Faces of Bali - Gunung Kawi Tampaksiring
An archaeological complex, one of the oldest religious places in Bali. It lies on gorge of Pakerisan River. To reach the complex visitors must walk about 600 metres from the parking area to the ticket counter than walked down on 315 stone steps. Before take a cross on the bridge at the bottom of the valley make a turn to the left to see the first stone monument. Another group of stone monument is located on the left side of the main temple across of the river. The scenery around the complex is pretty with rice fields in view and local women washing their clothing in the small stream as you pass.
The monuments are hewn in relief on a solid rock hill commonly call candi. There are shaped like burial towers found all over Central and East Java. There are many theories telling identity of the royal personages honoured here. One very credible theory suggests the five ‘candi’ in the main group were built for King Udayana, his Javanese queen Gunapriya, his concubine, his eldest son Airlangga who ruled over East Java, and his youngest son Anak Wungsu. Reigning over Bali from AD 1050 to 1077, Anak Wungsu is believed to have given up his kingdom to become a religious hermit. However, archeologists have never found any evidence that anyone was actually buried at Gunung Kawi, the candi which were all complete with false doors possibly just an indicator that proper observance had been undertaken. Gunung Kawi is not just a temple but is a fascinating early Balinese religious site.
In the right of the main ensemble of temples is a cloister with five cells carved out of rock. The cloister inmates most likely were caretakers of the ‘candi’. There’s a second hermitage near the main cloister, consisting of niches around a central courtyard, which might have served as sleeping quarters for visiting pilgrims. To get into this part of the temple visitors must take of their shoes.
Should you have a spare time, a walk up north of the temple complex could be a short nice walking along the rice field and river stream. The path leads to a small waterfall after 800 meters away and about 1,5 kilometers to Mengening Temple.
Gunung Kawi is around 15km from Ubud, you can see the whole place in an hour. It can be an interesting trip, just don’t go there during rainy season.