Bali Temples - 18 Most Popular Temples in Bali

If we ask you to ditch the beaches for a while, and visit the Bali Temples instead, would you do it? Maybe or maybe not. But, while temple hopping sounds like a cliche thing to do, it is not when you’re holidaying on this gorgeous island of Bali.

Is there 18 Bali temples you should visit, with an estimate of more than 20.000 temples in Bali. There is a reason why they call Bali ‘the island of a thousand temples’. Bali may be small in the massive Indonesian archipelago but this little Hindu island has got endless sacred temples and shrines and the island really does exude some kind of magic.

Street offerings, ceremonies, mystical dances, rituals and so many sacred places and shrines – all to honour the many Gods that rule and roam Bali island. Every Balinese home has got their own little temple or shrine to place their offerings several times a day. Every village has got a big village temple where ceremonies are held. Then, there are the other temples of the island, visited by tourists all year round.

Bali Temples

Several of them have become the island’s most iconic landmarks. They feature magnificent centuries-old architecture. Great for photos, they're usually set against exotic backdrops. Best is to witness them during temple anniversaries. Such events occur twice a Gregorian year, since dates are based on a local 210-day calendar.

What makes Bali temples a Must-See during your trip in Bali?

- You get to witness the spellbinding location of the temples, and savour the mesmerizing views around.
- It inspires you with the spectacular architecture and structure of the Balinese temples.
- Gives you an opportunity to witness the cultural side of Bali at its best
Lets you get an insight into the historical tales behind the temples

Kood to Know About Balinese Temple

The temple for Balinese call Pura, is the place of worship for the adherents of Balinese Hinduism in Indonesia. Puras are built in accordance to rules, style, guidance and rituals found in Balinese architecture.

Most of the puras are found on the island of Bali, as Hinduism is the predominant religion in the island; however many puras exist in other parts of Indonesia where there are significant numbers of Balinese people. Pura Besakih the Bali's Mother Temple is the most important, the largest and holiest temple in Bali. A large number of puras have been built in Bali, leading it to be titled "the Island of a Thousand Temples".

Bali Temples Design and Layout

Unlike the common towering indoor Indian Hindu temple, Balinese temples or Puras are designed as an open air place of worship within enclosed walls, connected with a series of intricately decorated gates between its compounds. These walled compounds contain several shrines, meru (towers), and bale (pavilions). The design, plan and layout of the pura follows the trimandala concept of Balinese space allocation. Three mandala zones arranged according to a sacred hierarchy.

Here's a list of 18 Most Popular Temples in Bali, that should be on your to-do list during your next holiday in Bali.

1. Tanah Lot Temple

Pura Tanah Lot

Tanah Lot Temple is one of Indonesia’s most popular religious attractions. Commonly referred to as the “temple of the rock,” this temple off the coast of Bali is set upon a black-stone peninsula that juts into rippling waters. Incredible ocean views, clear mountain air, and a deep spiritual connection draw visitors to this unique sight. Read More...

2. Uluwatu Temple

Uluwatu Temple

Uluwatu Temple or Pura Luhur Uluwatu, one of six key temples believed to be Bali's spiritual pillars, located in the village of Pecatu, South Kuta, Badung Regency, Bali. Is renowned for its magnificent location, perched on top of a steep cliff approximately 70 metres above sea level. Read More...

3. Ulun Danu Bratan Temple

Pura Ulun Danu Bratan

Ulun Danu Beratan Temple is both a famous picturesque landmark and a significant temple complex located on the western side of the Beratan Lake in Bedugul, central Bali. The whole Bedugul area is actually a favorite cool upland weekend and holiday retreat for locals and island visitors alike from the southern and urban areas, as it is strategically located, connecting the island’s north and south. Read More...

4. Penataran Agung Lempuyang Temple

Lempuyang Temple

Penataran Agung Lempuyang Temple is one of Bali’s nine directional temples and is of great significance to the Balinese culture and religion. Located in the slope of Mount Lempuyang in Karangasem, Bali. Pura Penataran Agung Lempuyang is considered as part of a complex of pura surrounding Mount Lempuyang, one of the highly regarded temples of Bali. Read More...

5. Besakih Temple

Besakih Temple

Pura Besakih or Besakih Temple is the largest and holiest temple of Hindu religion in Bali, known as Bali’s ‘Mother Temple’ for over 1,000 years and one of a series of Balinese temples. Perched nearly 1000 meters up the side of Gunung Agung, it is an extensive complex of 23 separate but related temples with the largest and most important being Pura Penataran Agung. The temple is built on six levels, terraced up the slope. Read More...

6. Tirta Empul Temple

Tirta Empul Temple in Bali

Tirta Empul Temple or Pura Tirta Empul is a Hindu Balinese water temple located near the town of Tampaksiring, Gianyar, Bali. The temple compound consists of a petirtaan or bathing structure, famous for its holy spring water, where Balinese Hindus go to for ritual purification. The temple pond has a spring which gives out fresh water regularly, which Balinese Hindus consider to be holy or amritha. Read More...

7. Taman Ayun Temple

Taman Ayun Temple

Taman Ayun Temple is a landmark in the village of Mengwi, Badung regency, located 17km northwest of Denpasar. This temple complex boasts magnificent traditional architectural features throughout its courtyards and enclosures as well as expansive garden landscapes comprised of lotus and fish ponds. The temple was built circa 1634 by the then ruler of the Mengwi kingdom. Read More...

