the abundance of nature in the area.

The deeply spiritual people of Bali bathe as do tourists themselves with the holy water that is believed to have healing powers. The sacred springs of Tirta Empul are located inside Siring Temple Attract not just for the Balinese, but also tourists. Believed to have healing powers, the fountains were built over a natural spring in the year 926 AD under the rule of the dynasty Warmadewa. It has shrines for Hindu gods Brahma (creator), Shiva (destroyer, transformers), Vishnu (preserver of life), and Indra (lord of heaven).

The structures inside the Sacred Monkey Forest in Ubud look like an image straight out of Temple Run. Inside the Sacred Monkey Forest are hundreds of crab-eating Macaque more than happy to be photographed. They jump around and ask tourists for food. If you're visiting the forest, do be careful as the monkeys have the tendency to grab and take away small items like sunglasses, cellular phones, and food you intend to eat yourself. Within the forest, you can also find a holy spring water temple and the Padangtegal Great Temple of Death where you can let out your inner Indiana Jones.