Ancient Mountain Temples in Eastern Part of Bali
Lempuyang Temple, locally called “Pura Lempuyang Luhur”, is one of the oldest and most sacred temples in Bali. Balinese people also believe that the temples preceded the majority of Hindu temples in Bali. The main temple lies at 1,175m above sea level, up on the summit of Mount Lempuyang in East Bali.
To reach the heights of the mountain, you have to walk up through a steep staircase of over 1,700 steps, with the attractions along the way including several other temples and herds of grey long-tailed macaques that settle in the surrounding cool mountain forests. While curious hiking lovers will love the blend of mountains and cultural excursions that eastern part of Bali offer, those who are unwilling to walk up to the top of the mountain where Lempuyang Temple is located, can still enjoy the fascinating panorama at the grand Pura Penataran Agung temple at the lower slope of the mountain. Firstly, to come into view on the pilgrimage, this temple offers impressive scenery with its towering dragon staircases which are perfect for taking photos. The best scenery is higher up the stairs, where you can see all the way across the green forested slopes and neighboring Mount Agung, the highest summit of Bali and the location of Besakih Temple, the mother temple of Bali.
There are a lot of motorcycle taxis which are locally called “ojek” operated by local villagers that can take you up where the asphalt road ends at Penataran Agung temple, for a negotiable fee. They are convenient for those who wish to start their climbing journey quicker, shortening the time on foot from the parking area. After enjoying the scenery at this first stop, the main spot of Lempuyang Temple is still more than a thousand and a half or so steps up, quite challenging for most visitors.
However, Balinese people believe that pilgrims with a heavy heart will never make it to the top, therefore, the spiritual aspect of the climb will surely make it. They strongly believe that besides maintaining respectful deeds and speech, you mustn’t complain on your way up – otherwise, you’ll never make it to reach the main temple at the summit. Strong-willed pilgrims enjoy wonderful panoramas of the eastern part of Bali mountain range and coastline through steep step by step up, surrounded by green surroundings and fresh mountain air. The grey macaques here are not as curious and naughty as their relatives in Uluwatu on the southern coast of Bali, and it is always a rule of not having any loose gear or feeding them.
After more or less two-hours climb, the Lempuyang Temple at the summit of the mountain welcomes weary pilgrims with prize scenery and a peaceful place of rest. The temple itself is smaller in comparison to the Penataran Agung, but there is a more mystical atmosphere about the setting and quietness. Then prayers receive refreshing holy water from the priests that makes body, mind and soul peaceful. Naturally, the temple is not very crowded with people, and is much recommended to visit if you would like to witness the true genuine nature of Bali.