Wednesday Wander – Balinese Temple

For this week’s Wednesday Wander, I’m travelling through space and time to a temple I visited the first time I went to Bali, sixteen years ago.We had arranged a driver while there and one day, when we told him we’d like to see a temple, he suggested that, rather than see one of the more popular tourist temples, he could take us to the one near his village.

Before entering the temple, we were given cloth sashes to wear around our waists, plus my husband had to put on my sarong so his legs were covered (luckily I was already wearing a long skirt).

Bali temple 1 The temple was built to honour a sacred spring – you can just see the small dark opening at the base of the rock wall where it comes out. This shrine is in the middle of a fenced enclosure where no-one is permitted and, as you can see, the water is crystal clear.

Bali temple 3But the really cool part was that the water was then channelled from the enclosure into two separate bathing pools, one for men and one for women (this is the women’s pool, above). From these pools, the water ran out to the river, where people washed their clothes. So in many ways the spring was venerated for its usefulness, thanks for a gift of water.

Our driver then took us down through the nearby monkey forest to where the older parts of the temple were, including several pools no longer in use. The monkeys were tame enough that you could feed them with ripe banana, if you wanted, but did not approach us otherwise. The river snaked through into a vine-hung gorge where a stone bridge shaped like a dragon marked the crossing – the whole thing had a bit of an Indiana Jones feel.

Bali temple 2Bali back then felt still a bit wild, not quite so touristy as it is now (though not the jungle filled island my grandfather visited in 1947). I have been again since, in 2009. It is still a magical place, the people gentle and welcoming, the lush foliage and ancient temple shrines an interesting contrast to the restaurants, shops and villas. This temple visit is one of my stand-out memories of my first trip there – I hope to visit again one day.

Thank you for taking a Wednesday Wander with me 🙂


13 thoughts on “Wednesday Wander – Balinese Temple

    • Thanks Ali! It was a pretty special place, and I loved that it was build around a spring. It was almost deserted when we were there, which was nice too, and there was a pool filled with carp which we fed as part of our visit. I wonder if it’s become more popular now…

      • It sounds like such an idyllic place. I hope it hasn’t become touristy and over commercialised. But people need to make a living, and entertaining tourists does that, and also plays a part in keeping the places and their stories alive.

      • Yes, that’s very true. The thing I liked about it was that it was a working temple, people using it as it was always intended, rather than just tourists looking around. I didn’t go back when we were there last as I actually have no idea where it was!

      • Lol! Well maybe it’s best to remember it as it was . Often a second visit changes or even spoils the happy memories from the first visit.

      • This is very true. I would hate to go back and see it busy. It was such a peaceful place and the energy was quite something. I saw the largest spider I’ve ever seen, legs easily ten cm long, living in one of the shrines. And it didn’t freak me out at all (though I am not a spider fan) – it just felt part of the magic of the place.

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