A word of caution – stay away from the locales lurking around posing as guides. We had had an intense argument with a local teenager who forbid us entry unless we hire a local guide – which we didn’t hire anyway.
The Hindu temples of Bali are designed as open air worship places, unlike the common towering Indian Hindu Temple with indoor sanctums. This temple is actually a complex made up of twenty-two smaller temples. It has stepped terraces and brick stairways which lead up to the main spire Meru structure, which is called Pura Penataran Agung.
This is just the first level of the temple complex. Being a festival day, the upbeat mood was clearly visible at the temple with each auspicious place filled to the brim with locales. We avoided such gatherings and kept climbing up as we noticed a decline in the number of devotees at the higher levels.
Meanwhile, a local priest I spoke to showed interest in knowing more about Hinduism and India. It does seem that, we (Indians and Balinese), have much in common, right from the class system (of erstwhile India) to the present day gods, but the ‘caste system’ is unheard of in Bali.
View from the top of Besakih temple. It’s said that, from here, Mount Agung is visible (in the opposite direction) on a clear day, but we had no such luck.
Stairway to Heaven
Temple door arch carving