History of Pura Besakih Temple

Pura Besakih Temple, also known as the “Mother Temple of Bali,” holds great significance in Balinese culture and religion. The temple’s history dates back more than a thousand years and is intertwined with ancient myths and legends.

Besakih Mother Temple, Art and Culture Private Tour

Ancient Myths and Legends

According to Balinese folklore, Pura Besakih was built on the suggestion of a jenggala (spiritual deity) named Markandya. Markandya believed that the northern slopes of Mount Agung were a sacred location that should be used for religious purposes. He requested the god Besakih to bring water to this dry land and create a temple. The god granted his wish, thus opening the way for the construction of Pura Besakih.

The Construction of Pura Besakih

The construction of Pura Besakih began in the 11th century, during the reign of King Sri Candra Singha Warmadewa. The temple complex was built on a site that was already considered holy due to the presence of smaller temples. The architecture of Pura Besakih showcases the unique Balinese style, with its intricate stone carvings and elegant pagodas.

Over centuries, Pura Besakih went through various additions and renovations, expanding its complex to include more than 86 temples. Today, the temple complex covers an area of 3,840 square meters and stands as a magnificent testament to Balinese architecture and spirituality.

Pura Besakih’s Spiritual Significance

Pura Besakih is considered the holiest and most important temple in Bali. It is dedicated to the Hindu trinity of Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva, along with other deities. The temple is a place where Balinese Hindus come to worship, make offerings, and seek blessings for various aspects of their lives.

Inside the temple complex, you can find different types of temples, each with its own purpose. The Pura Penempahan is a place of prayer for those seeking harmonious relationships, while the Pura Kiduling Kreteg is dedicated to the water goddess Dewi Danu. Other notable temples include the Pura Basukian, Pura Menjangan, and Pura Dalem.

A Magical Location

Located on the southwestern slopes of Mount Agung, Pura Besakih offers stunning views of the surrounding landscapes. The temple is situated at an elevation of approximately 1,000 meters above sea level. The mountain’s towering presence, lush greenery, and cool climate create a serene and mystical ambiance that adds to the temple’s allure.

Visiting Pura Besakih is a must for those interested in exploring Bali’s rich cultural heritage. The temple complex provides a glimpse into the religious customs and traditions of the Balinese people.

Getting to Pura Besakih

Depending on your location in Bali, there are different ways to reach Pura Besakih. From popular vacation spots like Kuta or Ubud, taking a private tour or hiring a driver is the most convenient option. The temple is approximately 50 kilometers away from Kuta and 35 kilometers from Ubud.

If you prefer public transportation, you can take a bus or minibus from Kuta or Ubud to the closest town, Desa Besakih. From there, you can either take a taxi or walk to the temple. Desa Besakih is the starting point for the climb up to Pura Besakih, and it also offers accommodation options like homestays.

While visiting Pura Besakih, it is recommended to dress modestly and follow the temple etiquette. Be respectful of the religious nature of the site and try to avoid visiting during religious ceremonies, as the crowds can be large.

As with any trip in Bali, it’s always good to check the weather forecast beforehand and plan your visit accordingly. Additionally, bring water, as the climb to the temple can be strenuous, and there are limited drink stalls along the way.

In conclusion, Pura Besakih Temple is a must-visit site for anyone interested in exploring Bali’s rich cultural and spiritual heritage. Its historical significance, impressive architecture, and magical location make it a truly unique and iconic destination in Southeast Asia.

Architecture and Design of Pura Besakih Temple

The architecture and design of Pura Besakih Temple are truly awe-inspiring. Located on the slopes of Mount Agung, this majestic temple complex is a must-visit for those on a trip to Bali. The temple is surrounded by lush rice paddies and offers breathtaking views of the fertile valleys below.

As worshippers climb up the temple steps, they are greeted with ornate gateways, known as “pura penataran agung”. These gateways are adorned with intricate carvings and statues, depicting scenes from Hindu epics. The temple complex is divided into different sections, each representing a different aspect of Hinduism.

At the highest point of the complex sits the main temple, Pura Penataran Agung. This temple is dedicated to the Hindu trinity and is said to be the seat of the mountain’s guardian spirit, Gunung Agung. Here, worshippers can sometimes also witness yoga and meditation sessions, as well as traditional Balinese dance performances.

The Merajan Selonding

Another important structure within the temple complex is the Merajan Selonding. This shrine is dedicated to the Gods of Death and is where the Balinese people perform their funeral rites. It is believed that the spirits of the deceased reside here before being released into the spiritual realm.

