Ancient Hindu temple in Bali

I was staying in Ubud, Bali back in May 2016 and was invited up to Tampaksiring by a friend. He wanted to show me Gunung Kawi, which is a temple in his town, as well as to meet his family and see where they lived.

The word ‘Tampak’ in Balinese means foot, while ‘Siring’ means Oblique. According to the legend, the slope of the mountain where the town stands today was created by footstep of a king named Mayadenawa.

After briefly stopping at his home, basically a family compound which is common in Bali, we headed over to Gunung Kawi. It was a warm, but beautiful day, so we took our time walking around the grounds as my friend told me about the history of the ten rock-cut candis and five temples. The landscape around the complex is amazing, with bright green rice fields, palms, various fruit trees and running streams.

I could try to tell you all about the history of Gunung Kawai myself, but you are better off reading the Tampaksiring, Valley of the kings on Wonderful Bali, as I was a bit overwhelmed to be honest and wasn’t really taking good notes.

To end our visit, we walked through the rice fields, along and over a few streams, to a new outdoor restaurant that was just completed. We drank tea, had a few small items to eat and listened to the birds sing in the tropical rain forest that surrounded us. It was magical.

Gunung Kawi is an 11th-century temple and funerary complex in Tampaksiring north east of Ubud in Bali, Indonesia., that is spread across either side of the Pakerisan river. It comprises 10 rock-cut candi (shrines) that are carved into some 7-metre-high (23 ft) sheltered niches of the sheer cliff face. These funeral monuments are thought to be dedicated to King Anak Wungsu of the Udayana dynasty and his favourite queens. On the east side there are five temples that are dedicated, according to one theory, to King Udayana, his queen Mahendradatta, and their sons Airlanga, Anak Wungsu, and Marakata. The temples on the west side are dedicated, according to the same theory, to the king’s minor queens or concubines.

Inscription: on the north shrine (east side) a legible inscription reads: ‘Haji Lumahing Jalu,’ meaning ‘the king made a temple here.’


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