Photo: At Pura Ulun Danau Batur.

Pura Ulun Danau Batur

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Often shrouded in mountain mist, Pura Ulun Danau Batur, clings to the edge of the ancient caldera at Kintamani overlooking Gunung Batur and Danau Batur, the active volcano and crater lake for which the temple is named.

One of Bali’s nine “directional temples”, warding off evil, and inviting good from the various compass points, this temple is less visited by tourists than some of the other eight (although tour buses still roll up in high season). The extensive temple complex is Bali’s second largest after Besakih — the “Mother Temple” (considered by the Balinese to be a male temple) — Pura Ulun Danau Batur is the counterbalancing female temple. The temple is dedicated, among other deities, to Ida Batara Dewi Ulan Danau, the Goddess of lakes and rivers, as importantly, Danau Batur supplies the irrigation system over much of southern Bali.

Well dressed guardians. Photo taken in or around Pura Ulun Danau Batur, Gunung Batur, Indonesia by Sally Arnold.

Well dressed guardians. Photo: Sally Arnold

Originally the temple sat at the foot of the volcano, Gunung Batur, but was moved in 1926 after a volcanic eruption destroyed the village, and most of the temple, however leaving the most important shrine unscathed. In 2012 Pura Ulun Danau Batur was included as a UNESCO World Heritage Site as part of the Subak System (irrigation system) of Bali, that also includes Pura Taman Ayun.

The beautiful and interesting temple can take some time to wander through the somewhat confusing, but colourful maze of courtyards and shrines. Inside, several temples with various functions include a marriage temple and interestingly, a Chinese-style temple, complete with urn for burning paper offerings. The most beautiful however is the collection of nine and eleven-tiered meru dedicated to the gods of the surrounding mountains Gunung Batur and Gunung Abang, and the lake, impressive with the backdrop of magnificent Gunung Batur.

Towering. Photo taken in or around Pura Ulun Danau Batur, Gunung Batur, Indonesia by Sally Arnold.

Towering. Photo: Sally Arnold

To enter the temple, as is required (but not enforced) in other temples in Bail, a sarong and sash is essential. If you haven’t bought your own, here you will be obliged to buy or rent at extortionate prices or not allowed to enter (you need both a sarong and a sash).

A booth sells tickets in the car park opposite the temple for 35,000 rupiah, said to include a welcome drink, although all we were offered was to buy overpriced bottles of water. A local ‘guide’ will attach themselves to you as you enter and a tip is expected for their service. The lady who escorted us was helpful in showing us around and seemed happy with the 25,000 rupiah we offered.

Neighbouring Pura Tuluk Biyu Batur can be visited for an additional 15,000 rupiah entry fee payable at the gate, however although interesting in its own right, it’s overshadowed by the much more impressive Pura Ulun Danau Batur, and unless you are a temple fanatic, is not worth the extra ticket. If you are planning to climb Gunung Batur, Pura Ulun Danau Batur is an interesting stop enroute.

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Location map for Pura Ulun Danau Batur

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