When planning a visit to Pura Besakih, it is best to arrange tours or hire a guide to fully appreciate the significance and history of the temple complex. Indonesian and deutschsprachige guides are available, and they can provide clear information about the temple’s architecture, rituals, and beliefs.

It is important to note that Pura Besakih is an active place of worship, so visitors should dress respectfully and follow any instructions given by temple staff. Women who are menstruating are not allowed to enter the temple, as it is considered impure.

Getting to Pura Besakih

To get to Pura Besakih, visitors can take a bus or hire a driver from any major city in Bali. The temple is located in the eastern part of the island, about 3 kilometers from the town of Klungkung. The nearest city is Candidasa, which is a popular tourist destination.

If you’re planning a day trip to Pura Besakih, it is recommended to bring your own water, as there are limited options for purchasing drinks within the temple complex. Also, make sure to bring a map or use a GPS device to guide you, as the roads can be confusing.

In conclusion, the architecture and design of Pura Besakih Temple are truly iconic and have become a major attraction for tourists in Bali. Whether you’re interested in Hinduism, history, or simply want to enjoy the breathtaking views, a visit to Pura Besakih is a must when traveling to Bali.

Spiritual Significance of Pura Besakih Temple

Pura Besakih, also known as the Mother Temple of Bali, holds immense spiritual significance for the Balinese people. This temple complex, located in the village of Besakih on the slopes of Mount Agung, is the largest and holiest temple on the island.

The temple is a place of worship for the Balinese Hindu community and is frequented by both locals and tourists from all over the world. It is believed to be the center of spiritual power in Bali and is said to have been built in the 8th century by the holy man Rsi Markandeya.

The temple complex consists of multiple temples, each dedicated to a different Hindu deity. The most important temple within the complex is Pura Penataran Agung, which is dedicated to Shiva, the destroyer of evil. Other temples include Pura Kiduling Kreteg, Pura Batu Madeg, and Pura Batu Madeg, each with its own unique significance.

Visitors to Pura Besakih can witness various religious ceremonies taking place throughout the year. The Balinese Hindu calendar is filled with religious festivals, and the temple complex is often the focal point of these events. It is advisable to check the calendar in order to plan your visit during a ceremony, as these are truly spectacular and provide a unique insight into Balinese culture and spirituality.

One of the most important ceremonies at Pura Besakih is the Basukian ceremony, held once every ten years in March. This ceremony is a major event where thousands of worshippers come to the temple to seek blessings and perform various rituals. Another significant ceremony is the Gua Selonding ceremony, which involves a purification ritual where worshippers collect holy water from a sacred spring.

When visiting Pura Besakih, it is important to dress respectfully and be mindful of local customs. Legs and shoulders should be covered, and sarongs and sashes can be rented at the entrance. It is also advisable to hire a knowledgeable guide who can explain the significance of the temple and its various inscriptions.

Tourists should be aware of scams and touts around Pura Besakih. Be cautious of anyone offering to be your guide without proper identification, and avoid making any donations to unauthorized individuals. As with any popular tourist site, it is important to be vigilant and be aware of your surroundings.

The temple complex itself is a stunning architectural marvel, with its terraced levels and grand entrance gate. The complex is spread over a vast area and can be quite tiring to explore, so make sure to wear comfortable footwear and bring a hat and sunscreen to protect yourself from the sun.

Located approximately 3 kilometers from the nearest town, Pura Besakih is easily accessible by car or motorbike. It is recommended to arrive early in the morning to avoid the crowds, and it is best to visit during the dry season to fully enjoy the temple and its surroundings.

In conclusion, Pura Besakih holds deep spiritual significance for the Balinese people and is a must-visit destination for anyone seeking a deeper understanding of Balinese culture and spirituality. With its stunning architecture, rich history, and vibrant religious ceremonies, a visit to Pura Besakih is sure to be a memorable experience.

Rituals and Ceremonies at Pura Besakih Temple

Pura Besakih Temple, widely regarded as the mother temple of Bali, is a complex of temples located on the slope of Mount Agung. With its iconic temples and unique architecture, Pura Besakih is a must-visit destination for any visitor to Bali.

But what makes Pura Besakih truly special is the rich history of rituals and ceremonies that take place here. The temple is home to various religious activities and festivals that are deeply rooted in Hinduism, the predominant religion on the island.

