Bali:: Gunung Kawi

Bali, Gianyar, Gunung Kawi. An 11th century temple complex close to Tampaksiring. On the eastern part there is five temples or shrines. (Photo Bjorn Grotting)

Bali, Gianyar, Gunung Kawi. An 11th century temple complex close to Tampaksiring. On the eastern part there is five temples or shrines. (Photo Bjorn Grotting)

Gunung Kawi is the largest and maybe also the most impressive of the old monuments on Bali. Like Goa Gajah this site is around 1.000 years old, probably built at the end of the 11th century. Gunung Kawi was first discovered by Europeans in 1920, even if the local population had knowledge of it a long time before that.

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Bali:: Tirta Empul temple

Bali, Gianyar, Tirtha Empul. Pura Tirtha Empul temple close to Tampaksiring. The holy water pours into a pool. The water is said to have magical powers, and all the water for cremations on Bali is taken from this spring. (Photo Bjorn Grotting)

Bali, Gianyar, Tirtha Empul. Pura Tirtha Empul temple close to Tampaksiring. The holy water pours into a pool. The water is said to have magical powers, and all the water for cremations on Bali is taken from this spring. (Photo Bjorn Grotting)

This important temple one km north of the Tampaksiring village was founded as early as 962 AD. It is not as spectacular as Gunung Kawi a few km’s away, but absolutely worth a visit. Even if this is one of the oldest sites on Bali much of the structures are relatively new, it was completely restored in 1969. People from all over Bali come here to take a bath in the holy water for good health and good luck. The crystal clear water surfaces in a pool which, according to old traditions, is the Balinese Fountain of Eternal Youth. The pool is therefore protected by a wall. The surfacing water origins from the Batur lake via underground rivers.

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Java:: Bromo-Tengger National Park

Java, East Java, Mount Bromo. Bromo is a smoking cone inside the huge, older crater Tengger. Gunung Batok to the right of Bromo. (Photo Bjorn Grotting)

Java, East Java, Mount Bromo. Bromo is a smoking cone inside the huge, older crater Tengger. Gunung Batok to the right of Bromo. (Photo Bjorn Grotting)

Bromo-Tengger national park is located on East Java, about three hours by car from Surabaya. Tengger is a huge, old caldera with the Bromo volcano inside. The smoking cone of Bromo raises from the plain of this 10 km wide caldera, but is not the highest mountain inside. Side by side with Bromo are also other mountains like Gunung Batok (2.440m) and Gunung Kursi (2.581m). Bromo (2.392m) and the nearby Semeru volcano, the highest mountain on Java (3.676m).

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Java:: The Prambanan Temple Complex

Java, Central Java. Prambanan is a ninth century Hindu temple compound in Central Java, Indonesia, (Bjorn Grotting)

Java, Central Java. Prambanan is a ninth century Hindu temple compound in Central Java, Indonesia, (Bjorn Grotting)

At the boundary between Yogyakarta and Surakarta there are several temples which are scattered within a distance not more than 1 km. It is interesting to note that these temples belong to a sacred place of two religions: Hinduism and Buddhism. The temples were constructed between the eighth century and the ninth century A.D. Prambanan, the name of the complex of these temples, is a beautiful and fertile region.

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Bali:: Besakih temple

Bali, Karangasem, Besakih. The Mother Temple of Besakih, or Pura Besakih, on the slopes of Mount Agung. There are 22 temples in the complex. (Photo Bjorn Grotting)

Bali, Karangasem, Besakih. The Mother Temple of Besakih, or Pura Besakih, on the slopes of Mount Agung. There are 22 temples in the complex. (Photo Bjorn Grotting)

At the foot of the great Gunung Agung mountain sits the most sacred of all Balinese temples; Pura Besakih. A more spectacular location for this huge temple complex would be hard to find. If you are lucky to visit on a clear day you can see Gunung Agung (3.142 m), a background that can give anyone a religious feeling. There has been a temple here for more than one thousand years, it is first mentioned in an inscription from 1007 BC.

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Java:: Prambanan

Java, Central Java. Prambanan is a ninth century Hindu temple compound in Central Java, Indonesia. (Bjorn Grotting)

Java, Central Java. Prambanan is a ninth century Hindu temple compound in Central Java, Indonesia. (Photo Bjorn Grotting)

Yogyakarta and the neighboring city Surakarta, also known as Solo, is located among some of Java’s and Indonesia’s largest tourist attractions, the Borobodur and Prambanan temples. Prambanan, some 20 km from Yogya, was under the Sailendra dynasty built as a Hindu answer to the Buddhist Borobodur and completed in 856 AD.

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