Bali, an island in Indonesia, is not only famous for its tourist attraction and inhabitants of rich traditional culture but also the presence of the oldest Hindu temple in Bali.
Bali was inhabited around 2000 BCE by Austronesian, who were migrants from an island of Taiwan.
Therefore, the people of Indonesia greatly influence the culture and linguistics of the Balinese people.
Numerous locations on the island are present with ancient beauty and mesmerizing nature.
The name of the island was given by Sri Kesari Warmadewa, from Sansur in Bali, who named it Bali Dwipa in the year 913, which is from a Sanskrit word, meaning island of sacrifice, reincarnation or offer.
Bali is famously known for its budget tourist hotspot offering many activities like sightseeing, water sports, scuba diving as well as learning about the rich inherited culture.
Also, the island has many souvenir shops that are available in all tourist spots, making it distinct from other places.
Above all, Bali is also widely known for its festivals, which are celebrated all around the island with great enthusiasm.
Not only does the traditional festivals celebrated here to reveal their rich culture but also modern art exhibitions which encourage contemporary arts.
Some festivals are well-known for its deep-rooted tradition further leading to the celebration every day for 260 days around Bali.
Numerous resorts and hotels located in prominent locations providing tourists with the picturesque natural beauty of Bali.
However, most of the resorts and hotels are located near traveler spots making it convenient for the tourists.
The rates for temporary accommodation are certainly available at affordable prices.
We will know more about
- The oldest Hindu Temple
- Architecture of Hindu temple in Bali
- Architecture of Pura Besakih
- How to Reach the Besakih Temple
- Temple ticket charges
- Besakih Temple Entrance Time
- Temple Ceremony
- Highlights of the oldest Hindu temple
1. The oldest Hindu Temple in Bali
Besakih temple is the largest Hindu temple and it is also known as the Mother of all temples in Bali.
Also called Pura Besakih by the local people, it is said to be one of the oldest temples in Bali conveying vibes of the prehistoric culture of Bali.
The temples are located in a magnificent location as it gives an enthralling panoramic scenery of the temple until it meets the ocean.
Being the oldest temple, it holds the utmost significance and faith among the native people depicting the origins of the traditions here.
The temple is located in the countryside of the Besakih in the Rendang sub-district, Karangasem regency being in the eastern part of the island.
Therefore, the complex structure of the Pura Besakih temple consists of many individual temples, which sit on parallel ridges.
2. Architecture of Pura Besakih
The Pura Besakih temple has a total of 23 temples within a complex structure.
Moreover, the temple is located at a height of 3280 feet (1000 meter), which is standing on several parallel ridges alongside an active volcano with a pyramid of a staircase following up to the main gate of the temples.
Subsequently, a captivating view of the green rice paddies, hills surrounded by mountains and running streams, takes the breath away of those who witness it.
Besakih temple is a complex of at least 86 clan temples and shrines in the south-western in the slope of Mount Agung.
The three temples of Besakih most importantly symbolize the trinity of Hindu gods.
In the center, the white banner of the Penataran Agun represents Shiva, the destroyer.
Whereas on the right, the red banner depicts Brahma, the creator, which is at Pura Kiduling Kreteg.
Likewise, the black banner in the Pura Batu Madeg represents Vishnu, the preserver.
Hence, the largest temple among the complexes is Pura Penataran Agung, with different areas of the temples signifying the seven layers of the universe.
Meanwhile, in the east of Pura Pengubengan is Pura Batu Tirtha, from where the holy water originates for ‘Karaya Agung’ ceremonies at Pura Besakih and Pekerman village.
3. History of the oldest Hindu temple
Besakih, the Mother Temple in Bali is certainly the largest and oldest temple, but the accurate time of the construction is still uncertain.
In the 8th century, the Hindu monks announced his plan to build homes for the people during his time of isolation.
During the construction, many followers died of illness or accident.
Hence, the local people called the area Basuki, referring to the deity of the dragon Nagan Besukian, initially believed to inhabit Mount Agung.
Eventually, the name was changed into Besakih.
However, stories like these are nothing but legendary, which remains doubtful, and difficult to prove their historical accuracy.
In 1340, several other temples were also constructed.
Most importantly, Pura Besakih was declared the main temple when Bali was later conquered by the Majapahit Empire in 1343.
The stone base of Pura Penaatran Agung and several other temples corresponds to the megalithic stepped pyramid, which is said to date back more than 2000 years.