What Rituals and Ceremonies Can You See at Pura Besakih?

Depending on the time of your visit, you might have the opportunity to witness some of the temple’s most important rituals and ceremonies. Here are a few examples:

How to Plan Your Visit to Pura Besakih Temple

If you’re interested in experiencing the rituals and ceremonies at Pura Besakih, it’s best to plan your visit accordingly. Here are a few tips to help you make the most of your trip:

Visiting Pura Besakih Temple is a unique and immersive experience. Whether you’re captivated by the impressive architecture, curious about Hindu rituals, or simply seeking a spiritual connection, Pura Besakih offers a glimpse into the heart of Balinese culture and tradition. Don’t miss the opportunity to explore this sacred site during your visit to Bali.

Visiting Pura Besakih Temple: What to Expect

When visiting Pura Besakih Temple, there are a few things you should know beforehand to fully enjoy your experience. Here are some recommendations:

With these tips in mind, you can now plan your visit to Pura Besakih Temple and have a memorable experience exploring this iconic Balinese site.

Dress Code and Etiquette at Pura Besakih Temple

Visiting Pura Besakih, also known as the Mother Temple of Bali, requires following a specific dress code and adhering to proper etiquette. Whether you’re a first-time visitor or a seasoned traveler, it’s essential to respect the sacredness of this iconic site.

When preparing for your visit to Pura Besakih, it’s important to dress appropriately. Both men and women should wear traditional Balinese attire or clothes that cover their shoulders and knees. Sarongs and scarves are usually available for rent or purchase at the temple entrance if you don’t have your own.

Etiquette at Pura Besakih goes beyond clothing choices. As a place of worship, it’s crucial to be respectful and mindful of the spiritual significance to the Balinese Hindus. Keep in mind that photography might not be allowed in certain areas, so be sure to ask for permission before taking any pictures.

When you arrive at Pura Besakih, you’ll notice its unique stone terraces that climb up the slopes of Mount Agung. The temple complex consists of different temples, each with its own purpose. The Pura Penataran Agung, often called the Great Temple of State, is the holiest and most important temple in Pura Besakih.

Pura Besakih is located in the village of Besakih, approximately 2.5 hours’ drive from the major tourist areas in Bali. It’s advisable to plan your visit early in the morning to avoid the traffic and crowds that may accumulate throughout the day.

Directions: From Denpasar, head east on Jl. Bypass Ngurah Rai until you reach Klungkung. From Klungkung, take the Semarapura-Besakih road, and follow the signs that will lead you to Pura Besakih.
Parking: There is a parking area available for visitors near Pura Basukian.
Entrance Fee: There is no official entrance fee, but a small donation is customary.

If you’re unsure about how to navigate Pura Besakih during your visit, hiring a knowledgeable guide can be beneficial. Guides can provide informative explanations about the temple’s history, myths, and rituals. They can also help you navigate through the complex network of temples, ensuring you don’t miss any important landmarks.

While at Pura Besakih, you might wonder about the eruptions of Mount Agung, which is just one kilometer away. The Balinese Hindus believe that the temple remains untouched by volcanic activity due to blessings from the Gods. This belief in the protective power of Pura Besakih has been proven during several eruptions of Mount Agung throughout history.

Before planning your trip to Pura Besakih, check the official websites or consult with your hotel or homestay about any specific requirements or restrictions. It’s also important to note that women who are menstruating are not allowed to enter the temple out of respect for Balinese Hindu traditions.

Pura Besakih is not only a holy site but also a nominee for UNESCO World Heritage status. Its rich history, architectural beauty, and cultural significance make it one of Bali’s must-visit attractions. So, make sure to include Pura Besakih in your itinerary to experience the spiritual essence and panoramic views that this majestic temple offers.

Guided Tours of Pura Besakih Temple

Visiting Pura Besakih Temple on your own can be overwhelming due to its vast size and complex layout. That’s why many visitors opt for guided tours, which offer a comprehensive and informative experience of this iconic Balinese temple.

What to Expect on a Guided Tour

Besakih Mother Temple, Art and Culture Private Tour

A guided tour of Pura Besakih Temple usually starts with a brief introduction about the temple’s history and significance. You will learn about the unique architecture of the temple complex, its terraces, and the worship rituals performed by the Balinese people.

During the tour, your guide will take you through the different areas of the temple, pointing out the various important sites and explaining their cultural and religious significance. You will also get the chance to witness some of the daily ceremonies and rituals being performed by the worshippers.

