pura-besakih-baliPura is a Balinese temple. Pura Besakih is a temple that dates back to the fourteenth century built on the slopes of Mount Agung, the principal volcano of Bali. This is the largest, holiest and most important temple of Agama Hindu Dharma in Bali.

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.

besakih temple baliThe 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.

besakih temple holy trinityThough Balinese people follow Hinduism, it’s oceans apart from the Hinduism as we see in India. The three empty thrones seen here loosely refer to Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. The Balinese mostly believe in one supreme god (Sanghyang Widhi Wasa), or ‘Acintya’, and consider other gods as manifestations of this one single god. We felt a sense of belonging at this temple as the priest nonchalantly came our way, offered us the Prasāda, and as tradition, pressed some rice grains to our foreheads.

besakih temple people gatheringThis 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.

besakih temple thatched domes

Thatched domes

besakih temple landscape

Besakih landscape

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.

besakih temple - stairway to heaven

Stairway to Heaven

besakih temple topThe last temple at the pinnacle of Besakih, and also the only temple which had doors!

besakih temple door arch carving

Temple door arch carving

Anoop Hullenahalli

An Electronics Engineer working on wireless embedded systems for a living. Traveling, photographing and sharing my experiences here at ANUBIMB helps me unwind and break the monotony of life.


Paresh · 15 Dec ’10 at 7:03 pm

Excellent photos Anoop.
All the structures are black and the sky is white!

    Anoop Hullenahalli · 16 Dec ’10 at 2:44 am

    Thanks Paresh.
    It was a cloudy day. The black structures are a result of volcanic rocks I suppose.

    Sent from my Nokia phone

Sarah · 16 Dec ’10 at 8:29 am


Prabhu · 20 Dec ’10 at 8:31 am

Nice one dude … Interesting to know about their way of hinduism

    Anoop · 20 Dec ’10 at 8:52 am

    yeah prabhu. I also think that the balinese were little cooler and more
    tolerant when it came to their religious practices.

joshi daniel · 22 Dec ’10 at 7:47 am

excellent documentary and nice pics!

Anonymous · 22 Dec ’10 at 11:34 am

amazing presentation.

    Anoop · 22 Dec ’10 at 1:08 pm

    thanks guys. one more post on the bali series and I’m done.

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