Gunung Kawi

Fascinating shrines carved in the rock face

Photo of , , Ubud

What we say: 3.5 stars

A popular tourist attraction in the Ubud area is the 11th century Gunung Kawi, 15km north of town. The reason for visiting is to see the 10 impressive shrines which are carved into the enormous rock face.

The punishing walk down the steps towards the river and the shrines takes you past the usual array of shops selling handicrafts and artwork, but more impressively affords amazing views of the surrounding rice terraces which tumble down into the valley below.

On the western side of the river are four shrines and on the eastern side there are five. The 10th and final one is further south and you will need to ask the locals to show you the way to it.

There is much conjecture over the actual purpose of the shrines, but one theory claims that they are dedicated to a former royal family whose influence stretched from Java across to Bali in the 10th century. Today, the Gunung Kawi site holds great religious significance to the Balinese and a temple close to the shrines is used for prayer and ceremonies.

It is possible to travel to Gunung Kawi by bemo from Ubud for 10,000 rupiah. Cycling here is also possible from Ubud, but be warned that it is a long uphill slog most of the way.

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Jalan Raya Tampaksiring
Last updated: 27th June, 2011

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