Meanwhile, the temple was majorly restored in 1917 after a devastating earthquake.
Subsequently, there had been many restorations in the temple due to various other natural calamities.
In 1963, a series of volcano eruptions from Mount Agung’s damaged the complex.
Moreover, the lava flowing path avoided the Pura Besakih, which led to locals believing deity has demonstrated their power.
4. How to Reach the Besakih Temple
Besakih temple is located in the northwest of Bali, which is in the village of Besakih which lies along the volcanic mountains.
The temples are located at an altitude of about 1000 meters in the southwestern slope of Mount Agung that can be easily reached.
The temple is about 68 Km or 2 hours drive from Ngurah Rai Airport, and 50 Km or 1.5 hours from the Ubud area.
There is no public transport to the area so it is better to advise renting a car or book a cab to the destination.
If you are coming from Kuta, Seminyak, Jimbaran, and Denpasar, and heading to Sanur, then take the Kusamba Bypass to Klungkung.
Head north through Klungkung, take the right-hand turnoff at Menanga to Besakih.
The journey from Kuta should take about 2 hours, depending on driver and traffic conditions.
5. Temple ticket charges
Visit the Besakih Temple (Pura Besakih) to need an entrance fee of IDR 60,000 (307 INR) per person for adults and IDR 30,000 (154 INR) per person for the kid.
The ticket can be bought at the ticket counter in the parking which is located just at the entrance gate of Pura Besakih.
The payment should be in cash of Indonesian Rupiah (IDR).
Try to abide by all the rules before going to the temple area. Additionally, be respectful every time during your visit.
Wear a sarong while visiting the temple complex, and make sure that bare knees and shoulders are not visible.
6. Besakih temple Entrance Time
As a place of worship, the temple complex remains open throughout the day.
However, visiting hours for tourists and sight-seeing is restricted from 8 am to 5 pm.
The best time to visit the temple is in the early morning or later in the evening, as it tends to be less busy during these times.
The temple ceremony (Odalan) falls on the 10th month of the Balinese calendar, in April.
If it is far away from your place of stay, try reaching Pura Besakih before 9 am.
The reason being tourist buses, which start to arrive making it crowded, and hence one may not experience the splendidness of the temple.
There are official guides available, for a small fee, to help you explore the temple. They wear symmetrically patterned batik shirts.
There is no obligation of hiring them as visitors are welcome to explore at their convenience and will.
7. Temple Ceremony
Besakih Temple (Pura Besakih) was nominated as a World Heritage Site in 1995, but until 2015 when it was revoked.
There are at least 70 ceremonies or religious celebrations held each year, as each shrine has its anniversary.
Similarly, there are major holidays based on the 210-day Balinese Hindu calendar system.
Pura Basukian, Pura Penataran Agung, and Pura Dalem Puri are the mothers of all village’s temples, namely Pura Puseh, Pura Desa, and Pura Dalem.
Their shrines contain religious literature and artifacts referring to how a temple must be built and likewise the history of the temple.
During the daytime, Besakih becomes very crowded in the tourist spot, with self-professed temple guards, touts, hawkers, and more.
Most importantly, you must wear a proper top, a sarong, and a sash abiding the rules of the temple.
You must visit the temples at early morning or in the evening.
Though the service of guides is not free, it is not expensive considering the size of the complex.
There is no obligation to hire a guide for tours around the complex.
If anyone does not have Sarongs and sashes, it is available for rent. They can also be purchased at stalls outside where bargaining is essential.
Women on their periods are forbidden entry.
8. Highlights of the oldest Hindu temple in Bali
Pura Besakih temple is one of the largest temples in Bali.
The temple is the oldest and it is called the Mother of all temples of Bali.
The temple is said to be divided into grand complex 86 clan temples around Pura Besakih temple.
The largest temple in Besakih is Pura Penatran Agung has different areas, which represent 7 layers of the Universe.
The 4 temples in the complex reflect the 4 deities which govern their respective compass point.
Mount Agung is the closest active volcano around Pura Besakih temple.
Ans 1. Indonesia is close to the equator though it doesn’t experience a summer or winter climate, it does experience a wet climate.
Ans 2. Pura Besakih temple is the oldest temple, which is believed to built-in the 9th century.
Ans 3. The distance between Pura Besakih and Ubud is around 57.6 km.
Ans 4. The Balinese worship god of trinity Braham, Shiva, and Vishnu.
Ans 5. There are lots of shops and restaurants around the Besakih temple.