Pura Ulun Danu Bratan
This temple was built in 1633 by the radja’s of Mangwi in the honor of Dewi Danu, the godess of the sea and mountain lakes. The temple complex is located on a small picturesque promontory with 2 small islands at 1200 metres in Lake Bratan. In the background one can see the splendid mountain side, most often veiled in mists. The temple consists of several, separate units. Tourists are not allowed to enter the sacred areas, but from the banks along the shore one can take a look.
Bali’s most important temple, Pura Besakih, lies at 1.000 metres altitude along the southern hills of the holy Gunung Agung. It is not exactly clear how old the temple is. One theory is that Besakih was founded in the 8th century by the priest Danghyang Markandeya as a place for meditation. Already in the 11th century the temple was recognized as the most important hindutemple of Bali and for a long time entry was restricted to the royal families of Klungklung, Karangasem en Bangli, the common people were not allowed to enter. Pura Besakih is a complex of many separate temples, dispersed over 6 or 7 terraces. The main temple is the centrally located Pura Penataran Agung, dedicated to Shiva.
Tanah Lot is probably the best known and most photographed temple of Bali. It is also the most touristic temple and it can be very crowded. It is clear why it is a main feature, the location is splendid and the temple is located on a small rocky island that is connected to the mainland at low tide, but is severed at high tide. It is always breathtaking.
Sangsit is located on Bali’s northshore, a little east from Lovina Beach. An important sight is the Pura Beji, a subak-temple that is dedicated to Dewi Sri, the godess of agriculture. The difference between the temples in the north and south of the island is striking. In the north the temples have only one altar, built on a terrace-shaped foundation built in brick, that is placed in a central courtyard, whereas the temples in the south have many small altars and meru-towers. The northern temples have much more elaborate decorations; every available wall is decorated with curls, roundings and arabesques, that give the sanctuary an almost baroque appearance. The magnificent gate of Pura Beji is guarded by naga-snakes, and the fearsome heads of the demon-like guards stare at you from all sides of the chaotically sculpted vegetation. At the entrance of the temple you can rent a scarf and sarong for a small amount of money. This is mandatory, together with a small donation.
Pura Uluwatu is located on the far end of Bukit Badung in the southwest of Bali. This temple is one of the sad kahyyangan, the 6 temples of the World – the most important temples of Bali. Not much is known about the history of Uluwatu, but it is clear that the most illustrious persons from Hindu-Balinese history have contributed to the development of the temple. The temple is inhabited by a group of monkeys that try to steal everything in sight, beware of your glasses, bags and hats! Every Wednesday and Saturday evening between 18.00 and 19.00 hrs the kecak dance is performed. In this breathtaking setting with the thunderous ocean in the backdrop, this is one of the best performances on the island.