Pura Lempuyang

photo: @tania_burmistrova

Every other tourist who has been to Bali dreams about a photo from the temple of Pura Lempuyang, where they stand in a carved gate against the background of the volcano Agung and below them the same view is “magically” reflected in a cleverly placed mirror. The mirror trend is not so old, but has already become commonplace.

In the courtyard of the Temple of Pura Penataran, there is a line of tourists eager to pose. The whole complex consists of 7 temples but generally tourists come only to the lower one. Don’t let that bother you- it is the most accessible and richly decorated temple.

Bottom to top are the temples of the Lempuyang complex.

1) Pura Penataran Agung Lempuyang is the very one from the photos.

Pura Penataran during the holidays of Kuningan; photo: Heidi Donat

2) Pura Telaga Mas - small and very modest

Pura Telaga Mas; photo: liapicauly.

you can go left from there to the top.

6) Pura Pasar Agung Lempuyang is also a simple temple.

Pura Pasar Agung; photo: liapicauly.

7) and the most important and highest Pura Lempuyang Luhur, located at an altitude of 1175 meters above sea level.

Pura Lempuyang Luhur; photo: liapicauly.files

or you could turn right from Telag Mas and loop around…

3) Pura Telaga Sawang - the temple of holy water with a spring

Pura Telaga Sawang; photo: liapicauly.

4) Pura Lempuyang Madya - a temple visited with prayers for a happy family life.

Pura Lempuyang Magya; photo: liapicauly.file

5) Pura Puncak Bisbis - small temple more like a shrine.

Pura Punchak Bisbis; photo: liapicauly.file.

and exit by 6) Pura Pasar Agung.

The route depends on how determined you are to weave along the mountain paths and in what physical condition you are. If you are well prepared, the short route through the temples 1,2,6,7 will take you about 2-4 hours. And after all the temples 1,2,3,4,5,6,7 it will take you about 4-6 hours.

The Balinese believe that the Lempuyang Temple is part of Sad Kahyangan Jagad, the six holiest places on the island that are key and provide spiritual balance to Bali.

The entire Lempuyang Mountain is divided into three sections, which is consistent with Bali cosmology. The base of the mountain is known as Sang Ananta Boga and connects the mountain with Brahma, the middle part is known as Sang Naga Basuki and connects the mountain with Vishnu, the upper part of the mountain is known as Sang Naga Taksaka and is dedicated to Shiva. The most sacred part is at the uppermost temple of Pura Lempuyang Luhur.

1) The first and lower temple of Pura Penataran was renovated in 2001. It is located at an altitude of about 600 meters above sea level. It is divided into three parts like any other Balinese temple. The outer part is jaba pisan, the middle part is jaba tengah, and the inner part is jero. The entrance to the outermost courtyard is marked by a white gate in the form of a split rock - Chandi Bentar. This is the gate where tourists like to take pictures.

photo: @lanoiadelbarret

In the yard there are several Balinese bale, a gazebo where the instruments of the gamelan orchestra are kept and a gazebo where the kulkul - a bell that performs ceremonial functions - is kept.

photo: @hankanecesalova

The entrance to the middle courtyard is marked by three portals of the Paduraxa. The portal on the left is for entry and the portal on the right is for exit. The central door is usually closed and only opens during major holidays such as the feast of the piodalan temple, celebrated twice a year. Now the middle courtyard is closed to tourists and only those who really come to pray can go there. But you can climb two impressive stairscases that lead up to the gates. The middle staircase is closed to the entrance.

the middle courtyard of the temple of Pura Penataran on feast days; photo: Alain Secretan

interior courtyard of the temple of Pura Penataran during the feast days; photo: Alain Secretan

It is believed that only through the middle gate sacred objects and offerings can be carried for a great feast.

photo: @nezcarolin

All three staircases that lead to the portals are richly decorated with figures of naked snakes. They are inspired by the epics of Ramayan and Mahabharat and the naked snakes and figures of the Pandav brothers Arjuna, Bima and Yudhistira adorn the stairs.

photo: @thaylise_ferreira

photo: @hankanecesalova

The inner courtyard of the Jero is the most sacred space of the Balinese temple. There are several Meru towers and peling sanctuaries dedicated to different gods. There are also several padmasan sanctuaries in the form of empty stone thrones, each dedicated to the highest deity of the Balinese pantheon - Sang Hyang Vidhi Vasa and the trinity of gods - Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva.

The entire Lempuyang complex is usually bypassed by Balinese pilgrims. It is believed that the Balinese should climb here once every 10 years.

According to local beliefs, pilgrims with heavy hearts will never reach the top, so the road upwards has a spiritual meaning. It is believed that on the way up, in addition to being properly dressed and speaking modestly, you should not complain, otherwise you will not be able to climb.

There are grey macaques all along the road. The uppermost temple of Pura Luhur Lempuyang is much more modest in decoration than Pura Penataran. But the clouds that envelop it and the silence give it a mystical mood. It is believed that 1700 steps lead to it.

No one knows exactly when the temple was first built. According to chronicles, it could have been erected in the 10-11th centuries AD.

There are local Balinese legends about this place. One of them says that when the land was only 70 years old, the island of Bali was unstable and earthquakes occurred there all the time. Then the god Pacupati, who sits on Mount Semeru, asked his three sons to stabilize Bali. Devi Danu sat on Batur, Hyang Putra Jaya took Agung, and Hyang Gni Jaya sat on Mount Lempuyang.

In the middle of the last century, the temples of the Lempuyang complex were in very poor condition and the Balinese rebuilt them. So the buildings we see in this place are quite modern.

There are several translations of the name of Lempuyang Luhur Temple. According to one version it means “Celestial Dizziness” from “Luhur” - celestial, and “Lempuyang” - “vertigo”. According to another version the word lempuyang is composed of “lamp” - shining and “hyang” - “deified spirit of ancestors”.

If you want to climb to the uppermost temple of the complex, it is better to do it in the dry season, when the tracks are in good condition. Try to plan the ascent either in the morning, when it is still cool, or a little closer to the evening.

If you tell the gift booth that you are about to ascend to the upper temple, you may be allowed to ride the bike on the asphalt path to the Telagus Mas Temple.

If you are short of time, you are with children or elderly relatives, you can simply visit the Pura Penataran Temple and this will be enough to admire the Balinese temple architecture and beautiful views.

The temple is open from 8am to 5pm.

Entrance is only allowed with sarong and with shoulders closed. If you do not have a sarong, it can be rented at the entrance for only Rp 10,000. If there is a sarong and shoulders are closed, that will be enough. You don’t have to tie your belt.

There may be different people at the foot of the temple selling tickets to the temple for 100,000 rupiah. In reality, you can pay any amount as a donation will grant you entrance to the temple.

There are private charters near the Temple of the Penataran who can take you to the second Temple of Telag Mas for a small fee.

During the rainy season, take a raincoat with you, as there is a good chance it will rain.

On your way up, you will find small shops with food and drinks, so don’t worry about the water.

Guests are not allowed in the temple:

- To take yoga postures

- Pull your legs up high

- Kiss

- Attend the temple with children under 105 days.

- Drones