Pura Lempuyang Luhur
Bali's remote "gateway to heaven" is one of the most sacred places on the island.
Pura Lempuyang Luhur is a complex of temples that speckles a trail leading to the top of Mount Lempuyang, a holy mountain. A total of seven temples dot the mountain’s slopes. At the lowest temple, a fantastic “gateway to heaven” greets visitors. Looking through the gate on a clear day reveals Mount Agung framed within its sides. Beyond the gate, three beautiful nāga-lined staircases lead up to the lowest temple.
Pura Lempuyang Luhur is one of the oldest and holiest sites on the island and is thought to predate most Hindu temples there. The whole complex has been dubbed one of the “six sanctuaries of the world,” considered the most sacred places of worship on Bali. Yet, because of its remote location tucked away on the island’s eastern end, the complex saw few foreign visitors until recent years.
Adventurous (and reasonably fit) travelers may hike up to the top temple, which is a four hour round-trip in total. Along the way, visitors will pass six other temples and can see beautiful vistas before finally arriving at Pura Lempuyang Luhur. Locals believe one must never complain on the way up. If one complains, they will not make it to the top.
Pura Lempuyang Luhur, the highest temple, is the crown jewel of the complex (and also its namesake). It sits atop the mountain’s peak, which is believed to be its most sacred spot. Those who make it to the top are rewarded with a peaceful sanctuary and breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains.
Know Before You Go
Pura Lempuyang is not easily accessible, and parking is limited. The best way to get there is to hire a car and driver. If coming from Ubud or the beach towns on the south coast, budget one full day for this excursion, and consider pairing it with a visit to the nearby Tirta Gangga water gardens.
Be respectful at all times. Wear a sarong while visiting this temple complex, and make sure bare knees and shoulders are not visible. This applies to both men and women. If observing a ceremony, take photographs from a respectful distance using your zoom lens. There's no fee to get into the temple, but donations are requested.
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