Discover the enchanting majesty of Gunung Kawi Rocky Temple, a renowned Bali treasure that will transport you to a realm of ancient wonder. To reach this remarkable archaeological site, embark on a breathtaking journey down a mystical valley, descending a couple hundred steps that lead you deeper into the heart of history. Along the way, you will encounter charming shops offering a delightful array of typical tourist souvenirs, but also housing hidden gems like exquisite coconut shell carvings and bone masterpieces. While bone carvings can be found across Bali, their origins lie in the very village that surrounds this sacred temple. Skilled artisans, with their unmatched talent for intricately carving bone and even ivory, hail from this very region.
As you venture further into the valley, a mesmerizing panorama will unfold before your eyes, captivating your senses with the sheer beauty of the surroundings. Nature’s masterpiece, the valley’s idyllic vistas, will leave an indelible mark on your soul as you approach the awe-inspiring Gunung Kawi Rocky Temple.
The journey to the temple begins in Tampaksiring village, where the crossroad to Tirta Empul beckons. Embark on a small path that meanders towards the enchanting Pakerisan River for a picturesque quarter of an hour. There, nestled amidst this harmonious melding of nature and history, you will find Gunung Kawi.
While ascending towards the temple from the main Tampaksiring highway, prepare yourself for an enchanting descent down the steps that lead to the temple complex. At the end of the stairs, pass through a stone archway adorned with miniature pillars, each delicately holding an earthen vase filled with holy water. Before entering the complex, sprinkle this sacred water upon yourself, embracing the spiritual energy that resonates throughout the sanctuary.
Within the temple, small stone caves unfold as tranquil meditation sites, sites that once provided solace and introspection for Buddhist monks. The peaceful coexistence of Buddhism and Balinese spirituality is a testament to the rich history that permeates this sacred space. Emanating tranquility and serenity, Pura Gunung Kawi, the functional temple courtyard resting beside the rock shrine complex, captivates visitors with its profound spiritual aura. Surrounded by various shrines and centered around a magnificent pavilion, or bale, typical of Balinese temples, this space invites you to immerse yourself in its divine energy.
Before visiting the temple complex, remember to don proper attire, adorning yourself with a sarong cloth and a sash around your waist, in reverence to the temple’s sacred traditions. Additionally, it is important for women to refrain from visiting or entering the Gunung Kawi Temple complex during their menstruation periods. Fear not, as sashes and sarongs are available for rent at a booth located before the steps that descend into the valley.
The temple complex adorns itself during its annual piodalan temple anniversary, a vibrant celebration that occurs every year following the Purnama Katiga, or the third full moon on the Balinese calendar. These festivities create a festive and exotic backdrop, inviting you to capture captivating photographs that will serve as cherished memories for years to come. It is worth noting that a similarly named temple, Gunung Kawi Sebatu, awaits approximately 4.5 km northwest of this magnificent site.
Delve into the historical tapestry that adorns Gunung Kawi Rocky Temple, where enigmatic origins and intricate details intertwine. The name itself hints at a connection to poetry and literature, and the cliff-carved rivers of the Pakerisan River showcase a mesmerizing backdrop for the temple. Though the true meaning behind the name remains shrouded in mystery, its significance in Balinese history is undeniable. This complex, consisting of five smaller complexes and six temple complexes, reveals a tale of royal deification. The eastern slope of the river houses two complexes, harmoniously facing their counterparts on the western slope, with the river symbolizing the division between the king and queen or their concubines. The king’s complex comprises three beautifully crafted stone temples, while the queen’s complex boasts four majestic temples. Only the temple dedicated to the king includes an inscription, bearing the poignant mention of his death in Jalu. Jalu, evoking imagery of sharp little weapons, such as the kris or spurs used in their cockfighting battles, further adds to the mystique of this site.
To embark on this unforgettable journey to Gunung Kawi Rocky Temple, acquire an entrance ticket for IDR 50,000 for adults and IDR 25,000 for children. The temple stands ready to embrace you from 08.00 AM to 06.00 PM, extending an invitation to experience the profound beauty and history etched within its sacred walls. Let the allure of this mystical sanctuary cast its spell upon you, ensuring memories that will endure for a lifetime.