Temple in the clouds
24.5.2017 Lucie Kočandrlová Travel articles
The island of Bali holds countless charms. The unforgettable beauty of nature is combined with the beautiful Balinese architecture in the form of temples, whose pleasantly peaceful atmosphere with its spiritual power makes you think and meditate. There are hundreds of thousands of temples in Bali. But not all are the same.
Lempuyang is one of the oldest temples ever found on the island. It is also one of the most important and protected. For Balinese, it is almost as important as the most sacred Pura Besakih, the so-called "mother temple". Lempuyang is hidden among the clouds at an altitude of 1,175 metres at the top of the mountain of the same name. The road to this temple is not easy. You will have to climb 1,700 steps to reach your destination and the journey up will take you at least 2 hours, but could easily take the whole afternoon. However, if you make this trip, you will definitely not be disappointed.
There are many stops along the way to the destination in the form of small temples with breathtaking views of the highest mountain on the island - Gunung Agung. But you won't miss the groups of macaques along the way that will be looking at you curiously.
The way up is really challenging, but you'd better not complain about it too much. The locals believe that if you complain and behave disrespectfully during the journey, you will never reach the top and you will not even reach the spiritual ascent. However, if you do manage to climb all the way to the top, you'll be treated to a spectacular scenery overlooking the beautiful mountains. At the same time, you will also enter the most sacred place in Balinese history, which you can tell by the indescribable atmosphere. The sense of mystical tranquillity you experience here is simply unmistakable.
During the Galungan festival, countless ceremonies take place here. People bring baskets of food to be blessed here. Some of it they leave as an offering to the gods and some of it they take back home to cook into a sacred meal.
The temple itself was built in 91 A.D. and is dedicated to Bathara Hyang Gnijaya, who along with his siblings, Bethara Hyang Putranjaya, residing on Mount Agung, and the goddess Ida Bethari Hyang Dewi, overseeing the lake and Mount Batur, form the trinity known as Hyang Tri Lingga. According to tradition, the eldest brother is devoted to the government and the people, the sister looks after prosperity and Gnyawa himself manages religious affairs.
Through the practice of yoga, Gnyaya gave birth to five spiritual sons.
The temple is also famous for the holy water found in the stems of the bamboo that grows on the top of the mountain. This water is used by the Balinese during the cremation ceremonies of Dewa Yadnya.
Traditionally, every Balinese should visit the temple at least once every 10 years.
The place is truly magical and the memories of it will not fade away. If you go to this sacred place on your own, you are sure to be left with a rare sense of peace.
OM SANTIH, SANTIH, SANTIH, OM
Photo: Jiří Kočandrle