Gung Kawi temple

Gunung Kawi Temple – Tampaksiring

Pura Gunung Kawi. This is the famed Temple on the Mountain of the Poet, which celebrates the Hindu god Siva. Here you’ll find a fascinating complex of 11th-century temple shrines and royal tombs chiseled straight out of the sides of the hills. A steep climb leads to the entrance, where temple faces line either side of the rocks; the complex then extends into a monastery and several caves. It is believed that some of the monuments may be dedicated to King Airlangga of Java, son of Prince Udayana of Bali, although legend has it that a giant named Kebo Iwa carved the structures in one night with his fingernails. Look for the spring-fed pool filled with sacred koi, said to be the guardians of the water spirit.

Deep in a lush river valley running through the small town of Tampaksiring just northeast of Ubud, is one of Bali’s largest ancient temple complexes, Candi Gunung Kawi. Overlooking the sacred Pakerisan River, the main complex consists of 10 shrines and memorials cut into the rocky cliffs that simulate real buildings. They stand in impressive 8m-high sheltered niches carved into the steep cliffs. They have a common shape from the ancient freestanding or Candis temples of East Java, with very similar architectural shapes and decorations. There are four temples on the west side and another five on the east side of the river, while on the south side across the valley there is another temple. Evidence suggests that these Candi may have once been sheltered between two giant rocks. In form, the Candi resemble small buildings topped with massive three-story roofs bearing nine stylized lingamyoni fertility symbols. Each Candi actually looks like a door, carved out, but goes nowhere. Instead, there is a small chamber below the candle, accessed by an inclined shaft from the front, in which is placed a stone tablet with nine holes containing symbolic offerings of food and wooden objects. metal, representing the necessities of earthly existence. The small rock caves were actually used as meditation sites in addition to the shrines, where Buddhist monks used to sit and meditate. Indeed, the history of Bali has shown that the two religions co-existed and at times got along with each other. Across the river and next to the first stone temple complex is a working temple courtyard that locals basically call Pura Gunung Kawi. The interior is what you would normally find in any other Balinese temple courtyard, with various shrines surrounding the large main hall.

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