8. Ulun Danu Batur Temple

Ulun Danu Batur Temple

Ulun Danu Batur Temple is the second most important temple in Bali, after Pura Besakih, and must be visited during your holiday in Bali. The temple is dedicated to Dewi Danu, goddess of lakes and rivers. "Ulun Danu" literally translates as "head of the lake". The dominant shrines are Meru's (pagodas) dedicated to the lake goddess and the gods of Mt. Batur and Mt Gunung Agung, the largest volcano in Bali. Read More...

9. Pura Puseh Batuan Temple

Pura Puseh Batuan Temple

Batuan Temple referred to locally as ‘Pura Puseh Batuan’, is a Hindu temple located in central Bali. For more than a thousand years, the village of Batuan has been populated by artists and craftspeople who take pride in looking after the ancient temples in their part of the Balinese countryside. Batuan Temple was built in the year of 944 Isaka or 1020 AD. Almost 1000 years old, this temple can be categorized as Puseh temple according to the concept of “Tri Kahyangan or Tri Murti”. This is also makes this temple as the oldest temple in Bali island. Read More...

10. Kehen Temple

Kehen Temple

Kehen Temple is an ancient Hindu temple complex boasting unique architectural features. The temple courtyard is reachable from ground level up a flight of 38 stairs, with carved sandstone mythical animal and Balinese folklore figure statues around the staircases and the central vestibule. The temple’s walls are also ornate with Chinese porcelain plates, which are a tribute to the historical relations between the local Bali kingdom and China. Read More...

11. Batukaru Temple

Batukatu Temple

Pura Luhur Batukaru Temple is a Hindu holy place located right on the slopes of Mount Batukaru, lies in solitary clearing 1,300 meters above the sea level, all around the Batukaru temple you'll find a garden of flowering frangipani and hibiscus, with a gigantic, inhabited, humid tropical forest all around it. The impressive placed Pura Luhur Batukaru is situated on the slopes of Mount Batukaru since the 11th century, which is an especially sacred site, even by Balinese standards. Read More...

13. Saraswati Temple

Saraswati Temple

Saraswati Temple officially Pura Taman Kemuda Saraswati, is a Balinese Hindu temple in central Ubud. This temple is dedicated to the goddess Sarasvati. The temple is a great stopover along your leisure walks through Ubud town, offering sightseeing and photo opportunities with its classical Balinese temple architecture and a beautiful foyer featuring ponds filled with blooming pink lotuses. Waters from the temple at the rear of this site feed the pond in the front, which overflows with pretty lotus blossoms. There are carvings that honor Dewi Saraswati, the Goddess of wisdom, knowledge and the arts, who has clearly given her blessing to Ubud. Read More...

14. Goa Lawah Temple

Goa Lawah Temple

Goa Lawah Temple is one of Bali’s most important temples. It features a complex built around a cave opening that is inhabited by hordes of bats, and its name translates to 'Bat Cave’. This temple was established in the 11th century by Mpu Kuturan, one of early priests who laid the foundations of Hinduism on the island. Pura Goa Lawah is located in the village of Pesinggahan, Dawan district, bordering the Klungkung and Karangasem regencies. This landmark is one of the first stops on tours to Candidasa and further eastern regions within the Karangasem regency. Read More...

15. Elephant Cave Temple (Goa Gajah)

Goa Gajah Temple

Goa Gajah also known as the Elephant Cave Temple, is a mysterious Hindu site, located in the village of Bedulu, Gianyar Bali. 2km southeast of Ubud and 1,5 hour drive from Denpasar airport. Goa Gajah is carved into a rock face and you enter through the cavernous mouth of a demon. Inside the T-shaped cave you can see fragmentary remains of the lingam, the phallic symbol of the Hindu god Shiva, and its female counterpart the yoni, plus a statue of Shiva's son, the elephant-headed god Ganesha. In front of the cave are two square bathing pools with waterspouts held by six female figures. Read More...

16. Gunung Kawi Temple

Gunung Kawi Temple

Gunung Kawi Temple is an 11th-century temple and funerary complex in Tampaksiring, north east of Ubud in Bali, Indonesia, that is spread across either side of the Pakerisan river. It comprises 10 rock-cut candi (shrines) that are carved into some 7-metre-high (23 ft) sheltered niches of the sheer cliff face. These funeral monuments are thought to be dedicated to King Anak Wungsu of the Udayana dynasty and his favourite queens. Read More...

17. Pura Beji Temple

Beji Temple

Pura Beji Temple is a large and beautiful temple complex in the village of Sangsit in North Bali, dating back to the 15th century, during the spread of the Majapahit kingdom from Java. The temple is revered by village farmers and is unique in Bali, in that it also serves as a ‘pura puseh’ or the village’s central temple. The temple is within 99 km from Denpasar airport, and a seven-kilometre transfer east from the Buleleng regency’s capital of Singaraja, and eight kilometres’ drive from Lovina Beach. Read More...

18. Sebatu Temple

Gunung Kawi Sebatu Temple

Gunung Kawi Sebatu Temple is located within the highland village of Sebatu in Tegallalang, Gianyar, approximately 12km northeast from the main Ubud hub. Locally referred to as Pura Tirta Dawa Gunung Kawi Sebatu, is a special find for visitors to Central Bali. It is one of the least visited temple complexes on the island Bali, yet is one of the most beautiful and tranquil. It features verdant gardens around ponds filled with carp and blooming lotuses, and ancient shrines surrounded by crystal clear pools fed by natural springs. Read More...