Very rarely do you stumble across a place that snatches your breath away, makes your heart race and leaves you absolutely stunned. On the eastern most part of the island of Bali lies one such place. The Pura Lempuyang Temple is located about 30 minutes from Amed, one of East Bali’s most popular beach towns. Also known as the Penataran Lempuyang, this Balinese Hindu temple on the slopes of Mount Lempuyang is home to a marvellous structure that many often refer to as the ‘Gates of Heaven’. In fact, such is the breathtaking view from here that it indeed feels like a slice of paradise.
This temple is considered to be one of the six main temples in Bali. It is a part of the Sad Kahyangan Jagad – ‘sad’ derived from the Sanskrit word for six and ‘kahyangan’, meaning place of the gods. Locals believe that these temples are essential for spiritual balance in Bali.
While there is no fixed ticket for entry, you are expected to make some donation before you enter the temple premises. The temple is open 24 hours for worshippers.
The area inside is divided into three main sections: outer sanctum, middle sanctum and inner sanctum. A white painted 'candi bentar' (split gateway) marks the entry to the outer sanctum or the ‘jaba pisan’. Several Balinese pavilions are located here.
Next comes the ‘jaba tengah’ or the middle sanctum which is marked with three 'paduraksha' portals. The central portal is opened only during the time of the 'piodalan' festival. The inner sanctum or the ‘jero’ is the main sacred courtyard and is in the uppermost past of the temple. The uppermost part of the temple is called the Pura Luhur Lempuyang.
Since the main temple is located about 1,200m above sea level, the climb up is not exactly an easy one. There are more than 1,500 steps to scale through the forest. The road is not very smooth, and you will often encounter rough cuts and turns. If you are a hiking enthusiast, then this climb through the forest is guaranteed to be quite an experience.
The best time to visit this temple is at dusk when it is flooded with the light of the setting sun. The ‘Gates of Heaven’ is located in the very first temple and is a five-minute walk from the entry. From there, you can see an incredible panorama of Mount Agung and the forests surrounding the temple which are believed to be the lungs of the island. If you are looking to avoid crowds, you can also visit in the wee hours of the morning, during sunrise. The picturesque landscape that one can witness from here has made it very popular with tourists. In case there is a large crowd, you may even have to line up in order to get one of those iconic photographs at this spot!
Things To Note
This is a sacred place. Try to be unobtrusive, and avoid taking photos in front of worshippers. The temple compound is often scattered with offerings, so make sure you do not tread on them while walking around. Inside the temple, a sarong is mandatory, and make sure your shoulders are covered. If you do not own a sarong, you can rent one from the many shops in the area.
While you can definitely do a solo trip to the temple, it is recommended that you take a local guide along for the tour who will not only help you navigate, but also be able to narrate a detailed history of the temple.