On a flight of steps following a series of descents and ascents and countless perspiring moments, we found ourselves on a deep ravine overlooking terraced rice-fields. 

Standing on the middle of huge carved stone monuments, I can’t help but be fascinated of the ancient civilization of Indonesia, depicted in the 11th century temple complex of Gunung Kawi in Tampaksiring north east of Ubud, Bali.

Pura means temple. Gunung means mountain.  And Kawi means a poet. Literally translated, Pura Gunung Kawi would mean a temple on the mountain of a poet.  But is it really that inspiring to be there for poets to produce their respective masterpieces?

I for one can be an instant wordsmith as we view the stream approaching the boulder where we sit.  But sitting at the boulders at that moment has been more of recovering from the long walk to the temples.  I was literally catching my breath.

From the entrance of the temple, a view deck awaits giving a panoramic view of the entire estate consisting of forests, rice terraces and streams.  On that alone, I know this will be a long walk before we get to the main temples of Gunung Kawi

After our friend paid the entrance fee, we were mandated to wear sash (wrapped around the waist) and a sarong cloth to cover the legs.  This is a sign of respect for the Gods.

It was a long walk.

Despite the exhausting walk, the view of the rice terraces makes up for it.  Truly, a sight to behold.  There are communities as well along the way and a number of souvenir shops and small restaurants settled on both sides of the cemented pathway leading to the temple.

After the end of the concrete stairs, a stone arch marks for a welcome and is surrounded by pillars on each corner holding a vase filled with holy water, which a visitor may opt to sprinkle before entering.

Upon entrance, the ten 7-meter high shrines carved into the rocky hillside is a good treat.  These 10 giant statues carved into the cliff face, is believed to depict the royal family of the Udayana dynasty and is the main attraction for visiting this temple. 

At the bottom of the valley, we crossed a bridge and saw another group of stone monuments carved on the left side of main temple across the river.  At the main temple courtyard, old Hindu shrines in a more contemporary architectural style is featured where we witnessed a pilgrim making his offering.

While at the main site, the flowing sacred Pakerisan river come into view.  It was truly scenic.  We rested for a short while near a café, situated adjacent to the temples to breathe fresh air.

In isolation and with the perfect landscape, it can indeed be a mountain for the poet.  But can a blogger write his trip while at the said mountain?  No, in my instance. 

After a few minutes of wandering and having been rejuvenated, it’s time to take that long concrete steps once again.


It would be advisable for long distance travels within a day to charter a private car for safety and convenience.

Jalan Cekomaria Gang Taman IV No. 1 Denpasar, Bali
Phone: (0361)7966391
Mobile Phone: (+62) 81 558 449 505/ (+62) 81 936 175 556

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  1. Wow! Your blog and photos give me a feeling how mystical this place could be. Beautiful natural and manmade architectures! Thank you for sharing and transporting me!

    1. it really is beautiful. thanks for visiting and reading the site as well...