Tour Options and Ticket Information

There are various tour options available for visiting Pura Besakih Temple. Some tours only focus on the temple itself, while others include additional stops at nearby attractions like Gunung Batur or the Besakih Village.

Ticket prices for guided tours vary depending on the tour operator and the length of the tour. It is advisable to book your tour in advance to secure your spot.

How to Find a Guided Tour

You can find guided tours to Pura Besakih Temple through local tour agencies, hotels in Bali, or online travel websites. It is recommended to choose a reputable tour operator to ensure a quality experience.

When booking a guided tour, make sure to ask about the tour itinerary, the duration of the tour, and any additional inclusions or exclusions. It is also important to clarify the transportation arrangements and whether the tour includes pick-up and drop-off services from your hotel in Bali.

Besakih Mother Temple, Art and Culture Private Tour

Remember to wear appropriate clothing when visiting the temple, as it is a sacred site. Women should cover their shoulders and both men and women should wear a sarong to cover their legs. Sarongs are usually available for rent or purchase at the temple’s entrance.

It is important to note that Pura Besakih Temple can get crowded, especially during religious festivals and on weekends. If you prefer a more peaceful and quieter experience, consider visiting early in the morning or late in the evening.

There’s a parking area available near the temple entrance, and parking fees may apply. It is advisable to arrive early to secure a spot, especially during peak hours.

Guided tours of Pura Besakih Temple offer a great opportunity to learn about the rich history and cultural significance of this sacred site. Whether you are a first-time visitor to Bali or a seasoned traveler, exploring the temple with a knowledgeable guide will enhance your understanding and appreciation of the island’s spiritual traditions.

Nearby Attractions and Activities

Located in the southeastern part of Bali, Pura Besakih Temple is surrounded by several other attractions and activities that you can explore during your visit. Here are some of the must-see sites and experiences near the temple:

Gunung Agung

As you drive towards Pura Besakih Temple, you can’t miss the majestic presence of Gunung Agung, Bali’s highest and most sacred volcanic mountain. If you’re a nature enthusiast, consider climbing this mountain early in the morning to catch the breathtaking sunrise and enjoy the panoramic views from the top.


If you’re planning a trip to Pura Besakih Temple, you should also include a visit to Peninjoan, a village located on the western slopes of Gunung Agung. Here, you can explore traditional Balinese countryside, witness locals’ daily way of life, and enjoy the beautiful sceneries.

Gunung Kawi Sebatu Temple

Located in the northeastern part of the island, Gunung Kawi Sebatu Temple is another Hindu temple worth visiting. The temple is situated among lush green gardens and features stunning ancient architecture. Take some time to walk around the temple and soak in the tranquility of this sacred site.

Tirta Empul Temple

Just a short drive from Pura Besakih Temple, Tirta Empul Temple is a holy water temple that holds significant importance to the Balinese people. The temple is known for its ritual bathing pools, where locals and visitors can participate in purifying ceremonies.


If you’re a fan of stunning natural landscapes, a trip to Kintamani is a must. Located on the western edge of the caldera overlooking Mount Batur, this area offers breathtaking views of the volcano and the crater lake. Consider having a meal at one of the many restaurants with a view while enjoying the scenic beauty.

These are just a few of the many attractions and activities that you can do around Pura Besakih Temple. Whether you’re interested in exploring nature, immersing yourself in the local culture, or simply admiring the beauty of Bali, there is something for everyone in the vicinity of this renowned temple.

Best Time to Visit Pura Besakih Temple

When planning a visit to Pura Besakih Temple, it’s natural to wonder about the best time to go. Here are a few factors to consider:

Weather and Crowds

The weather in Bali is generally warm and tropical year-round, but the best time to visit Pura Besakih Temple is during the dry season which runs from April to September. This period offers clear skies and less rainfall, making it ideal for exploring the temple grounds and enjoying the breathtaking views.

However, keep in mind that these months are also popular among tourists, so expect more crowds and longer queues. To avoid the rush, it’s recommended to visit early in the morning when the temple opens.

Religious Ceremonies and Festivals

Pura Besakih Temple is considered the holiest temple in Bali and is an active place of worship for the local Balinese Hindus. If you’re interested in witnessing traditional ceremonies and festivals, plan your visit during important religious dates such as Galungan and Kuningan. These events offer a unique glimpse into the rich cultural heritage of Bali.

