Mount Agung and Pura Besakih
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.
|Names:||Mount Agung and Pura Besakih; Gunung Agung; Besakih Temple|
|Categories:||Sacred Mountains; Hindu Temples|
|Date:||10th century (temple)|
|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|
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 written by Holly Hayes with reference to the following sources:
- Bali Temples Guide - Asia Web Direct
- Besakih Temple - Bali Vision
- Besakih - Rough Guide to Indonesia
- Mount Agung - Wikipedia
Last updated on February 19, 2010.