Gunung Kawi is an 11th-century temple in Tampaksiring that is spread across either side of the Pakerisan river. It comprises 10 rock-cut shrines that are carved into 7-metre-high. Sheltered niches of the sheer cliff face. Carved by hand into the hillside rocks a thousand years ago, this temple showcased the worshippers’ determination in an ancient time. There are four groups of buildings sculptured, three temples and a Buddhist temple on the Gunung Kawi. This is presumed to be the burial complex of King Anak Wungsu and his many wives.
This temple, known as the “Valley of the Kings” is beautifully located in a river valley surrounded by beautiful rice fields, forest and river. You first along a steep staircase to walk down. Along the way you will have stunning views of the valley and rice fields. As you walk through the stone entrance turn left to view five magnificent 7 meter high statutes. If you look directly across the boulder strewn creek, you’ll see the other four shrines. Reached by climbing down 300 steps, the location at the bottom of a steep valley lined with paddy fields is quite stunning. The structures are carved into the sides of a steep river valley, and the river crossed by twisting trees and vines
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Tirta Empul Temple at Tampak Siring is one of the prominent temples in Ubud. It is considered as holy mountain spring and serves as a legendary setting for a traditional tale of good versus evil and is a national cultural heritage site. The temple complex was built circa 960 AD. It serves as a silent witness of the old Balinese kingdom years. Tirta Empul means “holy water spring” is actually the name of the water source that is passing within the temple. The water feeds adjoining purification pools, baths and fish ponds surrounding the outer complex which then all flow to the Tukad Pakerisan River. Another prominent and nearby site on top of a hill beside the temple complex is the presidential palace, Istana Tampaksiring, built during the years of the Indonesia’s first president, Sukarno.
The central shrines are under a traditional nipa hut roof. There is a pool with fountains spouting water into it. The water of the pool is drained into another pool which has huge number of multi-colored big koi circling around. Aside from the temple, Balinese often go here because of the sacred pool, which is also the reason for the temple being where it is.
The legend that is associated with the temple narrates how the pool of water was created by Lord Indra. There is a war between the evil king Mayadewana and the deity, Lord Indra, who is summoned by a priest to come down and help the people get rid of the tyranny. During the night Mayadewana enters the camp of his would-be destroyers treading on the sides of his feet so as to leave no footprints and creates a pool of poisoned water. (Tampak Siring means without imprints.) Next morning, the soldiers of Lord Indra drink the water and got ill. Lord Indra strikes the ground with his followers and creates a spring of fresh water which cures the illness of the soldiers.
The spring is still flowing and its water runs into the Tirtha Empul. It is still believed to have healing powers. Pilgrims come from far and near to bathe in the pool to cleanse their body spiritually, mentally and physically.
Pack your bathing suit and experience the springs as the Balinese do. Ducking your head under each of the 13 holy springs, feel the significance of the waters as they cleanse your past and you emerge ready to create the future. Adventurous Bali will provides all necessary offerings if you wish to experience this Balinese purification ritual.
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Goa Garba is located in Banjar Sawa Gunung, Pejeng Kelod village, Tampaksiring, Gianyar, Bali. It is situated 400 meters above sea level, lies under the Pengukur-Ukuran Temple, above the Pakerisan River. On this site there is a hermitage carved out of the cliff, which was believed to be the meditation place of Mahapatih Kebo Iwa. It is a natural site that exudes calm. Even to this day, Goa Garba is frequented as a place of meditation. It is estimated to have been built in the 12th century during the reign of King Jaya Pangus.
The story about the existence of Goa Garba was inseparable with Mahapatih Kebo Iwa. In the Kingdom of Bedahulu, there lived a very strong person named Kebo Iwa, the descendant of Arya Karang Buncing. When Kebo Iwa aspired to be the Mahapatih of the Kingdom, he had to demonstrate his powers before he was permitted to assume the position. His abilities were tested by a number of figures in the kingdom considered to have magical powers. Nobody was able to beat Kebo Iwa, not even the prime minister, Ki Pasung Grigis.
Goa Garba is a pasraman (a place to learn Hinduism). It is believed to have once been a place to test one’s power if they wished to be a leader. Goa means “cave” and Garba means “in the belly of the earth”. There are two paths leading to Goa Garba. Visitors can choose whether to enter the site through the main path of the Pengukur-Ukuran Temple, or the one that leads directly to the entrance to this historic site.
Upon entering the cave, visitors will find several large rocks. On one of these stones lies a footprint larger than that of an average adult. Locals believe it was the footprint of Kebo Iwa. There is a small area that where water, which comes from the nearby hot springs, can be seen dripping from the surface. When meditating here, people will sit facing east, toward the splashing water. The dripping water is symbolizes the God Vishnu.
Located approximately 10 kilometers from Central Ubud, this site is quite accessible and is only a 20-minute drive from Central Ubud.
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This was the palace of the kings of Ubud until the 1940s, and it’s still inhabited by the last king’s descendants. Parts of the complex are off limits to the public, but entry to the rest is free. You can wander around most of the large compound exploring the many traditional and not excessively ornate buildings. If you really like it, you can stay the night. Take time to appreciate the stone carvings, many by noted local artists like I Gusti Nyoman Lempad. If you visit this palace on Sunday morning you will see Ubud girls and boys learn Balinese dance from 9am till 10.30am. Ubud Palace is also Ubud’s best setting for dance performances every night.
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