Lempuyang Temple in Bali

Ancient Mountain Temple in East Bali

Lempuyang Temple or Pura Lempuyang Luhur is one of Bali’s oldest and most venerated temples, on par with Besakih (the ‘mother temple’ of Bali). The temple is also believed to predate the majority of Hindu temples on the island. Definitely a highlight on any travel itinerary for the fit and adventurous, the main temple lies at 1,175m above sea level, on the peak of the namesake Mount Lempuyang in East Bali.

The heights are reachable via a steep staircase of over 1,700 steps, with attractions along the way that include several other temples and hordes of grey long-tailed macaques that inhabit the surrounding cool mountain forests.

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While avid hikers will love the blend of mountain scenery and cultural highlights that Bali’s eastern region has to offer, those unwilling to take on the ascent up to the peak at Lempuyang can still enjoy the splendid views at the grand Pura Penataran Agung temple at the foot of the mountain. It’s the first to come into view on the pilgrimage and offers an impressive sight with its towering dragon staircases – perfect for photos.

The best views are higher up the stairs, where you can see all across the green forested slopes and to neighbouring Mount Agung, Bali’s highest peak and home of Besakih Temple.

Motorcycle taxis operated by locals can take you up where the asphalt ends at the Penataran Agung (for a negotiable fee). They are convenient for those who wish to start their climb quicker, shortening walking times from the parking area. After enjoying the views at this first stop, the main site of Lempuyang Temple is still another thousand-and-a-half-or-so steps up – slightly intimidating for most visitors.

Even so, the locals believe that pilgrims with a heavy heart will never make it to the top. To the locals themselves and many devotees making the trip, this adds to the spiritual aspect of the climb.

They strongly believe that besides maintaining respectful behaviour and speech, you shouldn’t complain along the way up – otherwise, you’ll see the main temple at the peak. Strong-willed pilgrims get to enjoy splendid panoramas of the eastern Bali mountain range and coastline step after steep step, along with the lush surroundings and fresh mountain air. The grey macaques here are not as curious and mischievous as their relatives in Uluwatu on the island’s southern coast but it’s a rule of thumb to not have any loose gear or feed them.

After an approximate 2-hour climb, the Lempuyang Temple welcomes weary pilgrims with a prize view and a calming place of respite. The temple itself is smaller compared to the Penataran Agung, but there is a more mystical feel about the setting and calmness. Prayers ensue with refreshing holy water sprinkled by the priest which soothes body, mind and soul. Naturally, the temple is not very crowded and is among the top sites to see and go off the beaten path in Bali.

Lempuyang Temple

  • Location: Jalan Pura Telaga Mas Lempuyang, Tri Buana, Abang, Karangasem, Bali 80852, Indonesia
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