Address: Jl Gunung Mas No Ds, Besakih, Rendang, Kabupaten Karangasem
In Bali, there are about twenty-thousand Hindu temples. The Besakih Temple is the oldest, largest and most important - a magic place, an absolutely must to visit to comprehend the spirituality of the island and experience the union between humanity and the divine. Also known as the Mother Temple, for the Balinese, it is home to the spirits of their ancestors. During the numerous ritual ceremonies, hundreds of people in traditional dress ascend the long stairway to offer dazzlingly colourful chests of fruit to their ancestors. Nobody knows exactly when the temple was built - the first testimony to its existence dates back to 1007 AC, but its foundation in stone is quite reminiscent of megalithic pyramids built at least one-thousand years earlier. Nestled on the heights of Mount Gunung Agung and surrounded by lush vegetation, the Besakih Temple is actually a complex of 23 temples and the view is absolutely breathtaking. Among the numerous sanctuaries, there is Pura Prenatan Agung, an imposing construction of dark stone, the layout of which symbolises the seven layers of the Universe. Here, Shiva the Destroyer is worshipped, while the right side of the slope is dedicated to Brahma the Creator and the left side to Vishnu the Protector. Within the interior of the complex, high pagodas known as meru host the spirits of the ancestors and of nature itself - this mysticism is brightened by the petals of thousands of tropical flowers, right on the confine between the visible and the invisible.