Nestled in the picturesque slopes of Mount Agung, Bali’s famous stratovolcano, Besakih Temple is considered one of the most important places of worship among its large population of Hindus. As hundreds or even thousands of devotees flock to the temple for daily prayers, many tourists from across the globe too visit the site. Visiting this temple can be an uphill task since the mountain is situated quite a distance from commercial areas and the climb too can be strenuous. For those who are looking for accommodation in Bali offering relatively easy access to the site, COMO Shambhala Estate, Bali is a reliable option.
While the exact origins of the massive temple complex cannot clearly be established, it is believed that the complex dates back to as early as the prehistoric era. The architecture of the temple resembles the stepped pyramids of the Megalithic era established approximately 2,000 years ago. History has it that this complex which consists of 23 inter-related temples was used as a place of worship even during the time of Javanese conquerors in 1284. It is also revealed that in early 1000 AD that the temple was originally dedicated to ‘Besakih’ or Dragon God who was believed to have lived on the sacred mountain.
The stairs at the entrance of the complex take visitors to the courtyard which leads up to its main temple the Pura Panataran Agung. The Pura Panataran Agung houses the main shrine of the three Hindu gods Shiva, Brahma and Vishnu. Though the site contains multiple temples or shrines not all of them are open to tourists and one must be particularly careful not to trespass.
The only of its kind that admits Hindus of all castes, the Besakih Temple occupies a special place in the hearts of many Hindus. Today this temple complex is run by the provincial government together with the national government.
While many tour operators offer tours around the complex it’s advised to be very careful when settling for one. Tourists are also strongly advised to always be well clad as a gesture of respect.
Roland Lefevre is a travel writer who specializes in creating features on leisure as well as business travel destinations across the globe.