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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Nusa Tenggara:: Central Lombok

Nusa Tenggara, Lombok, Mataram. The Pura Lingsar temple with the entrance to the Wektu Telu temple. (Photo Bjorn Grotting)

Nusa Tenggara, Lombok, Mataram. The Pura Lingsar temple with the entrance to the Wektu Telu temple. (Photo Bjorn Grotting)

The fertile area south of the mighty Rinjani mountain has several interesting villages, beautiful landscapes and green rice fields. Most of the villages here are populated by Sasak, one often visited village is Tetebatu at the foot of Gunung Rinjani, from here the view to this mountain and the southern part of the island is great.

A few km from Tetebatu you will find the Taman Wisata Tetebatu monkey forest with it’s black monkeys and waterfalls, among them the popular Air Terjun Jukut waterfall. According to the locals the water from Air Terjun Jukut will give increased hair growth.

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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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Bali:: Ubud

Bali, Gianyar, Ubud. The area surrounding Ubud is lovely and peaceful. (Photo Bjorn Grotting)

Bali, Gianyar, Ubud. The area surrounding Ubud is lovely and peaceful. (Photo Bjorn Grotting)

Ubud has become the favorite place for many visitors to Bali. The name Ubud is probably derived from “ubad” which means medicine (“obat” in Indonesian), and to come here may be medicine for people who look for a relaxed way of life and beautiful surroundings. Ubud is built on the slopes of the central mountains. In addition to the town Ubud the area also include several smaller villages like Peliatan, Padangtegal, Penestanan, Campuan and Pengosekan.

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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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Bali:: Goa Lawah

Bali, Klungkung, Goa Lawah. The bat cave. A Shiva temple with shrines guards the entrance. (Photo Bjorn Grotting)

Bali, Klungkung, Goa Lawah. The bat cave. A Shiva temple with shrines guards the entrance. (Photo Bjorn Grotting)

There is no doubt why Goa Lawah, the bat cave, has got this name. Thousands of noisy bats fill the air in and around the cave, with a sharp smell of bat droppings covering the ground in a thick layer.

It is also said that pythons live inside the cave, feeding on the bats. The entrance to the sacred cave is at the foot of a hill.

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Bali:: Gunung Batukau

Bali, Tabanan, Kerambitan. Gunung Batukau seen from Kerambitan. Usually the mountain is covered by clouds. (Photo Bjorn Grotting)

Bali, Tabanan, Kerambitan. Gunung Batukau seen from Kerambitan. Usually the mountain is covered by clouds. (Photo Bjorn Grotting)

Gunung Batukau is the second largest mountain on Bali (2.275 m), and only Gunung Agung is of higher religious importance. The slopes are covered with rainforest, apart from West Bali National park this is the only wilderness region of any significance left on the island. The mountain is located in the Tabanan district, and is an extinct volcano. On the southern slopes of the volcano, at 1.300 meters and surrounded by forest, sits the Pura Luhur Batukau temple.

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Bali:: Tanah Lot

Bali, Tabanan, Tanah Lot. The Tanah Lot rock is the home of a pilgrimage temple, the Pura Tanah Lot. The sunsets here are famous. (Photo Bjorn Grotting)

Bali, Tabanan, Tanah Lot. The Tanah Lot rock is the home of a pilgrimage temple, the Pura Tanah Lot. The sunsets here are famous. (Photo Bjorn Grotting)

Tanah Lot is located in the Tabanan district southwest on Bali, only a short distance from Kuta and Denpasar. With it’s beautiful location and architecture it is one of the most characteristic temples on Bali, and for the Balinese the most sacred of the sea temples along the southern coast of Bali. On a clear day you can see Pura Luhur Uluwatu further south of here, another famous sea temple.

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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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