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Mount Agung and Pura Besakih

Mount Agung is highly sacred to the Balinese. Photo Creative Commons License Michael Schmid.

Mt. Agung
View of the volcanic Mt. Agung. Photo Creative Commons License lizamber.

Sunset from the peak of Bali's sacred Mt. Agung. Public domain.

Besakih Temple
Besakih Temple just before a storm. Photo Creative Commons License Sean McGrath.

Pura Besakih
Rooftops of Pura Besakih. Photo Creative Commons License Galvin.

Festival at Baisakih
Besakih Temple's anniversary in April. Photo Creative Commons License Verena Fuchs.

The volcanic Mount Agung (Gunung Agung) is holiest mountain on the island of Bali in Indonesia. It is also home to the important Mother Temple of Besakih, the largest and holiest temple in Bali.


An active volcano, Mount Agung last erupted in March 1963. The lava flows narrowly missed the Mother Temple of Besakih on the mountain's slopes, which the Balinese regarded as a miraculous sign from the gods.

Built before 1000 AD, Besakih Temple was originally a terraced temple dedicated to the dragon god Besakih who is believed to inhabit the sacred mountain.

In the 15th century, Besakih became the state temple of the Geigel-Kiungkung dynasty, whose rulers built several small temples to honor their deified kin. It remains a state temple today, run and funded by the provincial and national governments.

What to See

The great Mount Agung rises to an altitude of 3,148 meters (10,308 feet) in eastern Bali. Perched on its slopes about 1,000 meters (3,000 feet) in altitude is the holy Besakih Temple, Mother Temple of Bali.

Besakih is said to be the only temple where a Hindu of any caste can worship. Surrounding three main temples dedicated to Shiva, Brahma and Vishnu are 18 separate sanctuaries belonging to different regencies and caste groups.

Stairs ascend through a monumental split gate to the courtyard of the main temple, Pura Panataran Agung, where the central shrine dedicated to the Hindu trinity of Shiva, Brahma, and Vishnu is wrapped in cloth and decorated with flower offerings.

Two other important temples further up the slope join with the Pura Panataran Agung to symbolize the Hindu trinity: the Pura Panataran Agung in the center flies white banners for Shiva, Pura Kiduling Kreteg to the right flies red banners for Brahma; and Pura Batu Mddeg, on the left, has black banners for Vishnu.

There are many other temples to explore at Besakih, but many of their inner courtyards are reserved for worship and closed to visitors.

Tip: If not traveling as part of a tour, try to arrive at the temple before 9am, when the tourist buses begin to arrive.

Quick Facts

Site Information
Names: Mount Agung and Pura Besakih; Gunung Agung; Besakih Temple
Location:Bali, Indonesia
Categories: Sacred Mountains; Hindu Temples
Date:10th century (temple)
Visitor Information
Coordinates: 8.342° S, 115.508° E   (view on Google Maps)
Lodging:View hotels near this location
Opening hours:daily 8am–5pm
Cost:admission Rp7500; camera fee Rp1000; video camera fee Rp2500; parking Rp1000
Rules:Sarong required, especially over skimpy clothes; rentals available for around Rp2000

Note: This information was accurate when published and we do our best to keep it updated, but details such as opening hours can change without notice. To avoid disappointment, please check with the site directly before making a special trip. Last update: 02/19/2010.

Location Map

Below is a location map and aerial view of Mount Agung and Pura Besakih. Using the buttons on the left, zoom in for a closer look or zoom out to get your bearings. Click and drag the map to move around. For a larger view, see our Indonesia Map.

Article Sources

Article written by Holly Hayes with reference to the following sources:

  1. Bali Temples Guide - Asia Web Direct
  2. Besakih Temple - Bali Vision
  3. Besakih - Rough Guide to Indonesia
  4. Mount Agung - Wikipedia

Last updated on February 19, 2010.

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