If you’re up for a bit of a climb, the trek (well, there is a road for much of the way, but we’re calling it a trek!) to Pura Luhur Lempuyang offers fabulous views (weather allowing) and you get to tick off another of Bali’s directional temples.
Pura Luhur Lempuyang is one of Bali’s nine directional temples and is of great significance to the Balinese culture and religion. Set atop Lempuyang mountain, it’s roughly halfway between Amlapura and Amed as the crow flies. The directional temples radiate around Bali with Pura Luhur Besakih (Mother Temple) at the centre — other directional temples include Uluwatu, Goa Lawah and Pasar Agung. This importance means you’ll often see Balinese families from around the island visiting in full ceremonial attire balancing large baskets of food atop their heads, with the purpose of getting it blessed by the priest at the temple at the top of the mountain.
While avid hikers will love the blend of mountains and cultural excursions that Bali’s eastern region has to offer, those unwilling to take on the ascent up to the peak at Lempuyang Temple can still enjoy the splendid views at the grand Pura Penataran Agung temple at the foot of the mountain. The first to come into view on the pilgrimage, this temple offers an impressive sight with its towering dragon staircases – perfect for photos. The best views are higher up the stairs, where you can see all the way across the green forested slopes and neighbouring Mount Agung, Bali’s highest peak and abode of Besakih Temple.
Six temples in total run up to the peak and while the views from the summit can be spectacular, remember if it is cloudy (as it was on our last visit) you’ll see precious little. If you are in luck you can enjoy tremendous views across to Gunung Agung and greater Bali. We were told you can also see Rinjani on Lombok but were unable to see it for ourselves due to crummy weather.
If you decide to go for dawn at the summit, keep in mind that it can be very cold, so if you have a jacket, bring one. If you’re not fussed about dawn, early morning is still a better bet to dodge the worst of the heat, and the monkeys (see below) are less active then. Regardless of when you go, you’ll need to allow one to two hours to climb the 1,700 steps to the top temple. The heights are reachable via a steep staircase of over 1,700 steps, with attractions along the way including several other temples and hordes of grey long-tailed macaques that inhabit the surrounding cool mountain forests.
From the car park area a guide will appear to ask if you require their services, including the rental of a sarong and sash, which is mandatory if you wish to avoid a cultural faux pas.
Naturally, the temple is not very crowded, and is top of the list on sights to see and endeavours off the beaten path in Ba The views from the top of Gunung Lempuyang are sensational looking toward Amed and Gunung Agung. For the views alone, it is worth climbing to the very top. The temple itself is unremarkable, but serves an important religious purpose and you will commonly find people praying here — be respectful, of course.
Photo courtesy: here
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