Gunung Kawi Temple in Bali is no doubt different from most temples in general. All thanks to the 7-meter rock-cut shrines carved in the face of a towering cliff! No wonder Gunung Kawi Temple becomes a must-visit when everyone lands in Bali. Even Barrack Obama also chose to visit this temple back in 2017 during his family trip.
Many believe that the temples were remains from the 11th century. Only after hundred years later, a Dutch researcher, H.T. Damste found this temple. The gems were discovered in Desa Tampaksiring at the northeast of Ubud in 1920.
Situated on the river valley, it should be no surprise that the path down offers a magnificent view of nature’s luxury. There are about 315 stairs anyone needs to walk through before entering the mystical complex. However, the beautiful sight of forests and rice terraces will make the effort worth it.
Massive Carved Temples in Gunung Kawi Temple
Tale says that King Anak Wungsu was the one who built the temples. He made it a tribute to his father, King Udayana, and the whole Warmadewa Dynasty. As a result, there are ten temples spread across three directions–east, west, and south.
Uniquely, the design of its architecture is different from the usual Balinese temples. The reason, as stated in history, is the King references were East Java’s temple characteristics.
The east and west part are divided by the holy Pakerisan River facing each other. King Udayana and his family’s shrines dominate the east, thus turning it into the main area.
Meanwhile, the west area becomes the secondary highlight as a tribute to the king’s concubines. The south area separates itself far in Bukit Gundul area. About 500 meters walk from the west.
More Treasures to Explore
Gunung Kawi Temple also functioned as a meditation site in the past for monks and priests. Seems like it was one of the reasons why the surrounding air is very sacred to this day.
Even though the place itself is an open nature that is perfect for meditation. They instead meditated in a hollow inside the carved cliff. There is nothing inside but windows and holes on the ceiling to support circulation.
Right across the river, there is a temple local refer to as Pura Gunung Kawi. Unlike the main shrines, it showcases a typical Balinese temple courtyard with shrines surrounding the bale or main pavilion.
Locals still use this as a corner for daily prayers and offerings. Therefore, there are many locals carrying tall, heavy offerings over their heads around the area.
When exploring the area, find a way to Gunung Kawi Temple’s mini waterfall. It hides in the opposite direction of the temple’s main site. Somewhere close to the temple located at the south.
To get to the waterworks, anyone should walk through bush trees away from the crowd. However, the quietness at the site compares to nothing. Making it a perfect place for travelers who wish to breathe and enjoy silence.
Ritual in Gunung Kawi Temple
Behind the massive archeological discovery, there lies solid sacredness and spiritual values. History even tells that the great King Udayana’s ash was there buried inside the land. That adds mystical value to Gunung Kawi Temple as one of the most sacred temples in Bali. For that reason, locals regularly hold rituals, ceremonies, and festivals in this place.
The most famous ceremony is Piodalan or the annual celebration of the holy site. Locals hold it once every year on the third full moon of the Balinese Calendar. On this day, festive decorations will beautify each corner of the temple’s area. This is when travelers often rush over to witness the magical view themselves.
Historical Tour in Gunung Kawi Temple
The valuable history of Gunung Kawi Temple is not something everyone should miss. There are many stories and beliefs to discover inside. Starting from the kingdom history all the way to how it functions in the past. Even to how Hindunese uses it in the present days.
To travelers’ rescue, tour guides are always around to help. The locals are properly provided with a great historical background to tell.
Booking a personal tour service with a fixed price prior to arrival can be a convenient option. However, there are also tour guides to hire at the site’s entrance. There is not a certain price range to it. Thus, visitors should prepare to bargain for the best rate.
Swing to Majestic View of Gunung Kawi Temple
The main areas alone are indeed enough to explore. But travelers should enjoy the iconic Ubud’s greeneries too. It works wonders how a picturesque green sight can do so much to the mind. Hence, to help visitors appreciate it better, this place recently opens a swing service. That allows anyone to swing into the overlay of rice terraces and forests.
Those who do not favor extreme activity should be at peace. A seat belt complements the classic swing for all rider’s safety. Honestly speaking, Bali swing is the experience travelers look for when on the island. Therefore, it is safe to say not to miss this experience for good.
Gunung Kawi Temple Opening Hours
Gunung Kawi Temple is open to the public every day from 8 AM to 6 PM. To get the best experience, visitors can visit in the morning where the air is most fresh. And the place is not crowded in the early hours.
|Gunung Kawi Temple Opening Hours|
|Monday-Sunday except during Nyepi||08:00 – 18:00 WITA|
Gunung Kawi Temple Entrance Fee
The entrance fee for international tourists is Rp50.000 for adult and Rp25.000 for children. And the only payment method is cash. The fee includes sarong rent that will be provided for each guest at the entrance gate.
|Gunung Kawi Temple Entrance Fee|
|Parking fee for scooter||Rp2.000|
|Parking fee for car||Rp5.000|
As applied in most of Balinese’s sacred places, visitors should wear proper attire to enter. With most travelers coming in summer pieces, sarong and sash rental are available at the entrance. There is no fixed price to rent but only a spare of donation. Lastly, please note that women or period are not allowed to enter the area.
On the way down to Gunung Kawi Temple’s main area, visitors will find souvenir shops that sell Balinese’s art crafts. Somewhere in between, there are also restaurants or food stalls to stop by. The most essential facility, which is toilet, is also available in the area. Therefore, travelers can wander around comfortably.
How To Get To Gunung Kawi Temple
Being in Ubud, there are not much public transportations to use. Most travelers have to take the taxi, rent a car, or simply walk from site to site. Getting to Gunung Kawi Temple from Ubud Center is accessible only with private car or motorbike. Unfortunately, there is no shuttle yet that operates.
Ride-hail app is available around the area, although not often. One-way car ride should cost around Rp90.000. Meanwhile, the motorbike ride is obviously cheaper around Rp55.000 per way.
If ride-hail app is difficult to track, taking local taxi is another option. Costs starting from Rp50.000 from the center. It may depend on the type of taxi, though. Hence, prepare for flexible range of price when travelling in Ubud. The second choice is to take local ojek or motorbike service starting approximately from Rp50.000.
Address & Location
The temple location is in Jl. Gunung Kawi, Tampaksiring district. Gianyar Bali 80552.