Today we took another a custom tour with Bali Customized Tours to Eastern Bali. Our tour included “The Mother Temple” known as Besakih, a Bamboo Forest, Penglipuran Ancient Village, and Gunung Kawi Ancient Tomb. Our driver today was Ambara.
Before we were picked up we had a delicious breakfast prepared by the lovely staff at Hideout Bali. I had a traditional breakfast with eggs and delicious toast, and Julie had porridge and fruit.
First stop was the “Mother Temple”, also known as the Besakih Great Temple. It is a pura complex in the village of Besakih on the slopes of Mount Agung in Eastern Bali. It is the tallest, holiest, and most important temple in Bali, sometimes drawing as many as a million visitors on some of the holiest days of the year. In fact, this is considered one of the largest Hindu complex’s in the entire world. The extensive complex contains 23 separate but related temples, with the largest and most important being Pura Penataran Agung. The temple is built on six levels, terraced up the slope. The entrance is marked by a split gate. In the temple there are a plethora of pagoda’s with 1, 3, 5, 7, 9, and 11 roofs, which symbolize the different gods. This temple is undergoing an extensive $150 million upgrade to allow better parking, access, and more shop fronts. During our visit here we were blessed, and I still wear my red, black, and white bracelet that I was given after I was blessed.
Next stop was the Penglipuran Ancient Village, which was also next door the Bali’s largest Bamboo Forest, spanning over 20 hectares. Penglipuran Village is one of the few traditional Balinese villages remaining. The architecture of the buildings and land processing still follows the concept of Tri Hita Karana, the philosophy of Balinese society regarding the balance of relations between God, humans, and their environment.
The place we visited before grabbing lunch was Gunung Kawi, also known as Candi Tebing Gunung Kawi. Gunung Kawi is an 11th century temple and funeral complex in Tampaksiring, which is North East of Ubud. It is comprised of 10 rock-cut shrines (candi) that are carved into 7 metre (23 foot) high sheltered chines of the sheer cliff face. There are monuments dedicated to King Anak Wungsu of the Udayana dynasty, as well as his favorite queens. On the Eastern side of the complex are five temples that are dedicated to King Udayana, his Queen Mahendradatta, and their three sons Airlangga, Anak Wunsu and Marakata. On the West side of the complex are temples dedicated to the King’s minor Queens.
After visiting the temple it was time to get some lunch. We ended up stopping at a local Warung. I had some duck, which honestly wasn’t very good, and was a rather small portion. After lunch we stopped at Oka Agriculture Bali to do some tea and coffee tasting, which included Kopi Luwak, which is a coffee that consists of partially digested coffee cherries that were eaten and defecated by an Asian Pal Civet. Honestly, which the coffee was quite smooth, I prefer regular coffee. We samples 16 different coffees and teas, and ended up purchasing some Ginger Tea and Mangosteen Tea.
After our coffee and tea tasting we drove a short distance to a local wood carving shop, and were able to see them creating their beautiful art work. It’s amazing how much effort goes into creating these carvings. We opted not to purchase anything due to limited space in our luggage.
It was then time to head back to our final night at Hideout Bali. We ordered some local Balinese dishes for dinner, and enjoyed watching some Netflix in bed, because the mosquitos were too bad to be out on our balcony.