Most Famous Temples in Bali

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In conjunction to its reputation as the Island of Gods, Bali is also recognized as the island of thousand temples. More than 20,000 Balinese temples and shrines can be found from the mountaintop to the shore. Those temples, known as pura, are built in accordance to the meticulous Balinese architecture which integrates technique, culture, art, and faith. Here is the list of the most famous temples in Bali curated by our Luxury Collection Concierge at The Laguna, a Luxury Collection Resort & Spa, NusaDua.

Pura Besakih, the Mother of All Temples


Famed as the ‘Mother of All Temples’, Pura Besakih is considered the most sacred temple in Bali for its reputation to be the oldest pura. Perched on around 3,000 feet up on the slopes of Mount Agung in East Bali, this temple’s axis align with the peak of the tallest mountain in Bali. The pura is a vast complex consolidating 23 separate temples, which become major draws for tourist and Balinese.

Pura Tanah Lot, the Temple in the Shore


The temple is famed for its unique offshore setting—standing on a solid rock structure located some distance away from the shore, making it looks as if it floats upon the ocean. Pura Tanah Lot is one of the most renowned tourist destinations in Bali with over a million yearly visitors. A local myth said that this temple of ‘land in the middle of the sea’ was built in the 15th century by High Priest Nirartha after spending a night on the place which eventually becomes the temple.

As you visit this temple which is located in Tabanan District, you can witness the sunset making an astonishing silhouette of the temple shrines against the crimson skies at the background.

Pura Ulun Danu Beratan, the Lake Temple

Ulundanu Temple

In terms of significance to Balinese culture, Pura Ulun Danu Beratan is second to Pura Besakih; but, it is first for the farmers in Bali. This water temple, which is located on the lakeshores of Beratan Lake, is built to worship the goddess of the lakes and rivers, Dewi Batari Ulun Danu, whose existence inspires the traditional irrigation system in Bali called subak. The architecture is one-of-a-kind; some part of the temple is located on the land and the other part is located above the lake, making it seems to drift away at the serene lake.

Pura Taman Ayun, the Temple of Beautiful Garden

Constructed during the reign of the King of Mengwi circa 1630, Pura Taman Ayun is originally a royal temple dedicated for the lineage of Mengwi royal family. The name of this pura means ‘a beautiful garden’ which elegantly describes the whole complex situated amidst an idyllic park with lush tropical garden and ponds. Pura Taman Ayun is also known for conserving picturesque structures inherited from the ancient Mengwi architecture.

Pura Goa Gajah, the Temple with a Face

There is surprisingly no real elephants found around Pura Goa Gajah, a temple in the vicinity of Ubud whose name literally means ‘Elephant Cave’. The temple’s name is actually derived from the name of a nearby river, Elephant River, which is morbidly free from elephants. The closest thing to elephant that you can find in this site is the statue of Hindu demi-god, Ganesha—a half-human, half-elephant deity. Goa Gajah’s most distinguishing feature is the temple’s entrance which is carved into a face with a broadly open mouth.

Pura Goa Lawah, the Temple inside a Bat Cave

In contrast to Pura Goa Gajah, Pura Goa Lawah whose name means ‘Bat Cave’ is a real habitat of bats who dwells inside the cave. Located in a district bordering Klungkung and Karangasem, the temple is a popular and ideal place for post-cremation purification for local Balinese families. According to a local tale, the cave in Pura Goa Lawah has a secret structure that extends over 19 miles and emerge at Pura Besakih, the Mother of all Temples.

Pura Gunung Kawi, the Temple on the Valley of the Kings

Pura Gunung Kawi, known as Bali’s own ‘valley of the kings’, is located in the vicinity of Tampaksiring. It is located between rice fields and is streamed by Tukad Pakerisan, a river believed to sanctify the temple. The temple is known for the colossal statues carved into a sheer cliff. The site consists of 10 shrines said to be memorial monuments for Balinese kings and queens from the 11th century

Pura Tirta Empul, the Sacred Spring Temple

Tirta Empul, whose name literally means ‘holy water spring’, is renowned for the sacred spring streaming down the temple to provide holy water for priests. Local people believe that bathing in the water of this temple might bring fortune, health and peace of mind; therefore, this temple is famed as a place of purification. In an ancient legend, it is said that the spring in Tirta Empul was created by Hindu god Indra as a medicinal water source to counter the poisonous spring created by evil demon king.

Pura Luhur Uluwatu, the Temple at the Edge of a Cliff

Pura Luhur Uluwatu is mostly known as the famous venue of fire kecak performance by the cliff against the background of Uluwatu sunset. More to it, Balinese people consider it as a major temple—one of the six nirvanas known as sad kahyangan. The temple perched on a cliff soaring 200 feet above the shore. The name ‘Uluwatu’ refers to the temple’s location “at the head of the rock.” From the temple, you can witness one of the most stunning views of cliffs breaking colossal waves.

Pura Luhur Lempuyang, the Temple above the Ground

Pura Luhur Lempuyang is also a one of Bali’s oldest and most regarded temples; it is also one part of the six sad kahyangan dedicated to the Supreme God, Sang Hyang Widi Wasa. The temple’s highest point is located far above the ground at 1,175m above the sea level; people need to walk up 1,700 steps for approximately an hour and a half to reach the top of it. This temple is located in East Bali and is accessible from Candidasa. From this pura, visitors can behold the majestic view of Mount Agung framed by the temple gate.

Make your Bali’s to-go list more captivating with some visits to those wonderful temples. Let the Luxury Collection Concierge unlock an unrivaled travel experience while discovering the majestic wonder of Balinese culture.

For more information about destination in Bali, please contact The Luxury Collection Concierge.

T +62 361 771327

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