Dress Code

When visiting Pura Besakih Temple, it’s important to dress respectfully. Both men and women are required to wear a sarong and a waist sash. If you don’t have your own, you can rent them at the entrance. Wearing appropriate attire shows respect for the temple and the local customs.

Tips for Exploring the Temple

Here are a few tips to make the most of your visit to Pura Besakih Temple:

By keeping these tips in mind, you’ll have a safe and enriching experience exploring the iconic Pura Besakih Temple.

How to Get to Pura Besakih Temple

Getting to Pura Besakih Temple in Bali, Indonesia, is a relatively straightforward process. Depending on where you are located on the island, there are a few transportation options available.

If you aren’t familiar with the area or don’t feel comfortable driving yourself, hiring a driver is a suitable option. They are experienced in navigating the roads and can ensure a safe and hassle-free journey. You can ask your hotel or homestay to arrange a driver for you, or you can find one on your own. Just make sure to negotiate the price and clearly communicate your destination.

Another option is to join a guided tour that includes a visit to Pura Besakih Temple. There are many tour operators in Bali that offer organized trips to popular sites, including Pura Besakih Temple. These tours often include transportation, a guide, and additional stops at other attractions in the area.

If you prefer to explore on your own, you can rent a scooter or car and make your own way to Pura Besakih Temple. Just be aware that driving in Bali can be challenging, especially for those unfamiliar with the local traffic rules and customs. Make sure to wear a helmet if you choose to ride a scooter, and always obey the rules of the road.

Pura Besakih Temple is located in the village of Besakih, on the slope of Mount Agung in eastern Bali. It is roughly a two-hour drive from the popular tourist areas in the southwest part of the island, such as Kuta and Seminyak. The temple complex is surrounded by beautiful rice paddies and offers stunning panoramic views of the surrounding area.

When visiting Pura Besakih Temple, it’s important to dress appropriately out of respect for the local Balinese Hinduism. You should wear a sarong and sash, which can be rented or purchased at the temple entrance. Additionally, remember to remove your shoes before entering the temple grounds.

Before going to Pura Besakih Temple, it’s also worth checking the temple’s opening hours, as they can vary depending on the Balinese calendar and related religious events. Make sure to plan your visit accordingly to ensure that it aligns with the temple’s opening times.

Once you arrive at Pura Besakih Temple, you will need to purchase a ticket to enter the temple complex. The ticket price includes a guide who will give you a tour of the temple and explain its history and significance. It’s customary to tip the guide at the end of the tour, so make sure to have some small denominations of Indonesian Rupiah ready.

In conclusion, getting to Pura Besakih Temple can be an adventure in itself. Whether you decide to hire a driver, join a tour, or tackle the roads on your own, the journey to this magical temple is definitely worth it. Just make sure to plan ahead, dress appropriately, and be prepared to immerse yourself in the rich Balinese culture and spirituality.

Frequently asked questions:

What is Pura Besakih Temple?

Pura Besakih Temple, also known as the Mother Temple of Bali, is the largest and holiest Hindu temple in Bali, Indonesia. It is perched on the slopes of Mount Agung, the highest volcano in Bali. The temple complex consists of more than 80 individual temples, each dedicated to a specific god or goddess in the Balinese Hindu pantheon.

How do I get to Pura Besakih Temple?

To get to Pura Besakih Temple, you can hire a driver or take a tour from popular tourist areas like Ubud or Seminyak. The temple is located in the village of Besakih, in the eastern part of Bali, and it takes about 2 hours to drive there from Ubud. Alternatively, you can rent a scooter and drive yourself, but be prepared for narrow, winding roads and heavy traffic.

What should I wear when visiting Pura Besakih Temple?

When visiting Pura Besakih Temple, it is important to dress modestly out of respect for the sacred site. Both men and women should wear a sarong around their waist and a sash around their waist or shoulder. Sarongs and sashes are usually provided for visitors at the temple entrance, but it is recommended to bring your own to ensure availability. Avoid wearing revealing or tight-fitting clothing, and remove your shoes before entering the temple.

Are there any rules or guidelines I should follow when visiting Pura Besakih Temple?

Yes, there are a few rules and guidelines to keep in mind when visiting Pura Besakih Temple. First, be respectful and quiet while inside the temple complex. Second, do not touch or disturb any sacred objects or offerings. Third, do not climb on the temple structures or sit on the altars. Lastly, if you are a woman and currently menstruating, it is advised to avoid entering the temple as it is considered to be impure in Hindu culture.

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