A crown of wooded mountains announce the temple of Dewi Danu, the most important female divinity of the Balinese Olympus. The Goddess of Water couldn’t ask for more, Pura Ulun Danu is considered by many the most beautiful temple of the island. 1200 metres above sea-level, it seems to float above the crystalline mirror of Bratan Lake in the caldera of a dead volcano. Its position is by no means happenstance - the basin of Bratan has always been the principal source of water for the the inhabitants of Bali and represents the heart of the Subak, an intricate system of traditional irrigation that reaches all the rice paddies in the area, a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2012. Built in 1633, Pura Ulun Danu Bratan rises above a sacred site which is even older, as witnessed by an ancient stone uncovered in the temple. Along with the serene and enchanting landscape, its charm is enhanced by its seven pagoda-style roofs, a number which, in the Hindu religion, corresponds with the Divine. Pavilions, courtyards and decorated portals make up the architecture of the sanctuary which also holds altars dedicated to Shiva and his consort Parvathi, as well as a monument to Buddha at the centre of a flower-filled garden.
Following the eruption of Monte Batur in 1926, an entire village and the adjoining temple were totally submerged in lava. However, the main sanctuary remained and the temple, a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2012, was rebuilt quickly in a safer location.